The Nashville Predators have finalized their roster for the home opener on Thursday against the Minnesota Wild. While setting their final roster at 22 players, instead of the maximum 23, is a bit of a surprise, the Preds opted to keep the best players on their roster and leave themselves with some flexibility as the 2019-2020 season kicks off.

Yesterday, the Preds made an interesting move, cutting two players instead of one, bringing their roster down to 22 players. While the moves themselves weren’t surprising, most of us were waiting to see if they would make one final move to get to the maximum number of 23 players.

The Preds threw us all a curve ball, but either way the Preds will roll into Bridgestone Arena on Thursday with as good a roster as they’ve ever had.

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.

Preds set for Minnesota

Thursday’s opener against the Minnesota Wild will be a big test for the Preds. It’s the first time since 2016 that the Preds will take on a division opponent in the opening game and a lot has changed since then.

Minnesota boasts a new lineup with Mats Zuccarello and former Preds winger Ryan Hartman. Plus they still have perennial mainstays Ryan Suter, Jason Zucker, Devan Dubnyk, and Zach Parise on the roster.

No doubt one of the biggest stories for the Preds on Thursday will be the debut of new center Matt Duchene. Nashville fans will get their first look at #95 in a Preds jersey. Judging by the preseason, they will like what they see.

— Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports —

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