Saturday, July 11, 2015

Ponderings From the Predators Prospect Scrimmage

The Nashville Predators wrapped up their prospect camp with an intra-squad scrimmage at the Ford Ice Center. Here are some thoughts:

  • I have been to a number of these scrimmages and one of the things that stood out to me was the overall talent level of the kids on the ice. Now for sure, these guys aren't playing against NHL caliber players, but the talent level really was better than I recall at any of these events. The creativity and athleticism of these young Predator prospects bodes well for the future of this team.
  • With a split squad, there was a lot of ice time for every player. The structure of the game was more pond hockey than anything, but it gave the players an opportunity to showcase their skills and several stood out.
  • I really like the play of Yakov Trenin. The big center skates well and has great hockey sense. He was solid in all zones and distributed the puck well in the offensive zone. He also showed a good shot and is the kind of smooth skating big body that hopefully develop into a top flight NHL forward.
  • Dadgum, Viktor Arvidsson has some wheels. His speed was better than anyone else on the ice and he used it to create some good scoring chances.
  • Last year, Filip Forsberg played like a man on a mission to make the Predators opening day roster. Today, that energy and effort belonged to Kevin Fiala. Fiala skated hard and was all over the ice and showed a wickedly quick release on his shot. Fiala looks  stronger and possesses excellent vision on the ice and does a good job of finding the open areas of the ice.
  • Jonathan-Ismael Diaby is a man-child. At 6'5" and 246 lbs., he is an imposing physical force and, while there were no big open ice hits against his teammates, he did manage to staple a couple of opposing forwards to the boards. Diaby moved well, and if his skating ability continues to improve, he will not be long in the AHL.
  • The goaltenders all split a period of action. Juuse Saros played the first period for the blue squad and gave up 2 goals on 11 shots. Saros made some very good saves in his period of action and moved well in the crease. At 5'11", Saros is the smallest of the goalies that were in camp.
  • Jimmy Vesey looked bigger and stronger and played a solid game. Vesey has already declared that he is going to return to Harvard for the next season, but shows a lot of skill at the forward position. 
  • Lots of size among the prospects on the ice. It will be interesting to see these young men grow and develop over the next few years. The Predators will potentially have some big bodies to put on the ice.
  • Nick Saracino was not drafted but was an invited player to the prospect camp, and Saracino showed that he was not intimidated. He made some good moves in the offensive zone and scored a sweet goal.
Director of Player Development Scott Nichol has some good, raw talent to work with. Today was a good glimpse of their potential. 

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