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Future Watch – Nashville Predators: Excavation game

The Predators are willing to shed to high picks in order to contend. So scouts must continue to unearth deep gems.

C- / 28th overall

The Nashville Predators’ recent run of success, including an appearance in the 2017 Stanley Cup final and the 2018 Presidents’ Trophy, has changed the way they look at their prospect pipeline. Annual deadline deals depleted their draft resources to the point they did not make their first selection at the 2018 draft until the fourth round. As a result, they need their scouting department to find more players like right winger Viktor Arvidsson, defenseman Mattias Ekholm, right winger Craig Smith and goalie Juuse Saros, all fourth-round picks who have played important roles in the franchise’s rise to the NHL elite.

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1. Eeli Tolvanen (15th overall)
RW, 19, 5-10, 190 – Milwaukee (AHL)
41–10–11–21–14
2017 draft, 30th overall
Not as well travelled this season as last, he did leave Milwaukee briefly to compete for Finland at the WJC and played four NHL games in early December. His goal totals in the AHL and at the WJC have been surprisingly low. He has found ways to contribute at all levels even when he doesn’t find the back of the net. The Preds are pleased he opted not to exercise his option to return to the KHL. “He’s a mature kid who has stayed with process,” said assistant GM Jeff Kealty.
FW18| No. 1 – NHL | 2019-20

2. Dante Fabbro (36th overall)
D, 20, 6-1, 193 – Boston University (HE)
33–7–23–30–22
2016 draft, 17th overall
He’s been captain and logged big minutes for a BU team that uncharacteristically has been below .500. As a result, his leadership and competitiveness have been tested in ways they weren’t his first two college seasons. Fabbro has shown improved strength and conditioning, and his ability to move and shoot the puck are as polished as ever. The expectation is he will turn pro after his college season ends and that his game will mesh nicely with the Predators’ style of play.
FW18| No. 2 – NHL | 2020-21

3. Rem Pitlick
C, 21, 5-11, 200 – Minnesota (Big Ten)
35–19–22–41–24
2016 draft, 76th overall
Pitlick has played primarily at center in the spot Casey Mittelstadt, now an NHLer with Buffalo, previously occupied. The transition from wing has been smooth, and Pitlick has emerged as one of the Gophers’ leading scorers. He remains a competitive player who does everything at full speed and loves to shoot the puck. His style likely means he will play on the wing as a pro, but Preds’ officials believe playing in the middle as a college junior this season will give him a different and useful perspective on the game.
FW18| No. 5 – NHL | 2020-21

4. Alexandre Carrier
D, 22, 5-11, 184 – Milwaukee (AHL)
59–3–20–23–41
2015 draft, 115th overall
In his third AHL season, Carrier has yet to show that extra, explosive step in his skating, which might be the only thing that has kept him from making the jump. He is a “do-it-all guy” who plays – and produces – in every situation for the Admirals, which has been helped by the fact he is 10 pounds heavier than he was the previous season. He will never be the biggest guy, but he has the type of hockey sense that serves him well regardless of the level of competition. Nashville can afford to be patient with him.
FW18| No. 8 – NHL | 2020-21

5. Frederic Allard
D, 21, 6-1, 184 – Milwaukee (AHL)
50–4–21–25–32
2016 draft, 78th overall
Allard won’t lug the puck the length of the ice, but he moves and shoots it well when the opportunity arises. Perhaps most importantly, he has shown a good sense of when to jump up in the offensive zone and create an odd-man situation, which has made him one of the team’s leading scorers. Allard needs to show more consistency in his competitiveness from one shift to the next and needs to become a more effective skater, which the Predators believe will happen as he continues to develop.
FW18| nr – NHL | 2021-22

6. Anthony Richard
LW, 22, 5-10, 176 – Milwaukee (AHL)
56–18–20–38–18
2015 draft, 100th overall
Needs more size and speed to be NHL ready, but scores enough to get opportunities.

7. Jachym Kondelik
C, 19, 6-5, 230 – Connecticut (HE)
32–4–22–26–12
2018 draft, 111th overall
Plays in all situations as a freshman and shows good hands for someone his size.

8. Yakov Trenin
C, 22, 6-2, 211 – Milwaukee (AHL)
57–12–13–25–29
2015 draft, 55th overall
Two-way pivot slowly rediscovering his game after 2016’s significant leg injury.

9. Patrick Harper
C, 20, 5-9, 160 – Boston University (HE)
33–4–12–16–6
2016 draft, 138th overall
High skill. Great hands. Stats have dipped as a junior after he missed half of 2017-18.

10. Grant Mismash
LW, 20, 6-1, 195 – North Dakota (NCHC)
21–5–4–9–25
2017 draft, 61st overall
Sophomore isn’t the prettiest skater, but he gets there and is physical when he does.

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