The Nashville Predators have not been as dominant this season as they were to start the 2014-15 season — due in part to injury — but the team is once again in the thick of what is a very competitive Central Division race.
One encouraging sign is the success of the club’s two minor league affiliates. Both the AHL‘s Milwaukee Admirals and the Cincinnati Cyclones in the ECHL have had to shuffle their lineups at times but no matter who is in the lineup those players seem to be contributing.
The Nashville Predators organization has undergone quite a transformation in the nearly 17 months since Peter Laviolette took over as the second coach in franchise history. That transformation figures to continue as some of the veterans brought in to revive the franchise eventually retire or are moved to make room for the young prospects coming up through the system.
Filip Forsberg’s Calder Trophy-caliber campaign has pushed Nashville to the top of the NHL standings, making his the most notable graduation of the season. Add to that the trade that sent Brendan Leipsic to the Leafs, Patrick Cehlin’s return to Sweden, and solid pro seasons for Calle Jarnkrok and Taylor Beck, and the result is a shake-up in Nashville’s Top 20.
The Milwaukee Admirals have one of the youngest lineups in the American Hockey League — with nine first-year pros and 15 players 23 years of age or younger, including both goaltenders. Three of those rookies are among the scoring leaders for the Admirals while both goalies have been impressive at times.
The AHL’s Midwest Division features several talented incoming rookies including Rockford’s Teuvo Teravainen and Grand Rapids’ Anthony Mantha, as well as several key prospects entering their second pro season such as Chicago’s Ty Rattie and the duo of Miikka Salomaki and Colton Sissons in Milwaukee. Read more»