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Preds/Stars Match-Up to Watch

Friday, 10.2.2009 / 12:11 PM CT / Preview
By Jay Levin  - Nashville Predators
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Preds\/Stars Match-Up to Watch
Match-Up of Young Defensive Corps

The Preds and Stars feature two of the youngest defensive corps in the NHL this season. For Nashville, 33-year old Francis Bouillon is the vet of the group, followed by 26-year old Dan Hamhuis. The other four defensemen on the Preds Opening Night Roster are all under 25-years old.

For Dallas, gone are vets Sergei Zubov and Darryl Sydor, leaving Karlis Skrastins (35) and Stephane Robidas (32) to provide leadership to a youth movement which includes Jeff Woywitka (26), Trevor Daley (25), Nicklas Grossman (24), Mark Fistric (23), and Matt Niskanen (22). Robidas, Skrastins, and Daley – the only three Stars d-men with more than 200 career NHL games – were the only members of the blueline group to average more than 20:00 a night last season. For a team that surrendered 251 goals last season (sixth most in the league), the Stars will be relying on the young guys to mature in a hurry.

While the Preds group is young, Shea Weber (24 years old) blossomed into an All-Star and Norris Trophy candidate last season. Ryan Suter (24), matched with Weber on the Preds top pairing last season, led the team in average ice time, and Kevin Klein (24), long considered by league scouts to be an elite prospect, settled in as an NHL regular last season with 63 games played in ’08-09. The sixth blueline, Teemu Laakso (22) will be making his NHL debut on Opening Night, but with Hamhuis, Suter, and Weber all proven to handle 23-plus minutes a night, the Preds can monitor Laakso's responsibilities while he settles in to an NHL role.

Opening Night will feature impressive talent along the blueline for both sides; Suter and Weber are leading Olympic Candidates for Team USA and Team Canada, respectively, and Hamhuis and Robidas were paired together at Team Canada’s Olympic Orientation camp in August. Which team’s young group is able to settle in quickest will play a major role in the outcome.

SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

SCHEDULE
 

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 33 31 1 64
R. Josi 81 14 47 -3 61
J. Neal 82 31 27 27 58
S. Weber 78 20 31 -7 51
M. Ribeiro 81 7 43 11 50
C. Smith 82 21 16 4 37
M. Ekholm 82 8 27 14 35
R. Johansen 42 8 26 10 34
R. Ellis 79 10 22 13 32
C. Jarnkrok 81 16 14 1 30
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 34 21 10 .908 2.48
C. Hutton 7 5 4 .918 2.33