Sunday, September 14, 2014

Predators Rookie Camp Observations

The Predators rookies faced off against the Tampa Bay Lightning rookies at the Ford Ice Center yesterday, capturing a 2-1 win in a spirited contest. Some observations from the game:

  • The Ford Ice Center is a spectacular facility and is a great addition to the sports landscape in Nashville. There was a standing room only crowd to watch the game and lots of activity outside the rink in the park area. Kudos to the City of Nashville, Ford, and the Predators organization for their vision in making this a reality.

  • The line of Colton Sissons, Kevin Fiala, and Filip Forsberg was the best line for the Predators rookies. They were creative, strong on the puck, and showed some offensive flash. Fiala showed some slick moves in the offensive zone as did Forsberg. Sissons was strong on the puck and played with purpose. I would not be surprised to see Sissons and Forsberg make the roster, and I think Fiala has lots of upside but will probably start the season in Milwaukee.

  • Forsberg looks bigger and stronger than he did during his brief stint with the Predators last season.

  • I liked the play of Brenden Leipsic. He plays much bigger than his size and is not afraid to go into the hard areas with the puck. His pesky nature was on display throughout the game.

  • Jonathan-Ismael Diaby was a beast. He is not afraid to use his size and he does it well as he was banging bodies throughout the contest. Beyond the physical play, Diaby skated and moved the puck well and was positionally sound. I think he will challenge for a roster spot this season.

  • Jaynen Rissling, acquired in a trade from the Capitals, had a quietly solid game. He doesn't deliver the booming hits of Diaby, but did a good job of moving bodies out of front of the net and was a strong physical presence. Rissling may not start the season with the Predators, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him up at some point during the season.

  • Magnus Hellberg and Rob Madore both looked good in net. Hellberg and Madore split time, with each playing half the game. Hellberg and Madore were both busy in the second period which saw the Predators take 6 penalties including giving the Lightning a full two minutes of 5 on 3. Both moved well in the crease and did a good job of tracking the puck. Madore showed some exceptional quickness and a good glove hand.

  • Zach Budish, who needs to make a good showing in camp, did not play.

The Predators will take on the Florida Panthers rookies tonight at 7:00 at the Ford Ice Center.

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