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Rinne, Subban Anticipating Opportunity to Win Again with Same Preds Group

Nashville Goaltender, Defenseman Believe Keeping Team Together Provides Best Chance for Success

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

David Poile had never really seen - or heard - anything like it before.

While addressing the Nashville media during his annual, year-end press conference just days after the Predators had seen their 2018 postseason run come to an end, the Nashville general manager spoke on what he thought of the previous season and what the next one might bring.

But after he and Head Coach Peter Laviolette held their respective exit meetings with Predators players before departing for the summer, there was a common theme that Poile heard over and over again that isn't often the case. Instead of making big changes in the offseason, trying to find another massive piece to the puzzle, the players told their GM they wanted the same group back again.

It was one thing to hear Poile make the statement, but in catching up with goaltender Pekka Rinne and defenseman P.K. Subban in Las Vegas during the NHL Awards last month, two of Nashville's pillars confirmed their desire to keep the group together.

Although there will be a few faces that won't be returning next season, as is always the case in professional hockey, the Predators will, in large part, ice the exact same team that posted a franchise-record 117 points to capture their first Central Division title and Presidents' Trophy.

With that mark of success, who wouldn't want another chance together?

"It's a great bond of North American players and European players, and I feel like the team is very tight," Rinne said prior to capturing his first Vezina Trophy. "I've been playing for Nashville for a long time and it's always hard to compare different teams. I've loved all my teammates, but obviously I felt that when we went to the [Stanley Cup Final in 2017], that really glued the team together and it was a huge step for us."

"I'm happy that David heard that from our group, but I don't think David or Lavi need to hear that - they see that every day in our locker," Subban said. "The way guys interact, the way guys get along, it's a very special group of players, and that's why we want to win so badly."

As the summer continues and the teammates enjoy their time away from the ice, that desire to win never goes away, and it only balloons as October nears. And for someone like Subban, who is also gracing the cover of the latest Sports Illustrated, finding that balance of expectation and confidence is something he does best.

No doubt he and the rest of the Preds will be set on another division title when the time comes. And then the real fun will begin.

"I've been playing in this League a long time, and when you have a good group of guys like that in the locker room, you want to make the best of the opportunity," Subban said. "We feel we have a really good team that can win, but we have to salvage that moment and not take it for granted. I think next year we'll take another step forward, for sure."

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