The Nashville Predators have set their final roster for Thursday's opening night game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Predators will begin the season with Mike Fisher and Fracis Buillon on injured reserve as they continue to recover from shoulder surgery and a concussion, respectively.
Here is the Press release from the team:
Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has assigned forward Kyle Wilson to the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals, and placed defenseman Francis Bouillon and forward Mike Fisher on injured reserve, setting the team’s opening night roster at 23 players.
The Predators 23-man unit for the 2011-12 season opener on Friday night at Columbus (6 p.m. CT, FOX Sports Tennessee, 102.5 The Game) be 25 players – 15 forwards, eight defensemen and two goaltenders. All 30 NHL teams must submit their 23-man opening night roster by 2 p.m. CT on Wednesday, Oct. 5. Players by position currently with Nashville are as follows:
FORWARDS (15): Niclas Bergfors, Martin Erat, Mike Fisher, Blake Geoffrion, Matt Halischuk, Patric Hornqvist, Sergei Kostitsyn, David Legwand, Cal O'Reilly, Craig Smith, Jerred Smithson, Nick Spaling, Zack Stortini, Jordin Tootoo and Colin Wilson.
DEFENSEMEN (8): Teemu Laakso, Jonathon Blum, Francis Bouillon, Mattias Ekholm, Jack Hillen, Kevin Klein, Ryan Suter and Shea Weber
GOALTENDERS (2): Anders Lindback and Pekka Rinne.
The Nashville Predators closed out their eight-game preseason with a record of 7-1-0, culminating with a 2-1 overtime victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Games start counting on Friday, Oct. 7 and Saturday, Oct. 8 with back-to-back road contests to open the 2011-12 regular season against Central Division foes Columbus and St. Louis
Additionally, here is GM David Poile's perspective on the recently completed camp:
“I think this training camp was possibly our best ever. I think we found out so much about so many players in our organization. Clearly, we have a lot depth on a very young roster, from top to bottom. I think what we accomplished in training camp was giving both the coaches and the players the confidence that over an 82-game schedule and the playoffs, that we may be starting with a roster with 20 players on the ice on Friday night, but we have 30 guys who can play for us. I think that bodes well for us, for the depth that you need to compete over the grueling 82-game regular season.”
“The decisions were difficult. The young defensemen all played really well. We are very confident that each and every one of them has considerable skill and talent that will allow them to have long and successful careers in the NHL. We think, as we start the season, that a lot of these players will get a chance to play based on their good play and injuries and other factors.”
“The thing that jumps out to you in comparing last year’s team to where we are today, we’re so much younger. Although we’ve kept our core together, which is very experienced, outside of that, we really have a lot of players that have not played many, if any, games in the NHL. The good news, I feel, coming out of this camp is we’re a team that is potentially going to be better in the second half of the season than we are in the first. The longer we can develop these younger players, I think the potential is very good for us to be a team that can certainly compete at a very high level this season.”
The Predators will be a young team going into the season, but a team that has the best overall talent they have had in quite some time. The measure of this team's success will be in blending the young talent with the veteran core and producing consistent reults throughout the season.
The first test starts Thursday.