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303 QUICK POLL: Which former Pred do you want to win the Stanley Cup?

10 years ago, in the first round of the draft, a Prince George Cougars defenseman named Dan Hamhuis took the stage and donned an NHL sweater for the first time. He was drafted by a Nashville Predators organization that was only three years old. Fast forward nine years and the guy who earned the nickname “Hammer” became expendable thanks to the emergence of Shea Weber and Ryan Suter. Despite his 161 points and relatively consistent defensive play during those six years in Music City, Hamhuis caught the ire of the fan base with mental gaffes that were all too frequent for a guy who wanted Weber and Suter like money.

General Manager David Poile made the smart decision by letting Hamhuis walk. If he re-signed Hamhuis, that left less money to re-sign Weber and Suter over the next two years. So Poile traded his rights just days before he became an unrestricted free agent to the Philadelphia Flyers for fellow defenseman Ryan Parent. The Flyers, however, couldn’t come to terms with Hamhuis either so they dealt him to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a third round pick. But negotiations were unsuccessful there as well and he became a free agent. Hamhuis would eventually sign a six-year, $27 million contract with the Vancouver Canucks. Those same Canucks are now in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Parent, by the way, was dealt to Vancouver with Jonas Andersson for Shane O’Brien who became a staple on the Predators blueline throughout the 2010-11 season. Parent and Andersson played a grand total of eight games for the Canucks and neither are on their playoff roster.

And then there’s the other team still standing. The Boston Bruins.

Rarely is there a player who played less than 75 games wearing your jersey that leaves a lasting impression. Rich Peverley, claimed off waivers by the Atlanta Thrashers in 2009, is one of those rare players. Peverley never really got a shot with Nashville but went on to score 90 points over the next season and a half with his new club. Furthermore, his 55 points in 2009-10 would’ve led the Preds in scoring. So…. yeah.

The lasting impression reference is in regards to the Predators organization letting someone with talent go for nothing in return. Ryan Jones (claimed off waivers by the Edmonton Oilers in 2010) was considered “the next Rich Peverley” and, after scoring 18 goals last season, inked a new two-year deal yesterday. And, when the Preds choose not to re-sign center Cal O’Reilly in the off-season, he’ll almost certainly become “the next Rich Peverley.”

The undrafted center was traded earlier this year to the Bruins in exchange for Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart. While Wheeler went onto tally 17 points in 23 games with Atlanta, Peverley is now exactly where Wheeler would like to be: playing for Lord Stanley.

So which former Nashville Predator are you rooting for in this year’s Stanley Cup Final? Rich Peverley who had such a promising future before Nashville let him go for nothing? Or Dan Hamhuis who was home grown and played six solid years at 501 Broadway?

WEIGH IN WITH YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW!

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