The final cut was forward Chris Mueller who has played 19 games with the Preds over the last couple of seasons. Another surprise was that the team kept eight defensemen, including 24 year old Victor Bartley, who has never played in an NHL contest but was recently named an AHL all-star. Bartley was signed as a free agent in the summer of 2011 and has had one and a half solid seasons in Milwaukee of the AHL.
The roster marks the return of defenseman Jon Blum who struggled early last season after playing well for the Preds in late in the 2010-11 season and playoffs.
Goalie Chis Mason returns to the Predators organization for his third stent with the team, dating back to the franchise's first season when he appeared in three games as a rookie. Always a fan favorite, he has played with St. Louis and Atlanta/Winnipeg since he left the Preds in 2008.
Former Sharks D-man, Scott Hannan, will make his Predator debut after playing 348 career regular season games for San Jose, where he had 79 points and a plus-37 rating. He also played in 58 playoff games having a goal and adding 12 assists.
The roster also features forward Richard Clune, a pick up during training camp, that brings similar talents to the ice that former Pred Jordin Tootoo provided in year's past. Clune appeared in 14 games and 4 playoff contests for the L.A. Kings in 2009 and has since patrolled the ice for the Manchester Monarchs, posting picking up 601 penalty minutes over the last three full seasons.
Missing from the squad is a surprise from last year's team, forward Gabriel Bourque, who came up at mid season and played 43 games, picking up seven goals and twelve assists as a rookie. He also picked up five points in ten playoff games. Injuries have limited him to 13 games in Milwaukee this season.
Finally, with Ryan Suter leaving for Minnesota, Marty Erat was awarded the second "A" as the alternate captain along with Mike Fisher. The newly re-signed, Shea Weber remains captain and probably will retain that title for years to come.
Saturday's puck drop against the Columbus Blue Jackets will be shortly after 7 p.m. at Bridgestone Arena.
Make the jump for the full release from the Nashville Predators...
NASHVILLE PREDATORS SET 2012-13 OPENING NIGHT ROSTER
Nashville, Tenn. (January 18, 2013) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has assigned forward Chris Mueller to Milwaukee (AHL), in addition to releasing goaltender Zoltan Hetenyi from a Professional Tryout Agreement, finalizing the team’s roster for the 2012-13 season opener against Columbus tomorrow night.
The breakdown of the 23 players on Nashville’s roster is as follows:
Forwards (13): Martin Erat, David Legwand, Mike Fisher, Nick Spaling, Craig Smith, Richard Clune, Brandon Yip, Brian McGrattan, Matt Halischuk, Patric Hornqvist, Paul Gaustad, Colin Wilson and Sergei Kostitsyn.
Defensemen (8): Victor Bartley, Ryan Ellis, Shea Weber, Jonathon Blum, Kevin Klein, Scott Hannan, Roman Josi and Hal Gill.
Goaltenders (2): Chris Mason and Pekka Rinne.
Individual game tickets and premium seating for the Nashville Predators 2012-13 regular season are on sale now at the Bridgestone Arena box office, through all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster.com, nashvillepredators.com and (615) 770-7800. Due to the shortened season, ticket inventory will be limited. Returning this season are the popular Tennessee Lottery $10 Gameday Seats where 100 upper-level tickets will be made available for just $10 each on the day of the game. These tickets may only be purchased at the Bridgestone Arena box office beginning at 10 a.m. on the day of each specific game. Limit four per customer.
The Nashville Predators kick off their 2012-13 Opening Weekend presented by Nissan at Bridgestone Arena tomorrow, Saturday, January 19 at 7 p.m. vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets and Monday, January 21 at 5 p.m. against the St. Louis Blues. Games are highlighted by giveaways, plaza parties, concession and beverage deals, the chance to win a Nissan Sentra (Saturday only) and much more! Visit nashvillepredators.com for a full list of Opening Weekend activities.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOntheGlass