Predators junior prospects update

By Russell Luna

The Nashville Predators have four prospects in the CHL, three of which are in the WHL and one in the OHL.

CHL

Cody Franson, D – Vancouver Giants (WHL)
79th overall, 3rd round in 2005

Franson continues to improve his offense again this year with the Vancouver Giants. He leads league defensemen and is the sixth leading point scorer in the WHL with 34 and is naturally on pace to break his career high. Last season, Franson collected 15 goals and 40 assists for a total of 55 points in 71 games. So far, he has scored 10 goals and 24 assists for 34 points in 26 games. The 6’5 defender was named the HUSKY WHL Player of the Month for October. Franson’s ability to find teammates and the net has helped the Giants to a B.C. Division lead and he is certainly the most productive player of all the Predators prospects in the CHL this season.

Ryan Parent, D – Guelph Storm (OHL)
18th overall, 1st round in 2005

Parent has struggled early in the season mainly due to shoulder and groin injuries that sidelined him. Parent returned on Nov. 18 to help the Storm pick up a win over Sudbury. While it is still apparent Parent isn’t going to be a scorer, his presence is certainly needed for the rebuilding Storm, where he is captain. A top player on what is not likely to be a playoff team, he’s recently been mentioned in OHL trade rumors.

Parent has picked up a total of 34 penalty minutes in 17 games. Last year, Parent racked up 122 minutes in the penalty box in 60 games. So far offensively, Parent has two assists with no goals scored and an even plus/minus rating.

Viktor Sjodin, LW – Portland Winter Hawks (WHL)
206th overall, 7th round in 2006

Sjodin’s rookie season with the Winter Hawks is pretty much what most scouts expected. He continues to be a key role player that provides intensity with a solid shooting instinct. The Swedish native has played in 24 games and scored four goals and six assists for 10 points. Last season, Sjodin scored 12 goals and five assists in 31 games for the Västerås junior team. Defensively might be a concern for the organization. So far, Sjodin has been in the box for a reasonable 21 minutes. He has a plus/minus rating of –11, but it’s not the worst on the last-place Portland squad.

Niko Snellman, LW – Regina Pats (WHL)
105th overall, 4th round in 2006

Snellman still has a long way to go into developing into an NHL forward, but the Finn is certainly a tough-nosed athlete. Snellman has spent 54 minutes in the penalty box in 23 games, but still maintaining a +1. Snellman still needs to develop his skills offensively, but has scored two goals and seven assists for nine total points. If Snellman can turn down the penalty minutes and pick up the pace offensively, he may become a solid forward for the Predators.

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