It’s the middle of the summer, which means any news relating to the Nashville Predators is few and far between. With NHL free agency all but over with and all the big trades having come and gone, there’s not much going on. David Poile has already said the Predators are essentially done shopping, so there’s just not much to talk about there. Also training camp doesn’t begin for another couple of months.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t start getting excited for the 2019-20 season.
The Predators schedule for next season is already out and there are some good match-ups to look forward to. At a glance, the Preds have:
- 9 home games in October, the most of any month in the season
- 9 road games in March, the most of any month in the season
- 12 back-to-backs, including six on the road.
- 12 Saturday night games at Bridgestone Arena this season, including match-ups with Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Dallas Stars, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, and Vegas Golden Knights.
With that, here are three games you will definitely not want to miss next season. Go ahead and circle these dates on your calendar.
Thursday, October 3rd vs. Minnesota Wild
The debut of new forward Matt Duchene will be a huge moment for the Nashville Predators. Full stop.
For years now, Duchene and the Predators have been linked together in various ways. Duchene has mentioned how much he loved the city of Nashville and expressed his admiration for its team. David Poile has mentioned several times how he has always wanted a player like Duchene in Nashville.
Then finally, on July 1st, 2019, the two got together, with Duchene signing a seven year, $56 million contract with the Nashville Predators.
It’s been such a long time coming. Finally seeing Duchene in Predators gold at home is going to be appointment viewing.
But don’t forget another important side note: this game will also feature possible matchups with two former Preds players, both of whom will be ready to prove their worth. Kevin Fiala, who already played against the Preds as a member of the Wild last season, scoring a couple goals and getting into it with forward Filip Forsberg after the play a couple times, is going to be ready to prove himself yet again. Then there’s Ryan Hartman, who is already known for getting under the skin of his opponents. He will be ready to prove to his former team why he’s worth more than a throwaway rental player.
Saturday, December 7th vs. New Jersey Devils
The return of P.K. Subban to Bridgestone Arena, this time wearing a New Jersey Devils sweater, will be a must-see moment.
No matter how you feel about P.K. Subban’s time as a Predators blueliner, he was impossible to ignore. His presence, on and off the ice, brought the Predators an unprecedented level of media attention. He is such an entertaining sports figure that he made folks pay attention to Preds games that might not have otherwise.
Oh and also, the team had its three most successful seasons in franchise history with P.K. Subban in town, which is no coincidence. He’s an outstanding player on the ice as well.
It probably won’t be as emotionally charged a return for P.K. Subban as it was when he returned to Montreal. But odds are, he will be ready to show Predators fans exactly what they are missing out on. Don’t be he scores a goal in his first game back in Nashville, just as he did in his home debut three years ago.
Without a doubt, you will want to be watching this one.
Wednesday, January 1st vs. Dallas Stars
The Predators first ever outdoors game? And its the 2020 Winter Classic, arguably the grandest stage for an NHL regular season game? And it’s against their newest rival, the Dallas Stars?
This is going to be epic.
Taking the ice at the Cotton Bowl next January will be a big moment for the Predators. For many years now, Nashville fans have clamored for the NHL to put the Preds in an outdoor game. Even if it was just a Stadium Series game, Preds fans knew that they could fill up a stadium with gold, proving that Nashville is undoubtedly a hockey town.
It’s safe to say that we can expect this year’s NHL Winter Classic to break several franchise records: largest audience to attend a Predators game, largest number of Predators fans at one event, largest TV audience in a non-playoff game, and probably many more.
You won’t want to miss this one.
And hey, it’s New Year’s Day. You will probably be nursing a generous hangover (along with the rest of the world) so why not kick back and watch some outdoors hockey?
Another thing to consider is that when the NHL announced that the Nashville Predators would play the Stars in the Winter Classic, we had no idea those two teams would meet in the 1st round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. But since they did, I think it’s fair to say this game will take on even more meaning as each team looks to add another chapter to the rivalry.
— Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports —