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Nashville Predators top 20 prospects

With the season almost over in many junior leagues, here is a compilation of the top 20 Nashville Predators prospects. With about 60% of the prospects having been drafted by the Predators in the past, the success of the franchise certainly lies a good bit on the drafting decisions of the team.

1. Jaden Schwartz, C, 5-10, 193, Colorado College, 25-15-20-35

Drafted by the Nashville Predators, 24th 2010

Projection: 1st line center/winger

Despite being on the short side and not being the fastest skater, Schwartz’s hockey sense and knack of having the puck follow him makes him a true game breaker. His soft and quick hands let him handle the puck in all situations which combined with his ice vision gets him on the score sheet quite often. Colorado College’s coach Owens thinks highly of the freshman “We’ve got a bunch of guys who work hard, but he’s the difference maker.” Schwartz has been named to the WCHA 3rd all-star team as well as to the rookie all-star team.

2. Vyacheslav Voynov, D, 5-11, 202, Manchester Monarchs, 48-12-25-37

From Detroit as part of a package received for Devin Setoguchi

Projection: 1st PP triggerman, top 4 PMD

Voynov is an offensive defenseman that has good offensive instincts and a powerful shot that he can blast to the net. His defensive play could use a bit of tweaking as he needs to improve his decision making. He has been compared to Visnovsky.

3. Jordan Caron, RW, 6-2, 202, Providence Bruins, 39-9-14-23

Drafted by the Nashville Predators, 24th 2009

Projection: 2nd line winger that plays a good two way game

The big winger plays a complete game as he takes his responsibilities both in the offensive and defensive zones. He has good hands with a quick release and he goes into the traffic areas to get the puck. He has worked on his skating but it still requires a bit of improvement.

4. Justin Faulk, D, 6-0, 205, Minn-Duluth University, 34-8-18-26

Drafted by the Nashville Predators, 55th 2010

Projection: Offensive top pairing defenseman

While he’s not considered tall, Faulk has a large developed frame which he uses well to defend. He also has good offensive instincts and a very hard shot that he can get to the net consistently. He was named to the WCHA 3rd all-star team despite being a freshman, as well as to the rookie all-star team along with Jaden Schwartz.

5. Beau Bennett, RW, 6-1, 180, Denver University, 33-9-14-23

Drafted by the Nashville Predators, 44th 2010

Projection: Top six offensive winger

After a slow start, Bennett has had a better second half with Denver University where he scored at double the pace of his early games. The slight forward needs to work out and gain some strength to be able to make plays at the tougher levels. He sees the ice well and can make plays or use his shot to score using good reads of the plays.

6. Brandon McMillan, LW, 5-11, 190, Anaheim Ducks, 46-9-9-18

Drafted by the Nashville Predators, 72nd 2008

Projection: Second or third line two-way winger

McMillan switched from defense to being a winger during his junior days with the Kelowna Rockets. He has swift feet that generate good speed which he uses to be well positioned in all three zones of play. His versatility, combined with his speed and some offensive instincts make him a good asset to have on the 2nd or 3rd line.

7. Dylan Olsen, D, 6-2, 206, Rockford Icehogs, 27-0-2-2

Drafted by the Nashville Predators, 23rd 2009

Projection: Second pairing physical PMD

Olsen is a big defenseman that likes to use his frame defensively. He also has good offensive instincts which he uses to make a good first pass. He also carries a hard shot from the point. However, Olsen needs to work on his decision making under pressure as he can fumble the puck when pressured.

8. Michal Repik, RW, 5-10, 180, Rochester Americans, 53-11-34-45

From Buffalo as part of a package received for Kari Lehtonen

Projection: Second or third line two-way winger

Repik is a shifty skate that uses his speed to create offensive opportunities. He is a good playmaker that sees the ice-well. However, he is relatively small and needs to work on his positioning to be effective defensively in the NHL.

9. Jared Knight, RW, 5-11, 202, London Knights, 65-25-41-66

Drafted by the Nashville Predators, 48th 2010

Knight is a gym rat that is in excellent physical condition. He is a quick skater that plays in the dirty areas and carries a deadly shot release.

10. Alex Stalock, G, 23, 6-0, 185, Worcester Sharks, 19-17-4 2.63 .907

From Colorado Avalanche in a package along with Pavel Kubina

Stalock is a consistent goaltender that likes to challenge the shooter. He covers his angles well but is sometimes over aggressive in his coverage.

11. Charles-Olivier Roussel, D, 6-1, 202, Montreal Juniors, 55-4-22-26

From Buffalo as part of a package received for Kari Lehtonen

While he had a tough year with the Montreal Junior, Roussel did concentrate on his play in the defensive end and thus his offensive numbers suffered. Roussel has a good shot and can make a good pass but he can also deliver some good hits and play a physical game.

12. Tomas Kubalik, RW, 6-2, 189, Springfield Falcons, 65-21-23-44

From Buffalo as part of a package received for Martin Hanzal

Kubalik has carried his scoring prowess from the juniors to the AHL by leading a poor Falcons team in points this season. A chippy player with good hands, Kubalik needs to improve his skating further.

13. Michael Bournival, C, 6-0, 187, Shawinigan Cataractes, 56-28-36-64

Drafted by the Nashville Predators, 78th 2010

Bournival is a quick, ultra-competitive, skater. He plays a smart two-way game. Like Knight, he is a gym rat although he still is relatively slender at only 187 pounds.

14. Stanislav Galiev, LW, 6-1, 188, Saint John Sea Dogs, 60-33-27-60

Drafted by the Nashville Predators, 36th 2010

A skilled winger with both speed and a good nose for the net, Galiev needs to improve his strength in order to succeed at the next level of play.

15. Nick Spaling, C, 6-1, 183, Nashville Predators, 61-7-4-11

Drafted by the Nashville Predators, 71st 2007

Spaling is a versatile forward that can play well at both ends of the ice. His offensive upside being extremely limited, Spaling is used mostly as a forechecker on the bottom lines.

16. Jason Gregoire, LW, 5-11, 196, U. Of North Dakota, 32-24-17-41

From the Maple Leafs for prospect Sondre Olden

One of the leaders of the #1 ranked team in the NCAA, Gregoire is a complete player that can do it all whether it is passing, scoring, playing on the powerplay or defending on the penalty kill. He uses his soft hands to put up points in clutch situations. He has been named on the WCHA third all-star team along with Schwartz and Faulk.

17. Chris Summers, D, 6-2, 185, San Antonio Rampage, 59-1-7-8

From Vancouver Canucks in a package received for Dan Boyle

Summers is a very quick skater the can move the puck up the ice. Needs seasoning.

18. Paul Byron, C, 5-9, 156, Portland Pirates, 53-18-23-41

Drafted by Nashville Predators, 101st 2008

Byron is a small but fearless center that plays like he is 6’5. He has good hands and speed but his lack of size may limit his effectiveness in the NHL.

19. Tom Sestito, LW, 6-5, 228, Springfield Falcons, 46-11-21-32 (192 PIMS)

Drafted by Nashville Predators, 165th 2006

The often injured Sestito has played his first injury free season this year. While he likes the physical stuff, Sestito also has skills with the puck. He needs to keep working on his skating, but he has good upside has a middleweight fighter that can play the game.

20. Ryan Bourque, C, 5-9, 169, Quebec Remparts, 46-26-31-57

Drafted by Nashville Predators, 97th 2009

Bourque is yet another small forward that has skills and goes to the dirty areas. He is a quick skater with a good shot. His size will be a challenge moving up to the AHL in a year or two.