Photo: San Antonio Rampage goaltender and Colorado Avalanche prospect Calvin Pickard turned in a strong showing in NHL action in 2014-15, but will begin the 2015-16 season in the AHL (courtesy of Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
When Calvin Pickard was a 9-year-old in Winnipeg he made one of the most important decisions of his life — he wanted to be a goalie.
Pickard had first been “thrown into” the net when he was eight. And he played “pretty well” in goal, but still split time between forward and goalie until that all-important decision. Read more»
Photo: Swedish forward Filip Forsberg made his NHL debut with Nashville late in 2012-13, less than two weeks after he was acquired from the Washington Capitals (courtesy of Danny Murphy/Icon SMI)
With the hockey season coming to a close, Hockey’s Future has begun awarding our “Prospect Awards” for each franchise. Each team has had its share of standouts, surprises – both good and bad, as well as players who find themselves excelling in a particular facet of the game. While the Nashville Predators do not find themselves in the playoffs this year, they have a crop of prospects that combine skill, speed, and physicality that promises to provide an exciting future for the club.
Photo: Defenseman Tyson Barrie, who has skated in 20 NHL games with the Avalanche in 2012-13, moved into the top spot in Colorado’s mid-season Top 20 (courtesy of Dustin Bradford/Icon SMI)
The Colorado Avalanche are in a very unique position for their franchise. They have a bevy of young talent in their organization – if you look at their roster, the team does not have many players over the age of 28 playing in the NHL this season. The problem for Colorado is, the bulk of that young talent is already on their NHL roster, leaving the cupboard a bit bare behind them.
Photo: Miikka Salomäki ranked fourth on Team Finland in points at the WJC before finishing his third pro season with Kärpät in the SM-liiga (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The Nashville Predators have a lot of youth in various European leagues as well as the NCAA right now. Out of their 13 prospects that play either overseas or in the NCAA, eight of them have been drafted in the past two entry drafts. The presence of players like Jimmy Vesey (Harvard, ECAC) and Pontus Åberg (Djurgårdens, Hockey Allsvenskan) suggests high offensive capability down the road for the Predators; however, true to Nashville tradition their prospects are predominately two-way players, and there are no better examples of this than Kärpät Oulu’s Miikka Salomäki and Minnesota Golden Gophers’ captain Zach Budish.
Photo: Colin Wilson, Nashville's seventh overall selection in 2008, has developed into a key top-nine forward for the Predators. (courtesy of Danny Murphy/Icon SMI)
At the 2008 NHL Draft the Nashville Predators had a rather interesting day, with three of the players they drafted going on to become full time NHL players. Despite having two first round picks, the Predators' greatest success came with first round pick Colin Wilson, second round pick Roman Josi, and seventh round pick Anders Lindback. While some of Nashville’s picks seemed to make sense at the time their fans may be left scratching their heads at most of the middle to late round picks from 2008.