Photo: After playing the past three seasons in Finland, defenseman Sami Vatanen made his way to North America and currently plays for the AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks. (Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Below is the middle section Hockey’s Future’s NHL Team Rankings. The teams are ranked in terms of the quality of their overall prospect pool as voted on by the staff of Hockey's Future. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The rankings are done twice a year, with the second scheduled to be published in the Spring.
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.