Photo: Swedish defenseman Mattias Ekholm, a 2009 fourth-round selection, skated in his first full season of NHL hockey with Nashville in 2013-14 (courtesy of Danny Murphy/Icon SMI)
The Nashville Predators finished 2008-09 in a then-unfamiliar position: within sight of a playoff berth but nonetheless short of the mark.
Photo: Finnish defenseman Mattias Ekholm is one of three defensive prospects on the Milwaukee Admirals roster with NHL experience. (courtesy of Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Nashville Predators have traditionally been a team that appears to be both on the verge of a rebuild and getting ready for a championship run. This is mirrored by their AHL and ECHL prospects, who could be considered phenomenal fits for the system run by the Predators but are also a little weaker in terms of talent compared to other teams.
Photo: After playing the past three seasons in Finland, defenseman Sami Vatanen made his way to North America and currently plays for the AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks. (Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Below is the middle section Hockey’s Future’s NHL Team Rankings. The teams are ranked in terms of the quality of their overall prospect pool as voted on by the staff of Hockey's Future. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The rankings are done twice a year, with the second scheduled to be published in the Spring.
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.
All-around defenseman Roman Josi is one of three Nashville blue line prospects with NHL experience in this edition of the Predators' Top 20 ranking. (courtesy of Russell Lansford/Icon SMI)
The Nashville Predators have some bright light defensemen in their pipeline, and several two-way forwards that look like they just came out of the Nashville mold. The top three prospects in the organization are all blueliners with NHL experience, led by the youngest of the three, Ryan Ellis. The remainder of the top ten prospects includes some interesting forwards that run the gamut from a top checking-line, shutdown type in Austin Watson to the pure scorer Pontus Aberg, one of many 2012 draft picks making their debut in the Predators Top 20 this fall.