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Stanley Cup Final

How the Predators were built

Bold trades for P.K. Subban, Ryan Johansen; drafting international talent shaped Stanley Cup Final roster

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Staff Writer

The construction of this deep Nashville Predators roster didn't happen overnight.

The group of players that has led the Predators to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time was assembled through years of NHL Draft decisions and a number of signings and trades. Their eye for international talent, especially players from Sweden, Switzerland and Finland, has paid large dividends.

Here's how the roster of this Stanley Cup finalist was built, along with some background on their coaches and general manager:

 

[ RELATED: How Predators got to 2017 Stanley Cup Final ]

 

FORWARDS

Pontus Aberg, LW: Selected with the No. 37 pick (second round) in the 2012 NHL Draft. The Sweden native, who made his NHL debut in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, played 15 regular-season games and 10 games in the 2017 postseason.

Viktor Arvidsson, RW: Selected in the fourth round (No. 112) in the 2014 draft. A native of Sweden, Arvidsson made his NHL debut with Nashville on March 21, 2015. His 31 goals tied forward Filip Forsberg for most on the Predators in the regular season, and his 61 points tied center Ryan Johansen for the Nashville lead.

Kevin Fiala, LW: Selected with the No. 11 pick (first round) in the 2014 draft. Fiala, a native of Switzerland, had two goals in five playoff games before being ruled out for the remainder of the postseason because of a broken femur. He is the youngest player (20) to play for Nashville this postseason.

Vernon Fiddler, C: Acquired in a trade with the New Jersey Devils for a fourth-round pick in the 2017 draft on Feb. 4. Fiddler, 37, is the oldest player on the Predators roster. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Predators on May 6, 2002. Fiddler played for Nashville from 2002-09 before stints with the Phoenix Coyotes, Dallas Stars and Devils.

Mike Fisher, C: Acquired in a trade with the Ottawa Senators for a first-round pick in 2011 and third-round pick in 2012 on Feb. 10, 2011. Fisher was selected by the Senators with the No. 44 pick (second round) in the 1998 draft and played 11 NHL seasons with Ottawa. He was named Predators captain on Sept. 8, 2016. Fisher has missed the past two games because of an undisclosed injury.

Filip Forsberg, LW: Acquired in a trade with the Washington Capitals on April 3, 2013, for forwards Martin Erat and Michael Latta. Forsberg, a native of Sweden, was selected by the Capitals with the No. 11 pick (first round) in the 2012 draft.

Video: ANA@NSH, Gm4: Forsberg ties game in final minute

Frederick Gaudreau, C: Signed an entry-level contract as an undrafted free agent on Jan. 5, 2016. Gaudreau, 24, made his NHL debut Oct. 22 against the Pittsburgh Penguins and made his Stanley Cup Playoff debut against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final on May 20.

Calle Jarnkrok, C: Acquired in a trade with the Detroit Red Wings with forward Patrick Eaves and a 2014 second-round pick for forward David Legwand on March 5, 2014. Jarnkrok, a native of Sweden, was selected by Detroit with the No. 51 pick (second round) in 2010.

Ryan Johansen, C: Acquired in a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets for defenseman Seth Jones on Jan. 6, 2016. He was selected by Columbus with the No. 4 pick in the 2010 draft. He had 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 14 games before being ruled out for the remainder of the postseason because of a left-thigh injury.

Cody McLeod, LW: Acquired in a trade with the Colorado Avalanche for forward Felix Girard on Jan. 13. He signed with the Avalanche as an undrafted free agent on July 6, 2006, and played 10 seasons for Colorado.

James Neal, RW: Acquired in a trade with the Penguins on June 27, 2014, for forwards Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling. Neal was selected by the Stars with the No. 33 pick (second round) in 2005. He spent three seasons in Dallas and four in Pittsburgh. Neal is an alternate captain.

Video: NSH@ANA, Gm2: Neal extends lead, ties club record

PA Parenteau, RW: Acquired in a trade with the Devils for a sixth-round pick in 2017 on March 1. Parenteau was selected by Anaheim in the ninth round (No. 264) in 2001 and played for the Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Avalanche, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs and Devils before joining the Predators.

Miikka Salomaki, RW: Selected with the No. 52 pick (second round) in 2011. Salomaki, a native of Finland, has played 67 regular-season games and 20 playoff games for Nashville. He scored a goal in his NHL debut for the Predators on Jan. 8, 2015.

Colton Sissons, C: Selected with the No. 50 pick (second round) in the 2012 draft. He made his NHL debut Jan. 28, 2014. This is his third season with Nashville.

Video: ANA@NSH, Gm6: Sissons has hat trick in clinching win

Craig Smith, RW: Selected with the No. 98 pick (fourth round) in 2009. This is his sixth season with Nashville.

Austin Watson, LW: Selected with the No. 18 pick in the 2010 draft. He made his Stanley Cup Playoff debut in Game 1 of the first round against the Chicago Blackhawks on April 13.

Colin Wilson, LW: Selected with the No. 7 pick in 2008. This is his eighth season with Nashville.

Harry Zolnierczyk, LW: Signed a one-year contract on July 1, 2016. He made his Stanley Cup Playoff debut in Game 1 against the Blackhawks. He was signed by the Philadelphia Flyers as an undrafted free agent on March 8, 2011. He has also played for the Penguins, Islanders and Ducks.

 
DEFENSEMEN

Anthony Bitetto: Selected in the sixth round (No. 168) in the 2010 draft. He has played three NHL seasons with Nashville, including 29 regular-season games in 2016-17. He played 14 games for Nashville in the 2016 playoffs but has not been in the lineup this postseason.

Mattias Ekholm: Selected No. 102 (fourth round) in 2009. Ekholm, a native of Sweden, is in his fourth full season with Nashville.

Ryan Ellis: Selected with the No. 11 pick in the 2009 draft. This is his sixth season with Nashville. He is an alternate captain.

Video: STL@NSH, Gm4: Ellis cleans up rebound for PPG

Matt Irwin: Signed a one-year contract July 1. Irwin then signed a one-year contract extension with Nashville on Jan. 6. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the San Jose Sharks on March 23, 2010. Irwin spent three seasons with the Sharks before playing two games for the Boston Bruins last season.

Roman Josi: Selected with the No. 38 pick (second round) in 2008. This is the Switzerland native's sixth season with Nashville. He is an alternate captain.

P.K. Subban: Acquired in a trade with the Canadiens for defenseman Shea Weber, who was Nashville's captain, on June 29. Subban was selected by Montreal with the No. 43 pick (second round) in 2007. He played his first seven seasons with the Canadiens.

Video: ANA@NSH, Gm4: Subban rips a goal through screen

Yannick Weber: Signed a one-year contract July 1. Weber, a native of Switzerland, was selected by the Canadiens with the No. 73 pick (third round) in 2007. He played five seasons with Montreal and three with the Vancouver Canucks before joining Nashville.

 
GOALTENDERS

Pekka Rinne: Selected in the eighth round (No. 258) in 2004. This is his 11th season with the Predators. Rinne, a Finland native, is Nashville's all-time wins leader in the regular season (269) and playoffs (34).

Video: ANA@NSH, Gm6: Rinne shuts down Fowler, Ritchie

Juuse Saros: Selected with the No. 99 pick (fourth round) in the 2013 draft. Saros, also a Finland native, made his NHL debut Nov. 28, 2015, and played 21 games for Nashville this season. The Predators backup has yet to play in a Stanley Cup Playoff game.

 
COACHES

Peter Laviolette, coach: Hired May 6, 2014, replacing Barry Trotz. He won the Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006 and guided the Flyers to the Cup Final in 2010, losing to the Blackhawks in six games. His first NHL coaching job was with the New York Islanders in 2001-02.

Kevin McCarthy, assistant: Hired May 6, 2014. He was an assistant under Laviolette with the Hurricanes from 2003-09 and Flyers from 2009-14. He played 10 seasons as a defenseman with the Flyers, Canucks and Penguins from 1978-87.

Phil Housley, assistant: Hired May 21, 2013. Housley was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a player in 2015. The former NHL defenseman has the second-most points (1,232) among U.S.-born players behind forward Mike Modano (1,374).

Ben Vanderklok, goaltending coach: Hired June 12, 2014, replacing Mitch Korn. Previously served as Nashville's assistant goaltending coach since 2009.

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GENERAL MANAGER

David Poile: Hired as first general manager in Predators history on July 9, 1997. Poile has the longest tenure among active NHL GMs. He previously served as GM of the Capitals for 15 seasons (1982-83 to 1996-97).

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