The Nashville Predators made a surprising move today, cutting two players instead of one, bringing their roster to 22 players. While we wait to see if the team recalls someone from Milwaukee to get to the maximum roster number of 23, this sets the table for the new season to start on Thursday against the Minnesota Wild.

The final two cuts today were forward Miikka Salomaki and defensemen Steven Santini. While Salomaki was a dutiful depth role player for the last few years, it was time for the Preds to make room for more useful talent on the roster. Santini came over in the trade for P.K. Subban, though was likely more of a money swap than anything. He hasn’t been a great NHLer in his 114 games so far and his skills are overshadowed (surprisingly) by Matt Irwin’s.

As of now, the Preds roster consists of 13 forwards, 7 defensemen, and 2 goaltenders.

Forwards

The Preds will enter the new season with 13 forwards: Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg, Viktor Arvidsson, Matt Duchene, Mikael Granlund, Craig Smith, Kyle Turris, Nick Bonino, Austin Watson, Colton Sissons, Calle Jarnkrok, Rocco Grimaldi, and Daniel Carr.

We still don’t know exactly how the top six will shake out, but it’s safe to say that Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene are your top two centers, Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson are your top two wings, and guys like Nick Bonino and Calle Jarnkrok will anchor the bottom six.

For more on the Preds forwards this year, click here for our season preview.

Defense

On the blueline, the Preds will start with 7 defensemen: Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm, Dante Fabbro, Dan Hamhuis, Yannick Weber, and Matt Irwin.

Roman Josi enters his 3rd season as the Preds’ captain and will likely be paired with either Ryan Ellis or 2nd year pro Dante Fabbro. Click here for our preview of the Preds’ defense.

Goaltenders

The goaltenders will be Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros. This was the position with the least drama in training camp. This goalie tandem has been set for several years and nothing changes this year.

Goaltending remains the strength of the Preds and that won’t change this year. Click here for our preview of the Preds’ goaltending.

Final addition coming?

As of now, the Preds’ roster stands at 22 players. But they are legally allowed to start the season with 23 players, which means we may see one more move on the horizon.

This is a bit of a curve ball from David Poile, but not completely out of character. Poile left the Preds roster at 22 players more than once last season, opting to allow players like Eeli Tolvanen and Anthony Richard more playing time in Milwaukee than have them chowing down on nachos in the press box.

We could see one of three outcomes ahead of Thursday’s opener:

  1. The Preds leave the roster at 22 players, which they are legally allowed to do as per NHL rules.
  2. Recall someone from Milwaukee for the opening lineup, which would put them at 23 players. Tolvanen and Richard are candidates for that option, as well as Rem Pitlick.
  3. The Preds claim someone off the waiver wire. There are a number of good options there, including former 1st round pick Josh Ho-Sang, who was waived by the Islanders.

Whatever happens with spot #23, the Predators are ready to roll for the opener. With a more offensively dynamic lineup than last year (and perhaps even an improved power play) the Preds will look to get things started off right against the Wild at Bridgestone Arena.

— Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports —

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