A few individual accolades have already trickled down to the Nashville Predators in the midst of their best season as a franchise.
For instance, Filip Forsberg was named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for November and goaltender Pekka Rinne received Third Star honors for the same 30-day span. The recognition of the individual performances put on by the pair this season has been merited, and that’s not even mentioning Nashville’s Captain Shea Weber who anchors the League’s best blue line.
But those small awards pale in comparison to a much more significant honor looming on the horizon for the trio as the season approaches the midpoint.
Monday, NHL.com writers Corey Masisak, Dan Rosen and Arpon Basu revealed their projected lineup for the 2015 NHL All-Star Game in Columbus and headlining the group were the Preds trio of Rinne, Forsberg and Weber.
If the writers’ picks hold true, the three All-Star Game selections would be a significant accomplishment for the Predators franchise, marking the first time Nashville has claimed three All-Stars in a single season. Forsberg, Rinne and Weber have been a key part of the Preds recording-setting performance approaching the midseason showcase and people are starting to take notice.
The three Preds, along with the rest of their teammates, have blitzed through the NHL, while claiming top honors in a number of categories. Here are just a few statistics to keep in mind for the three potential All-Stars:
Holds the League’s triple crown for goaltenders by standing first in wins (22), goals against average at 1.84 and a save percentage of .934 (the latter two stats amongst netminders with at least 15 games played). To be the leader in all three of these categories is an incredible feat, but not overly surprising if you’ve seen Rinne play at all this campaign. The netminder has not only returned to form from seasons prior to injury, but has exceeded those levels to date.
The rookie has taken the NHL by storm just over 30 games into the season. Leading the Preds and all NHL rookies in goals (13) and points (32), the forward is also first in the NHL in plus/minus rating of plus-25. Did I mention this kid is only 20-years-old? Even with opponents tightening up on Forsberg, the winger has shown no signs of slowing down and still skates as a point-per-game player.
The three-time Norris Trophy finalist has almost quietly logged another season as one of the NHL’s best defensemen. Weber leads the Preds in goals (6) and points (21) for a blueliner, while most importantly shutting down the opposition’s best players on a nightly basis. Nashville’s sits No. 2 in the NHL in goals against per game at 2.00. The Preds Captain is also fourth in the NHL in average time on ice (26:27) and Top 25 in hits for defensemen (74).
It’s only right for Nashville to make history with three All-Star representatives during this campaign in a season that has already been truly memorable. To say All-Star status for the trio is merited is frankly an understatement.
Do your part and help vote Weber, Forsberg and Rinne (or other Predators) to this season’s All-Star Game by voting at NHL.com/vote or cast your ballot using the Smashville App (available for download on the App Store or Google Play). And hurry, there’s only a few days left to vote with the ballot closing Jan. 1.
(See the NHL.com All-Star projections article here)