Over the next two weeks as the NHL comes to the trade deadline, PuckScene will take a look back each day at every trade made in Nashville Predators franchise history. Each part will represent a season. For the purposes of these stories, a season runs from July 1 to June 30.
Nashville’s new franchise did not officially begin play until the 1998-99 season. However, David Poile and the Predators made several transactions at the end of the 1997-98 season in order to build the team for their inaugural NHL campaign. In fact, the first transaction in franchise history was a trade – a trade in which the Predators had exactly zero active players on their roster.
June 1, 1998: In the first player transaction in franchise history, the Nashville Predators acquired forward Marian Cisar from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for future considerations. Cisar officially became the first player ever acquired by Nashville. In 1998-99, he spent the entire season with Milwaukee before making his debut with the Predators during the 1999-2000 season. Over the course of four seasons with the organization, Cisar played 73 NHL games, racking up 13 goals and 17 assists. After the 2001-02 season, Cisar returned to his home continent where he played in Finland and the Czech Republic before suffering a career ending concussion in Germany in 2004.
June 26, 1998: On the day of the Expansion Draft in 1998, the Predators acquired several players from clubs in exchange for Nashville’s agreement not to draft certain unprotected players. As the players’ names were not officially recorded, the trades were officially recorded as being in exchange for “future considerations” except in the instances in which a draft pick was exchanged.
Thus, the Predators acquired:
- Darren Turcotte and a compensatory selection in the 1999 Draft from the Blues for future considerations.
- Dominic Roussel and Jeff Staples from the Flyers for a seventh-round pick in the 1998 Draft.
- Jan Vopat and Kimmo Timonen from the Kings for future considerations.
- Sergei Krivokrasov from the Blackhawks in exchange for future considerations.
- Jim Dowd from the Flames in exchange for future considerations.
- Ville Peltonen from the Sharks for a fifth-round selection in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.
- Sebastien Bordeleau from the Canadiens for future considerations.
- A fifth-round selection in the 1998 Draft from the Avalanche for future considerations, which was used to select Martin Beauchesne.
Many of these players – Turcotte, Vopat, Timonen, Krivokrasov, Peltonen and Bordeleau – made up part of the core of the early Predator teams. Three – Dowd, Staples and Roussel – would never play a shift with the Predators while Beauschesne, the draft pick, never made it to the NHL. Turcotte and Krivokrasov were both in the lineup for Nashville’s inaugural game on October 10, 1998. All would suit up for the Predators during the inaugural season and only Turcotte (40) and Peltonen (14) would play fewer than 50 games in that year.
Over parts of two seasons, Darren Turcotte would play in 49 games for the Predators, gathering 4 goals and 6 assists before hanging up his skates. Jan Vopat would also only retire during the 1999-2000 season due to a rare skin allergy which was triggered by his hockey equipment – he played 61 total games with the Predators, gathering 5 goals and 6 assists.
Ville Peltonen played 146 games for the Predators over three seasons, from 1998-99 to 2000-01, scoring 14 goals and 28 assists. After the 2000-01 season, Peltonen returned to Europe where he played for 5 seasons in Finland and Switzerland before returning to the NHL in 2006-07 with the Florida Panthers for three seasons. In 2010, Peltonen was chosen to carry the Finnish flag during the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver Olympics. He is currently the captain of HIFK in Finland.
Krivokrasov played 153 games with the Predators during the team’s first two seasons, scoring 34 goals and 40 assists. During the inaugural season, he was selected to the NHL All Star Game in Tampa, representing the World Team and becoming the first All Star in Nashville Predators franchise history. Midway through his second season in Nashville, he was traded to the Calgary Flames in exchange for Cale Hulse. After leaving the Predators, he would play 2 more seasons in the NHL with the Wild and the Ducks before returning to Russia. Krivokrasov retired from hockey in 2008.
Sebastien Bordeleau was typical of many early Nashville Predators in that he was an early producer who quickly saw his playing time dwindle as more-talented players were acquired. During Bordeleau’s first season, he played 72 games and scored 40 points. However, two years later, he found himself on waivers being claimed by the St. Louis Blues. Over parts of 3 seasons, Bordeleau played 146 games for the Predators, scoring 28 goals and 40 assists. During the 2001-02, Bordeleau briefly made short reappearances in the NHL for the Minnesota Wild and Phoenix Coyotes before joining Bern in Switzerland (where he was teammates with current Predator Roman Josi for 3 seasons). Bordeleau is currently with Biel of the Swiss League and coming into the current season, had scored 358 points during his time there.
Of all the players acquired via trade on Expansion Draft day, only Kimmo Timonen would make it past the 2000-01 season on Nashville’s roster. Timonen – captain of the Predators during the 2006-07 season – played 8 years with the Predators, scoring 79 goals and assisting on 222 more through 573 games. Until Shea Weber was named to the Western Conference All Star team this season, he was the only player in team history to be selected to three separate All Star games. When he was traded to Philadelphia during the 2007 offseason, he held the franchise career record for scoring, assists, games played, and goals by a defenseman. He still holds the franchise career record for power play goals, power play points, assists by a defenseman and points by a defenseman. In addition, his 55 points during the 2006-07 season is still the franchise record for points in a season by a defenseman.
June 27, 1998: On the day of the 1998 NHL Entry draft, Nashville acquired San Jose’s first-round and third-round picks in exchange for Nashville’s first-round and second-round picks. This enabled Nashville to move from third to second in the first round draft order.
Nashville used the first round selection that they acquired from the Sharks to make David Legwand the first draft pick in franchise history. With their other pick, they chose Geoff Koch. San Jose used their two picks to select Brad Stuart and Jonathan Cheechoo. Koch would play three more seasons at the University of Michigan and would never suit up professionally. Legwand, on the other hand, joined the Predators for the last game of the 1998-99 season. The original “homegrown” Predator is currently the franchise record holder in points, goals, assists, games, game-winning goals, shots, playoff goals, playoff assists, playoff points, playoff games, playoff shots, playoff shorthanded goals and playoff shorthanded points. He also had the highest plus-minus in franchise history – a +23 – in 2006-07. On December 23, 2000, Legwand became the first player in NHL history to score on a penalty shot in overtime. Legwand also scored the final goal – an empty netter – of Nashville’s first playoff series win in 2011. As of February 2012, he is the only player from the inaugural season still on Nashville’s roster.
June 30, 1998: Nashville acquired a seventh-round selection in the 1999 NHL Draft from the Coyotes in exchange for Mike Sullivan, who had been chosen from Boston in the Expansion Draft. The Predators would use that pick to draft Kyle Kettles in 1999. Sullivan would play four seasons for the Coyotes before moving into coaching. Kettles, meanwhile, never saw the NHL.