Commentary

Ultimate Standings 2009: No. 37

Nashville Predators

Updated: July 1, 2009, 11:44 AM ET
By Molly Knight | ESPN The Magazine

Last Year's Rank: 37
Title Track: 85
Ownership: 61
Coaching: 39
Players: 36
Fan Relations: 15
Affordability: 16
Stadium Experience: 30
Bang for the Buck: 59

Bad news for Music City drinkers: At $6.75 for a 12-ouncer, the brew hawked by the Preds is the per-ounce priciest in the NHL. Some consolation: The Preds' average ticket ($47.22) is still $2.29 below the league mean, and the team offers free programs at home games. Plus, if the home team nets five goals, fans can take their game stub to Wendy's for a free Frosty dessert. (The sweet payback happened seven times in 2008-09.) The Predators slid from No. 8 in our 2007 Standings to 37 last year, and that's where they remain, thanks to continuing rumors that they'll be sold and moved to Canada or Kansas City or the moon. GM Dave Poile and Coach Barry Trotz have been calling the shots since before the team's inaugural season, in 1998, and they retain credibility and remain popular, while rookie netminder Pekka Rinne has quickly become a fan favorite. Despite being a middle-of-the-pack club with an uncertain future, the club exceeded the 14,000-tickets-sold-per-game benchmark needed to qualify for the NHL's revenue-sharing plan. The Preds also eked out a profit this season, and that calls for Frostys all around.