Photo: Pittsburgh Penguins forward prospect Kasperi Kapanen had a somewhat disappointing 2014-15 season in Finland’s Liiga but finished well competing for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the AHL playoffs (courtesy of Justin Berl/Icon Sportswire)
Liiga has steadily seen some of the top young forward prospects in Finland head elsewhere rather than pursuing careers in the nation’s top domestic pro league. That happened once again in 2014-15 as two of the heroes from the 2014 World Juniors — KalPa Kuopio left wing Artturi Lehkonen (Montreal) and Teuvo Teravainen (Chicago), Liiga’s sixth-leading scorer skating for Jokerit in 2013-14 — are no longer playing in Finland. Read more»
Photo: Nashville Predators 2012 second-rounder Pontus Aberg showed promise in adapting to North American hockey early in the season (courtesy of Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)
The 2014-15 season saw a shift in focus in the Predators’ organization from the Smashville philosophy of the early years to a more wide open skating style. Partly due to necessity, Nashville featured bigger, hard-hitting players playing tight defense and making things difficult on opposition players during its early years. That changed this season as new coach Peter Laviolette emphasized a north-south skating game that fit the talents of scorers like rookie Filip Forsberg and veteran Mike Ribeiro, who had a resurgence in his first year with the Predators.
Photo: Nashville prospect Vladislav Kamenev had just one goal in the KHL playoffs as Metallurg failed to defend its Gagarin Cup title (courtesy of Terry Wilson/CHL Images)
Although the top prospects in the Nashville Predators organization currently skate for AHL affiliate Milwaukee, there are many players competing at the NCAA level or in European leagues this season.
The distance from North American professional hockey is telling in some cases, but there is no lack of quality prospects in the two different developmental venues.
Photo: Felix Girard led the Baie-Comeau Drakkar in faceoff percentage (61-percent) and penalty minutes (43) during the club’s 22-game run to the President’s Cup finals (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
The 2013-14 post-season was memorable for many of the wrong reasons for the Nashville Predators at the pro level.
Photo: Jimmy Vesey was Harvard’s leading scorer in 2013-14 with 13 goals and 22 points in 31 games for the Crimson (courtesy of Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
The Nashville Predators entered the 2013 NHL Draft with ten draft picks — selecting four players from Europe including a pair of goalies — and then taking a seventh-round flier on University of North Dakota-bound forward Wade Murphy with a seventh-round pick.