NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Nashville Predators have re-signed goaltender Brian Finley, who began his professional in 2002-03 with Toledo of the ECHL. Finley was one of eight players on the roster of 2004 American Hockey League Champion Milwaukee. It marked the 15th consecutive season that the ECHL was a member of the AHL Champion.
Selected in the first round (6th overall) by Nashville in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, the 6-3 and 205-pound Finley is one of only seven goaltenders in history to be selected sixth-or-high in the NHL Entry Draft and is the second-highest draft choice to play in the ECHL. Daniel Dore, who played for Greensboro in 1991-2, was selected in the first round (5th overall) by the New York Rangers in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft.
In 2002-03, Finley was 4-2-0 with a goals against average of 2.36 and a save percentage of .918 in seven regular season games with Toledo while also appearing in one playoff game for the Storm. Finley was 7-11-2 with a goals against average of 2.93 and a save percentage of .898 in 22 regular season games with Milwaukee and he also made his NHL debut appearing in one game with Nashville.
In 2003-04, Finley split goaltending duties with ECHL alumnus Wade Flaherty, who was named MVP of the Calder Cup Playoffs. The 23-year-old Finley was 23-15-4 with a goals against average of 2.34 and a save percentage of .918 in 43 regular season games and also appeared in one playoff game for the Admirals. Finley, who missed 2001-02 while rehabilitating a groin injury, established career bests in games (43), wins (23), goals against average (2.34) and save percentage (.917) and set a team record with 10 consecutive wins from January 24-February 28, posting a goals against average of 1.70 and a save percentage of .943 during the streak.
There were former ECHL coaches behind the benches of 14 of the 28 teams in the American Hockey League and all 28 teams in the AHL had an ECHL player take the ice for them in 2003-04. The ECHL had affiliation agreements with 21 of the 28 teams in the AHL and there were over 90 players on AHL contracts in the ECHL in 2003-04. There were more than 220 players that played in both the ECHL and the AHL in 2003-04 and the ECHL had 425 call-ups, involving 234 players, to the AHL during the regular season.