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: Defenseman Seth Jones, on pace to graduate from prospect status before the end of the season, has averaged 20:50 in ice time for the Predators as a rookie (courtesy of Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Nashville Predators system contains some top-end offensive talent while the defensive skill is a bit lacking after Seth Jones.
Photo: After leading the Admirals in points and skating in 16 games with the Predators in 2012-13, Taylor Beck will return to Milwaukee as a featured skater for Milwaukee (courtesy of Danny Murphy/Icon SMI)
Since their inception the Nashville Predators have been built primarily through the draft. A year removed from a season mired by free agency and injury struggles, general manager David Poile had to question the depth of NHL-ready talent in his prospect pool as the season wore down.
Photo: Defenseman Ryan Ellis is part of a young group of Nashville blueliners trying to help the team recover from the loss of Ryan Suter. (courtesy of Danny Murphy/Icon SMI)
The Nashville Predators have been one of the most consistent teams over the last five years in terms of style of play. Barry Trotz and David Poile always put a team on the ice that has a defense-first mentality, and the system that the Milwaukee Admirals employ develops players that fit this mold perfectly. Homegrown players like Jonathon Blum, Roman Josi, and Gabriel Bourque have successfully made the transition from prospect to full time NHL player, and there are other players, such as Ryan Ellis, that are looking to make that jump soon as well.
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.