Pekka Rinne is poised to set a record in this category, and it shouldn’t take long. The Preds starting netminder has now played in 382 career games, all with Nashville, just one shy of the franchise-record 383, set by Tomas Vokoun from 1998-2007.
If Rinne starts the Predators next two contests, the Finnish netminder will set the new franchise mark in New Jersey on Oct. 13 versus the Devils.
Outside of the early season, games played record, Rinne always has a shot to break his own marks set over the course of a decade in Nashville. Look for the 6-5 netminder to challenge the single-season shutout mark (7, set in 2009-10) and the single-season wins mark of 43 he established in 2011-12.
2. Attendance numbers:
The Preds set more than one record in this category last season, including a franchise-record 30 sellouts. A club record 691,028 fans watched a hockey game at Bridgestone Arena in 2014-15, including 17,401 on Dec. 30 against St. Louis, the single-game hockey attendance record for the building. Will these numbers be shattered in 2015-16? You know what to do, Loyal Legion.
3. Single-season, goal-scoring record:
The single-season record of 33, set by former Preds Captain Jason Arnott in 2008-09, could be in jeopardy this season, and there’s not just one candidate who could usurp the number.
“We’ve got a bunch of guys for sure who can do that,” said forward Filip Forsberg, who potted 26 goals in 2014-15, his rookie campaign. “I’m one of them and I want to be up there scoring a lot of goals. We have a bunch of guys who hit 20 last year and we have a bunch of guys who can resurge this year as well.”
Forsberg, along with James Neal are perhaps the two most likely to challenge the record, but don’t be surprised if 20-goal scorers Craig Smith and Colin Wilson make a run by season’s end. Mike Ribeiro, who is often the one doing the dishing, believes Neal could hit the mark, with a little coaxing.
“He’s a shooter, and I think staying healthy is the main thing,” Ribeiro said of Neal. “If he can play 82 games, then he’s got a much better chance of hitting that. He’s proven before that he can score… so maybe I can tell him to hit the record… he’ll probably get 35, I think that would be a good idea.”
4. Most power-play points in a career:
Having played his entire NHL career in Nashville thus far, Captain Shea Weber is at or near the top of the Preds record books in a slew of categories, and offensive totals on the man advantage is another number in reach.
Weber enters this season with 161 career points on the power play, just 21 behind former Captain Kimmo Timonen.
“His biggest weapon is his shot; he has the best shot in the League,” defenseman Roman Josi said of Weber. “It’s not just that though, he’s always on the PP making the right plays, making the right decisions and passing instead of shooting if he doesn’t have a lane. That’s huge on the PP. Everyone talks about his shot, but it’s so many other things he can do on the power play as well, too.”
5. Points by a defenseman in a season:
Roman Josi has quickly become the NHL’s worst-kept secret, and when the Swiss d-man fell a single point short of tying the franchise’s record for points in a season by a blueliner in 2014-15, the word got out a little more.
Captain Shea Weber, who holds the record with 56 points (23g,33a) in 2013-14, is pretty confident his defensive partner can break his own mark.
“His mobility is one of the best parts of his game. He sees the ice really well, and he’s able to make plays and see the seams on the power play and whatnot,” Weber said of Josi. “His ability to skate, and move through the neutral zone is a big part of what he does. I think that number is obviously within reach.”
6. Total shots in a season:
Good things happen when the puck gets to the net, and the Preds certainly heeded that advice last season, setting the franchise record for most shots in a single season with 2,614. With Head Coach Peter Laviolette’s up-tempo, offensive system in place, that record could certainly be broken once more this season.
Players like Forsberg, Smith and Neal don’t often pass up a chance to take a shot, and coupled with opportunities from the blue line off the sticks of Weber and Josi, the shooting gallery is likely to continue in 2015-16.
7. Regular-season win streak:
The Predators raced off to a perfect 8-0-0 start to the 2005-06 season to set the franchise’s longest unbeaten streak, a mark that still stands as one of the best beginnings to an NHL campaign. Nashville flirted with the decade-old record last campaign, putting together a six-game winning streak from Feb. 7 to 17 with victories over the Rangers, Panthers, Lightning, Jets, Devils and Sharks.
With close to 80 percent of the 2014-15 roster returning for this season, largely the same group of players that recorded six-straight wins last campaign will have a second chance to push past a half dozen victories in a row and more.
8. Shots in a game by a single player:
The Predators haven’t had a player on their roster since the likes of Patric Hornqvist that likes to shoot as much as Viktor Arvidsson does. Hornqvist holds the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in shots on goal by one player in a contest with 14 (Dec. 28, 2010, versus Dallas) and 12 (Feb. 18, 2013 versus Colorado). Will Arvidsson be able to take away the record from his fellow Swede?
“I like to shoot. I have a shooting mentality and we’re an attacking team, so I feel like that’s what I’m supposed to bring,” Arvidsson said after a recent practice.
If recording his first NHL goal in a 2-1 win over the Hurricanes causes Arvidsson’s confidence to rise even more, watch out. At least we know his head is in the right place.
9. Longest assist streak by a player:
Mike Ribeiro set one Preds assist record in his first season with the club in 2014-15 by dishing out 47 helpers as a center. The veteran put together assist streaks of three and four games in the season’s first four weeks to go with two games of a trio of assists during the campaign as a whole. Ribeiro will be hard pressed to challenge former Preds defenseman Kimmo Timonen’s streak of seven consecutive games with an assist, but with a full season of Forsberg and Neal on his wings anything is possible.
10. Playoff wins record:
All the records above pale in comparison to the one set in the spring of 2011, that of the Predators record for playoffs wins in a postseason (six victories), achieved in series matchups versus the Anaheim Ducks and Vancouver Canucks.
If the 2015-16 edition of the Nashville Predators are able to establish a playoff victory record, this season will quickly establish itself as the franchise’s best.