Welcome to the Weekly Edge, a Nashville Predators column I’ll be putting out every Monday. The Weekly Edge will bring you the biggest stories related to the Predators, along with quick hit updates, interesting tidbits, and a schedule to set you up for your hockey week. Hope you enjoy!

The Nashville Predators opened up the 2018-19 training camp on Thursday, but if you looked twice, you might think it was the 2017-18 training camp.

That’s because of the 48 players invited to camp this year on an NHL contract, only 9 are new to Smashville. And of the rest of those 39 players, almost all of them were here for last year’s training camp. There aren’t even any new jersey numbers to keep in mind (the one exception is Dan Hamhuis, who wore #2 for his first six years and will be wearing #5 this year), so Preds fans have it easy when it comes to keeping up with Nashville’s “new” roster.

But it’s not just the overall roster that’s the same. The central core of the team that fueled the best regular season performance in franchise history also remains unchanged. This should give Preds fans hope for another successful hockey season.

Here’s what I mean:

  • 18 of the 20 Preds players that skated in Game 7 against the Jets are back.
  • 12 out of the 13 players who scored at least 10 goals for the Preds last year are back.
  • 14 of the 15 players with at least 10 points for the Preds last year are back.
  • The entire defensive unit returns, except for replacing Alexei Emelin with Dan Hamhuis (a welcomed change, I might add).
  • Both goalies, Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros, are back for another season.

So if you were hoping for major changes from last year’s Presidents’ Trophy winning team, I’m sorry to tell you that you didn’t get your wish. But… did you really think the Preds would break up the most successful team in franchise history (from a regular season perspective)?

The biggest change for the team will come in the form of replacing Austin Watson as he serves a 27 game suspension. With a plethora of bottom six forwards vying for the spot, this isn’t a huge problem for the team from a roster standpoint. I like Frederick Gaudreau to have a leg up in that race.

Interesting early forward combos

Look, it’s preseason and there’s not a ton of narratives to build on. But the early line combos in camp are always fun. Peter Laviolette loves to change things up in the preseason, as most coaches do, and he’s been at it again.

Here’s what we’ve seen so far:

  • Kyle Turris with Viktor Arvidsson and Calle Jarnkrok
  • Nick Bonino with Craig Smith and Eeli Tolvanen
  • Ryan Johansen with Filip Forsberg and Kevin Fiala
  • Colton Sissons with Frederick Gaudreau and Miikka Salomaki

Like I said, it’s preseason, so these lines really mean nothing. However, don’t be surprised if those are the exact same 12 forwards you see on the ice for the season opener (albeit in different combos).

GIF Me That Good Stuff

Oh, yes. We gotta have GIFs, right?

This section will be devoted to GIFs and/or videos from the previous week. It’s early in the season, so we ain’t got much, but here’s one of Calle Jarnkrok sniping a goal stick side of Juuse Saros in the morning session on Saturday.

Jarnkrok tied a career high with 16 goals last year. Here’s hoping he beats that record this year.

Let’s Do That Hockey

Your Preds hockey schedule this week:

Monday 9/17 – 2:30 PM: Predators @ Panthers Preseason Game [away, not televised]

Monday 9/17 – 6 PM: Predators @ Panthers Preseason Game [away, not televised]

Friday 9/21 – 7 PM: Predators vs. Lightning [home, not televised]

Saturday 9/22 – 6 PM: Predators @ Lightning [away, not televised]

Final Thought

Even though Pekka Rinne is heading into the final year of his seven-year, $49 million contract, I would be shocked if we don’t see news on an extension before the season begins. Nashville Predators GM David Poile has made it clear they would love to have Rinne around beyond the ’18-19 season, and everything from Rinne’s camp indicates the same sentiment. I expect we will see a one or two year deal worth around $3-4 million per year for Rinne and I think it happens before the regular season opener on October 4th in New York.

— Featured image via the Predators —

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