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2008 Training Camp Recap

Monday, 10.06.2008 / 11:58 AM / Training Camp Central
By Jay Levin  - Nashville Predators
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2008 Training Camp Recap
 
With the preseason schedule wrapped up, the Predators are turning their attention to the Regular Season opener on Friday night (Oct. 10) at St. Louis. Looking back through Training Camp, several questions were answered through the six game preseason schedule.

1) Patric Hornqvist looks as good as advertised. The rookie led the team with 25 shots on goal during the preseason, tied for third most in the NHL preseason. The line of Jason Arnott-J.P. Dumont-Patric Hornqvist combined for 31 shots on goal in their two games together and generated several quality scoring chances.

2) Martin Erat looks poised to build off his career-high 23 goal, 57 point season last year. Erat, after posting six points in seven games at this spring’s World Championships, tied for the team lead with five points this preseason, playing in just four of the team’s games.

3) The goaltending looks sharp. In the team’s final preseason tune-up, Dan Ellis and Pekka Rinne split the goaltending duties, combining to stop 35-of-36 shots. Ellis finished the preseason with a 2.49 goals against average and .924 save percentage. Rinne, who started slow with three goals against in his preseason debut, rebounded with a .909 save percentage over his final three preseason appearances, including several key saves in Friday night’s come-from-behind win at Atlanta and a one period shutout in his only period of action in the preseason finale on Sunday at Carolina.

4) Ryan Suter and Shea Weber are looking like an elite defensive tandem. The two 23-year old blueliners have been paired together during Training Camp and both tied for the team lead with five points during the preseason, with each making five appearances. Fellow defenseman Dan Hamhuis chipped in three points in four preseason games. All totaled, Nashville defensemen contributed four goals and 17 points in the six preseason games (and that was with projected power-play quarterback Ville Koistinen missing the first three preseason contests).

Other random notes from training camp:
As many as five rookies are in the running for a spot on the Opening Night roster – goaltender Pekka Rinne, defenseman Kevin Klein, and forwards Patric Hornqvist, Ryan Jones, and Antti Pihlstrom … A strong case can be made that Joel Ward raised his value more than any Preds player in Training Camp. He made a strong impression on the Predators coaching staff and at the very least put himself in prime position to either earn an Opening Night roster spot or at the very least be near the top of the list for an in-season call-up … Mike Santorelli might be a close second to Ward, having made a very favorable impression on the Preds coaching staff. His line with Ryan Jones and Andreas Thuresson was dominant in the two rookie games against Atlanta at the start of camp and then he showed well in his lone NHL preseason game, picking up an assist. He appears to have carried that momentum with him to Milwaukee where he scored a key goal in the Admirals AHL preseason finale on Saturday night.

Setting Up This Weekend:
The Preds open the season with a back-to-back set at St. Louis on Friday night and home for Dallas on Saturday … Nashville went 5-2-1 vs. St. Louis last season, winning the final five match-ups of the campaign, and hold a 20-3-1 series advantage since the start of the ’05-06 season … The Preds posted a 3-1 record against the Dallas Stars last season, including a 5-1 win in Nashville on Oct. 6, the team’s second game of the ’07-08 schedule. Dan Ellis played in three of the four games against his former team, going 2-1 with a 1.88 goals against average and .923 save percentage.


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