2016-17 Top 10 Nashville Predators Prospects

2016-17 Top 10 Nashville Predators Prospects

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Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators prospect pool is starting to look a little shallow. In the past six drafts the Predators have only had three first round picks, the highest being fourth overall with Seth Jones in 2013 who was later traded for Ryan Johansen.

In addition to trading first round picks, Nashville took it on the chin when top prospect Jimmy Vesey was lost to free agency this past off season.
Overall the team has had success at the draft finding on average two players per draft and the team is patient in developing its assets.

Top 10 Nashville Predators Prospects
1. Kevin Fiala, Left Wing

Age: 20
Ht/Wt: 5-10/193
2015-16: Milwaukee (AHL)
Drafted: Eleventh overall in the first round of the 2014 draft by Nashville

Nashville’s top prospect is the Swiss Winger who led the AHL team in scoring as a 19-year-old with 50 points. This season he started slow with the big club, but the team showed patience.

After sitting out ten games in November, he has been playing a lot of minutes in his return to the lineup and has produced four points in five games since his return.

With Coach Peter Laviolette leading the Preds to a more offensive style of game, Fiala could play an important role for the team going forward.

2. Juuse Saros, Goaltender

Age: 21
Ht/Wt: 5-11/180
2015-16: Milwaukee (AHL)
Drafted: 99th overall in the fourth round of the 2013 draft by Nashville

Saros may not be the typical modern day style NHL goalie. He is by that standard undersized, being less than six feet tall. However, skill trumps all and Saros is a highly skilled netminder and is very athletic.

His North American debut last season was a huge success, winning 29 games and playing for Finland in two games at the World Championship as well. This season his stats are incredible in the AHL with a 1.54 GAA and a 10-1-0 record.

Saros has also seen three games in the NHL and his GAA is almost as impressive at 1.70. Pekka Rinne is the incumbent in the net today and playing well, but Saros is ready an waiting to take over.

3. Dante Fabbro, Defence

Age: 18
Ht/Wt: 6-0/189
2015-16: Penticton (BCHL)
Drafted: 17th overall in the first round of the 2016 draft by Nashville.

After dominating the BCHL in his draft year, Fabbro has made the jump to NCAA hockey as a freshman with Boston University. The offensive production has come back to earth playing against much higher caliber competition, but his play is still quite impressive.

He has also been named to the preliminary roster for Canada for the World Juniors and is considered to be a lock to make the team. It is unlikely Fabbro plays his full four years of NCAA before he turns pro and joins the Predators blue line.

4. Vladislav Kamenev, Left Wing/ Center

Age: 20
Ht/Wt: 6-2/194
2015-16: Milwaukee (AHL)
Drafted: 42nd overall in the second round of the 2014 draft by Nashville

Kamenev had a successful development year last season making his North American debut in the AHL, posting an impressive 37 points in 57 games as a 19-year-old. Kamenev was named Captain for Team Russia at the World Junior Championship and helped lead Russia to the Silver Medal.

He has leadership attributes, good size and strength and skates well. His offensive upside may be limited but he can play a power game, is a force along the boards and is a sure fire NHL player.

5. Samuel Girard, Defence

Age: 18
Ht/Wt: 5-10/162
2015-16: Shawinigan (QMJHL)
Drafted: 47th overall in the second round of the 2016 draft by Nashville

The undersized defenceman is an exceptional skater and has elite vision offensively from the backend. Girard excels at finding outlet passes, reading when to join the rush or lead the rush in transition. He is deadly running the powerplay, but his size can make him vulnerable defensively and in his own end.

As he naturally continues to grow and fill out physically, it will be crucial for him to add strength as well. Girard was named to the preliminary roster for Team Canada at the World Junior and could be a powerplay specialist if he makes the team. Some development time is needed, but If any team can make Girard a NHL player it is Nashville.

6. Alex Carrier, Defence

Age: 20
Ht/Wt: 5-11/174
2015-16: Gatineau (QMJHL)
Drafted: 115th overall in the fourth round of the 2015 draft by Nashville

Carrier is making a solid impression as a rookie in the AHL with 14 points in his first 20 games. The two-way defenceman is a good skater, makes excellent reads and reactions to plays at both ends of the ice.

He has hockey strength and very good mobility which so far has translated very well to pro hockey. Carrier will be slow cooked in the AHL but looks like Nashville has found a diamond in the rough with this fourth round pick.

7. Yakov Trenin, Center

Age: 19
Ht/Wt: 6-2/201
2015-16: Gatineau (QMJHL)
Drafted: 55th overall in the second round of the 2015 draft by Nashville

Trenin is a big strong two-way center who projects as an ideal third line pivot as he is a difficult player to play against. He is already dominant on draws, along the boards against junior competition and his skating has improved since his draft as well.

Trenin has scored over a point per game in his first two seasons of junior hockey and has been named to the Russian preliminary roster for the World Juniors.

Already adjusted to North America his pro style game should require little AHL development time before he is ready for NHL duty. Trenin suffered a broken leg injury in the summer and may have had a slow start to the season after missing some development camps and training opportunities.

8. Pontus Aberg, Left/Right Wing

Age: 23
Ht/Wt: 5-11/196
2015-16: Milwaukee (AHL)
Drafted: 37th overall in the second round of the 2012 draft by Nashville

Aberg made his NHL debut in the playoffs with Nashville last spring and made his regular season debut to start this season. He recorded his first career goal and two points in nine games.

The speedy winger is back in the AHL and is producing offence at a high rate there with nine points in ten games. Expect Aberg to be the first player called up when the Predators have an injury. Aberg should be full time next season.

9. Rem Pitlick, Center
Age: 19
Ht/Wt: 5-9/194
2015-16: Muskegon (USHL)
Drafted: 76th overall in the third round of the 2016 draft by Nashville

Pitlick was overlooked in the 2015 NHL draft, but had a breakout year in the USHL posting 46 goals and 89 points in 56 games. After dominating the USHL last year, he has moved on to the NCAA with the University of Minnesota.

The son of former NHL defenceman Lance Pitlick, Rem is short, but a strong player. He has excellent hockey sense and good offensive instincts. Pitlick needs to round out his game and needs plenty of development time before he challenges for a NHL job, but he is trending towards the NHL well.

10. Jack Dougherty, Defence

Age: 20
Ht/Wt: 6-1/186
2015-16: Portland (WHL)
Drafted: 51st overall in the second round of the 2014 draft by Nashville

Dougherty is in his fourth league in four seasons. After being drafted out of the USHL and USNDP program, he played the following season in the NCAA with the University of Wisconsin. His production there was underwhelming and the following season he joined the Portland Winterhawks in the WHL where his offensive production improved significantly with 52 points in 68 games.

Dougherty has now graduated to pro hockey and as a 20-year-old rookie in the AHL with Milwaukee, he is keeping his head above water with a goal and five points in 22 games.

Dougherty is a smart two-way defenceman who lacks top end skating, but is capable of creating transition offence and has a physical element to his game. Dougherty needs some development time in the AHL. He could benefit from some stability and consistency by playing a season or two there before making the jump to the NHL.