Friday, August 17, 2018

Top prospects for Nashville Predators

1. Eeli Tolvanen, RW
How acquired: Selected with No. 30 pick in 2017 NHL Draft
Last season: Nashville: 3 GP, 0-0-0; Jokerit (KHL): 49 GP, 19-17-36
The 19-year-old will have an opportunity to make Nashville's 23-man roster out of training camp because of his offensive abilities. He set Kontinental Hockey League records for goals and points for a player 19 or younger, and played three games with the Predators after his KHL season ended.
If Tolvanen (5-foot-10, 191 pounds) can prove he's ready to be a full-time NHL player, his potential role as a top-six forward could strengthen the Predators' depth and give them more options on the power play.
"The first couple of (NHL) games were pretty tough," Tolvanen said. "I was used to playing back on Olympic ice. … It was huge to get those first couple of games out of the way just to see the tempo and what the game was like back here. Now I know I have to get stronger, bigger and faster to be ready when training camp starts."
Projected NHL arrival: This season
2. Dante Fabbro, D
How acquired: Selected with No. 17 pick in 2016 NHL Draft
Last season: Boston University (NCAA): 38 GP, 9-20-29
The 20-year-old hopes to be the next in a long line of successful defensemen drafted and developed by the Predators. He has good offensive instincts, skates well and is responsible in his end. 
Fabbro (6-foot, 189) elected to return to Boston University for his junior season even though Nashville believed he was prepared to become a professional, at least with Milwaukee of the American Hockey League.
"We feel that he's ready to play pro hockey," Predators assistant general manager and director of scouting Jeff Kealty said. "That's a personal decision on his end."
Projected NHL arrival: 2020-21
3. Emil Pettersson, C
How acquired: Selected with No. 155 pick in 2013 NHL Draft
Last season: Milwaukee (AHL): 72 GP, 13-33-46
The 24-year-old completed his first season in the AHL and arguably became the best center prospect in Nashville's pipeline after Vladislav Kamenev was traded to the Colorado Avalanche on Nov. 5.
Pettersson (6-2, 164) put his playmaking ability on display with Milwaukee and that should help him get a long look in training camp. The Predators are deep at center at the NHL level but don't have much depth at the position in the minor leagues. Pettersson could be a callup this season should injuries occur.
Projected NHL arrival: Next season
4. Frederick Gaudreau, C
How acquired: Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2014
Last season: Nashville (NHL): 20 GP, 0-3-3; Milwaukee (AHL): 54 GP, 22-21-43
The 25-year-old is not a high-end prospect based on his offensive talent but has shown the ability to produce in a bottom-six role in the NHL. He scored three goals against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 2017 Stanley Cup Final but could not earn a full-time spot on Nashville's roster last season.
Gaudreau (6-foot, 179) will be given a chance to make the opening night roster and could play in the NHL at some point this season. He can play center or wing, which could give him an edge to be called up if there are injuries at either position.
Projected NHL arrival: Next season
5. Anthony Richard, LW
How acquired: Selected with No. 100 pick in 2015 NHL Draft
Last season: Milwaukee (AHL): 75 GP, 19-17-36
The 21-year-old has a chance to contribute in the future thanks to his speed, which helps him create room in the offensive end.
Richard isn't big (5-10, 163), but he does have good instincts that have led to strong offensive numbers, particularly at the junior level. He had 238 points (111 goals, 127 assists) in 232 games during four seasons with Val-d'Or of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Projected NHL arrival: 2020-21

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