Predators Report: Upshall and Tootoo Make Their Case

By Brian Roe

Two of Nashville’s top prospects, Jordin Tootoo and Scottie Upshall, are making a case to be in Predators’ uniforms for a long time- and they want to start their trials soon.

Tootoo is absolutely terrorizing the Western Hockey League. The fiery right wing is amongst the leading scorers in the WHL with 25 goals and 32 assists. He was also a member of the silver medal Canadian team at the World Junior Championships.

Jordin is known as a hard working, two-way player, and is a fan favorite everywhere he goes. His dynamic hockey sense and dazzling ability could certainly help draw crowds in Music City.

Scottie "Devil Boy" Upshall is another prospect the Predators coaching staff must consider when compiling their roster next season. Upshall started the season with the Nashville Predators, who then decided he would benefit by additional seasoning in the juniors.

Upshall was the 1st round pick (6th overall) for Nashville in last summer’s draft. He is known for his physical play, his soft hands and quick feet. Upshall served as the captain for Canada at the World Juniors, where he scored four goals, including two game-winners, in six games during the tournament. He contributed a second period go-ahead goal for Canada during the gold medal game, a game the Russians eventually won with two third period goals.

So it begs the question – should Tootoo and Upshall be in Nashville next season? If the two are coming to Nashville, the team will be forced to move two forwards currently on the squad. The number one target could be 35-year old Brent Gilchrist. Gilchrist, brought into Nashville for his experience on playoff and Stanley Cup teams such as Detroit and Dallas, has not produced at all this season. Experience is invaluable on a young team, but the Predators were certainly hoping for more than three points at the halfway mark of the season.

Another potential target could be Denis Pederson. Pederson is another player brought in because of his experience on winning teams, as well as his leadership skills. Pederson has only two goals and six points on the year and has been injured more than once this season.

Another option could be Vitali Yachmenev. Yachmenev is a steady offensive contributor and a top penalty killer but could be expendable because of injuries and lack of offensive output. Yachmenev has played in only 31 games this season, netting just one goal in that time. The Predators, who seem to be fond of draft picks, especially for this year’s draft, may be willing to part with Yachmenev before this year’s trading deadline. Yachmenev could be a very valuable player to playoff teams lacking depth or looking for a good penalty killer.

Other players, such as Rem Murray or Clarke Wilm, could also be moved to make space for Tootoo or Upshall. Another factor could be younger players like Darren Haydar. Haydar, an American Hockey League All-star, could be an offensive threat the Predators have never had.

One thing is certain- Jordin and Scottie will be in Nashville uniforms, but the question remains, when is the time right?

Hall Call

Adam Hall has been a pleasant surprise for the Nashville Predators this season. Hall, in his first season out of college, is third in rookie goal-scoring behind Buffalo’s Ales Kotalik and Chicago’s Tyler Arnason. Hall, who is better acquainted with being a defensive forward, has been seeing the back of the net more often than anticipated during his initial NHL season. His goals are accredited to using his formidable frame (6-3) to crash the net and clean up the rebounds.

Shot-Save, Shot-Save, Same Format

When glancing at the numbers, one may think Scott Hartnell is seriously struggling this season; I beg to differ, however. Hartnell is not having the best offensive season of his brief career, but he is still a solid two-way forward and brings the type of intensity this Nashville team needs. Although he only has seven goals on the season, Hartnell leads the team with 134 shots on goal.