Photo: Miikka Salomaki plays a rambunctious style of hockey, but next season should see his offensive game grow (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire)
The Nashville Predators entered the 2011 NHL Draft without a first-round pick – having dealt their pick to Ottawa late in the 2010-11 season. Even considering just the short-term gain — Mike Fisher, obtained from the Senators, was Nashville’s third-leading scorer and helped the Predators win a playoff series for the first time in franchise history — that trade would have to go down as one of the best in franchise history.
Photo: Finnish defenseman Mikko Vainonen, the Predators' fourth round pick in 2012, is in his first season of North American hockey with the OHL's Kingston Frontenacs. (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
The Nashville Predators have six prospects at the junior level this year; two in the OHL, one in the QMJHL, two in the WHL and one in the USHL. The four forwards are split into two big defensive shutdown checkers and two smaller, feisty offensively skilled playmakers that are led by Nashville's 2012 second round selection Colton Sissons and third round pick Brendan Leipsic.
Photo: Jonathon Blum is one of three top defensive prospects on the verge of cracking the Predators roster when the NHL resumes play. (courtesy of Danny Murphy/Icon SMI)
The Nashville Predators have a solid talent pool with good depth and plenty of two-way prospects but the organization is severely missing the high end talent at the forward position.
Photo: Michael Bournival is one of the top centers in the QMJHL this season. In an injury-shortened regular season, Bournival managed 30 goals in only 41 games. (Photo courtesy of Dave Connell/HF)
Ever since the 2012 Memorial Cup host was named last season, the Saint John Sea Dogs and the Shawinigan Cataractes have been on a collision course. Both teams had put forth bids to host the CHL championships when the event rotated into the QMJHL. Most felt that Saint John, having the best regular season record for two seasons in a row at the time and on their way to win the QMJHL championship and the 2011 Memorial Cup, would be named the host for the 2012 Memorial Cup, but it was Shawinigan's bid that ended up winning the day.
Charles-Olivier Roussel is currently in his fifth season of QMJHL hockey. (Photo courtesy of Dave Connell/HF)
With Ryan Ellis, Taylor Beck, and Michael Latta transitioning from the OHL to the AHL, the Predators do not have any blue chip prospects in the Junior leagues at this point. However, Austin Watson and Josh Shalla do have some intriguing upside.
Charles-Olivier Roussel, D, Saint John Sea Dogs
Acquired: 2nd round (42nd overall) in 2009