Predators no longer Poachable

February 9, 2012, by

It wasn’t very long ago the Predators were supposedly the prime example of why the NHL shouldn’t be in non-traditional hockey markets. Media folks (mostly those north of the border) saw a team with a winning record, poor attendance and pounced. Every hockey “expert” it seemed was calling into question Nashville’s viability as a hockey market.

Fast forward a few years and the story takes quite a different turn. For a few seasons now the Predators have quietly turned a profit and are getting strong attendance figures. For example, just two seasons ago Nashville’s average attendance was 14,979. This year they are averaging 16,587.

Now I know what you’re thinking, these attendance numbers are complete BS. I know, I was thinking the same thing.  Having worked for several professional sports teams, I know how teams usually cheat their attendance figures.

Most struggling teams will only announce tickets distributed, which could mean they donated a couple hundred seats here and there to charities (with zero chance they’ll actually be filled). Some teams include all of the people “working the game” in their attendance figures including media members, team staff, arena workers, etc. Finally, some teams will just discount or comp hundreds of tickets just to get asses in the seats. Few teams actually report how many people paid for their seat and actually sat in it.

Anyway, so upon reading these figures, it’s fair to be skeptical. However, last season I read a fantastic article at www.ontheforecheck.com, which is a Nashville Predators blog run by Dirk Hoag. It appeared Dirk obtained exactly the data I was looking for – average paid attendance figures – from the Metro Sports Authority. As he reported, the Predators average paid attendance in 08-09 through the first 9 home games was 12,918. In 09-10 that figure rose to 13,131. Last season that number was up to 15,657. Pretty impressive growth if you ask me.

So what does all of this have to do with the trade deadline?

The Predators are legitimately growing their fanbase thanks to continued competitive play, savvy grass-roots marketing efforts, & a stable ownership. If you are the GM of a team on the rise, why on earth would you be deadline sellers? Nothing would undermine their new-found local support like trading Shea Weber or Ryan Suter on the heels of a deep playoff run.

If the Predators ownership is smart (and I believe they are), they should open up some cash to prove to the rest of the country that they belong in the national chatter about Western Conference contenders. Forget trading their franchise cornerstones, GM David Poile should be acquiring players from the very cities that try to pass his team off as one with poachable assets.

Sorry hockey fans, Weber & Suter aren’t going anywhere.


  1. Chris says:

    great post. And thanks for taking my slot today!

    Nashville couldn’t be better run. Great management, coaching and a talented (and young) foundation with Suter, Weber, Rinne.

    They draft well and are patient. Just what we need to, and have been, in general. Both clubs are now likely looking to compliment their cores and not make rash decisions.

  2. Dave says:

    Nashville reminds me a lot of Detroit.

  3. leatherneckinlv says:

    They will have a stud in Colin Wilson joining them soon, yeah they draft well and have a nice system. Rangers are in the same mold now as well with a great management, outstanding drafting and pretty good coaching as well. I still would like to see a former player like say Gartner or Messier join the fold to work the powerplay.

    I honestly think that Parise might join the Rangers in the off season as a UFA signing with Krieder making a run dependent on his performance at Traverse City and Camp. Either he will join the opening day Roster or be an early call up.

    If we can see production out of Richards we will be a very dangerous team as is during the playoffs.

    Also on a note when speaking of primary scoring and secondary scoring I believe some people place certain players in the wrong category. In my opinion this is my candidates:

    PRIMARY scorers are Gaborik, Stepan, Anisimov and Richards
    SECONDARY scorers are Callahan, Dubinsky, Hagelin, Boyle, Mitchell and the Defense
    Bonus scoring is on Fedotenko, Prust and Rupp so it is clear to me which players need to really step up and how Parise and Krieder will help our scoring next year and that’s if we get Parise, Should we not we still have excellent prospects in Thomas and St Croix to help fill that void.

    • Chris.C says:

      Well put leather. But i think Parise is a long shot, but a niice addition

    • Spozo says:

      I want no part of a big name free agent that is a former Devil. I don’t care how good he is, it seems that everyone who comes out of the Devils system is a huge bust. At least when they sign with the Rangers. I’ve lived through Holik and Gomez and I want nothing to do with Parise. I just hope he goes somewhere out west so we don’t have to deal with him.

      • The Suit says:

        I agree on Gomez, he was a bust. Holik however was just overpaid & not utilized correctly. He made a career out of shutting down the opposition for the Devils.

        Then we signed him and put him on the 1st line expecting him to produce offense. Just wasn’t his game.