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: 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.