Photo: Nashville Predators prospect and 2010 first-round pick Austin Watson has established himself as a consistent player in the AHL while waiting for his NHL opportunity (courtesy of Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)
Entering the 2010 NHL Draft the Nashville Predators were coming off a successful regular season followed by yet another disappointing first round series loss in the playoffs.
Nashville finished third in the Central Division in 2009-10, reaching 100 points for the third time in five seasons, but lost to eventual Stanley Cup champion Chicago in six games in the first round. This marked the fifth straight time Nashville lost in the first round and the Predators would not win their first playoff series until the 2010-11 season.
Photo: Calle Jarnkrok, acquired from Detroit in the David Legwand trade, registered nine points in 12 NHL games with the Predators in 2013-14 (courtesy of Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Nashville Predators made a big splash in the 2013 NHL Draft when they took defenseman Seth Jones with the fourth overall pick. Not surprisingly, Jones made the jump right to the NHL and was one of four defensemen 23 years of age or younger to see significant time in Nashville.
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: 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.