Former Predators play on in quest for 2011 Stanley Cup

Monday, May 16, 2011 at 11:13pm

Playing for the Nashville Predators rarely has been a path — directly or indirectly — to the Stanley Cup.

The Predators, of course, never have won the hockey world’s ultimate prize and very few have gone on from Nashville to win it elsewhere.

Next month, though, at least one former Nashville player will get his name engraved on the trophy. That is guaranteed.

Each of the remaining four teams in the NHL playoffs, which resume Tuesday, includes someone who spent time — significant time, in some cases — with the Predators. Dan Hamhuis is with Vancouver, Scott Nichol is with San Jose, Adam Hall is with Tampa Bay and Rich Peverley and Shane Hnidy are with Boston.

Hamhuis, Hall and Peverley all made their NHL debuts with the Predators.

“Hamhuis is the one who really jumps out at you,” Nashville General Manager David Poile said. “He was one of our players, a guy we drafted and developed. All things being equal, he should still be with us.”

The Predators traded Hamhuis to Philadelphia last June when it became clear they would be unable to re-sign him. Philadelphia then dealt him to Pittsburgh, but the defenseman opted for free agency and quickly signed a deal with the Canucks, who eliminated the Predators last week.

“There's a lot of factors that I considered with free agency [last] summer,” Hamhuis said prior to the start of the Western Conference semifinal. “Obviously, to get to a position like this was a huge one. Then, of course, you look at the role you might have on the team, the defense core. There's the city, a lot of factors.

“Everything looked like it would be a really good fit.”

Mark Eaton won the Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009, three years after he left Nashville. A year earlier, Andreas Lilja won it as a member of Detroit. Lilja never played for the Predators but was under contract for the 2004-05 season, which was canceled by the lockout.

Andrew Hutchinson was with Carolina in 2006 but played in just 36 regular-season games and no postseason contests.

A look at the former Nashville players still competing in the NHL playoffs:

Boston
• Rich Peverley, C. Peverley joined the Bruins in a February deadline deal and had seven points (four goals, three assists) in 23 appearances before the end of the season. He already has matched that production with one goal and six assists in 12 playoff games.

He was in Milwaukee on an AHL contract when he earned his first promotion to the Predators during the 2006-07 season. Atlanta claimed him off waivers in January 2007, when Nashville attempted to re-assign him to Milwaukee.

• Shane Hnidy, D. A shoulder injury sustained in training camp with Phoenix caused him to miss virtually the entire season. He signed with Boston as a free agent in February and played three games in the regular season. He’s also appeared in three during the postseason.

Hnidy played just nine games for Nashville after he was acquired from Ottawa late in 2003-04. Following the lockout, he was traded to Atlanta for a fourth-round pick.

Tampa Bay
• Adam Hall, RW. A second-round pick by Nashville in 1999, he is now on his sixth different team. Hall played all 82 games of the regular season, a first in his career, and his 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) were his most since he had 29 with the Predators in 2005-06.

Hall's 234 games with Nashville still rank as his most with any organization. He was traded in July 2006 to the Rangers for center Dominic Moore, who currently is a teammate with the Lightning. The Predators traded Moore to Pittsburgh the same day they got him.

San Jose
• Scott Nichol, C. Nichol has no points in 14 playoff games for the Sharks thus far, but that’s nothing new. He had zero points in 10 postseason appearances over three years for Nashville. At 36, Nichol remains a valuable defensive presence up front.

Nichol played 209 games in four seasons with the Predators before he signed with San Jose as a free agent two years ago.

Vancouver
• Dan Hamhuis, D. Hamhuis has been a key member of the Vancouver defense despite concussion issues, which limited him to a career-low 64 games during the regular season. He was a plus-29 during the regular season, though, easily the highest of his career.

Hamhuis was the first defenseman ever drafted by Nashville in the first round (2001) and the only player who appeared in every Predators’ playoff game through their first five postseason appearances.