Photo: Finnish defenseman Mikko Vainonen, the Predators' fourth round pick in 2012, is in his first season of North American hockey with the OHL's Kingston Frontenacs. (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
The Nashville Predators have six prospects at the junior level this year; two in the OHL, one in the QMJHL, two in the WHL and one in the USHL. The four forwards are split into two big defensive shutdown checkers and two smaller, feisty offensively skilled playmakers that are led by Nashville's 2012 second round selection Colton Sissons and third round pick Brendan Leipsic.
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.
Photo: Kelowna Rockets forward and Nashville Predators prospect Colton Sissons recently represented the WHL at the 2012 CHL Subway Super Series (courtesy of Derek Leung/Getty Images)
When the Kelowna Rockets made the deal with the Saskatoon Blades in early 2010, a move that netted them forward Colton Sissons, one wonders if at that time the Rockets knew the North Vancouver native had the makings of an important team leader.
Photo: The selection of Pontus Aberg, who will skate with Djurgarden in Sweden's Allsvenskan in 2012-13, added a talented goal-scorer to a Nashville organization starved for offense. (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The Predators have defensive stability waiting at the NHL's gates with Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi leading the way, and many of the team's other top prospects are also playing in the AHL with the Milwaukee Admirals. The depth of the organization is apparent in the many notable prospects on the horizon currently developing in junior, college, and European leagues. Below are some of the Nashville Predators prospects to watch during the 2012-13 season.
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.