The Nashville Predators defeated the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 in their home opener of the 2009 season, with Jason Arnott potting a goal and adding an assist, and Patric Hornqvist adding two goals and an assist in the effort. The Predators put 37 shots on Craig Anderson, who lost for his first time in three outings. Dan Ellis won his second consecutive start for the Predators as they ran their record to 2-0 for the third time in franchise history. Ryan Suter posted two assists for the Predators and was a +3 for the night.
Patric Hornqvist was the last pick (230th overall) of the 2005 entry draft by the Predators, and that last pick of the entry draft has traditionally been known as “Mr. Irrelevant”. Since the inception of the amateur entry draft in 1969, only eight of the 41 “irrelevant” picks have gone on to play at least one NHL game, and only three of those have played 50 games. Hornqvist started the year last season on the Predators roster, but was sent down to their AHL affiliate in Milwaukee in mid season. The time in Milwaukee appears to be time well spent as he has made a positive impact on the Predators this season, notching 4 points (2g-2a) in two games as he has moved onto the top line with Jason Arnott and Steve Sullivan due to the injury to J.P. Dumont. Hornqvist mentioned after the game last night that he knows his role on this line- go in the corners and control pucks and get in front of the net. So far, he has played this role perfectly and provides a measure of physicality to the top line.
The success of this squad will be dependent on contributions coming from all lines and from players executing in the roles they are called upon to play. Hornqvist is a great example of a player fulfilling those expectations and contributing to the early season success of this team. This is a team that has to get timely goals from some of the role players, and gritty goals like those Hornqvist scored last are indicative of the effort of younger players and role players doing their job.
Irrelevant? Not hardly. Not to the fans in Nashville that saw their team grind out a solid victory against the Avalanche.
Filed Under: Nashville Predators
About the Author: A native Nashvillian that grew up with minor league hockey, I'm now a devoted Predators fan and NHL follower. I have had the privilege of allowing my children to grow up watching the Predators and seeing the joy on their face when they are at a game. By day, I am a partner in an independent investment management company in the Nashville area. I played collegiate football and graduated from the University of South Carolina and graduated from the LSU graduate School of Banking. So yes, there are real true southern hockey fans in these non-traditional markets.