With the fall upcoming, the Nashville Predators release their top 40 prospects ranking.
1. Justin Faulk
Set to make his start this year with the Predators, the young blueliner should soon become a fixture on the backend. A heady, solid minute crunching defenseman in his own zone, Faulk can also provide the powerplay with a booming weapon, his heavy shot.
2. Jaden Schwartz
Pint size offensive forward reminds of Andy McDonald when he has the puck on his stick. An intelligent playmaker, he could make his debut next year with the Preds.
3. Zemgus Girgensons
A bull with soft hands, Girgensons plays hard all the time yet can provide a scoring touch.
4. Beau Bennett
Blessed with golden hands that let him stickhandle in a phone booth, Bennett was hit by injuries the past two years playing a limited number of games. He should get more ice time against better competition this year.
5. Derrick Pouliot
While on the small side, Pouliot compensates with excellent hockey sense and playmaking abilities. He needs to bulk up but should eventually provide top pairing scoring abilities from the backend.
6. Ty Rattie
Breaking out last year in the WHL, Rattie has an NHL quality shot and smarts off the chart.
7. Matt Nieto
A scoring winger with excellent wheels, Nieto needs a bit of seasoning before moving up.
8. Pontus Aberg
Playing a Bure style of hockey, Aberg could become a good scoring forward with his booming shot and speed.
9. Connor Murphy
A very intelligent defenseman, Murphy needs to show that he can play for a full year after seeing the past two seasons cut short with major injuries.
10. Sami Vatanen
The best defenseman from Finland is coming over this year. While his size might hamper him at the NHL level, his speed and scoring should provide fans with exciting hockey moments.
11. Brian Dumoulin
A complete defenseman, Dumoulin should eventually settle as a top 4 steady defenseman that can play on the second powerplay unit.
12. Alexandre Mallet
Developping at a crazy pace last year in the QMJHL, the former tough guy has been converted into a scoring forward.
13. Mario Lucia
Very raw forward with good size, Lucia can shoot the puck to the back of the net with regularity.
14. Scott Kosmachuk
A gritty pest with a scoring touch, Kosmachuk still needs to bulk up.
15. Tobias Rieder
The small forward has been developping quickly last year with Catenacci. Will he be able to put the numbers at a physically tougher level?
16. Brett Ritchie
A big but inconsistent forward, he looks very good when he gives a good effort but unfortunaly he plays lapses of time without sweating too much.
17. Marek Tvrdon
The Jurco-lite forward needs to increase his effort level and could benefit from playing a tougher game but has shown good puck skills.
18. Devin Shore
Skilled two-way forward with upside needs to play a tougher competition before the jury's out.
19. Dalton Thrower
Tough as nails defenseman can also put up the points on the scoreboard. He needs to improve mobility and defensive acumen.
20. Mac MacEachern
Big lad dominated high school hockey but can he get the same success in an environment where he needs to play his position?
21. Brian Hart
22. Tim Bozon
23. Alex Stalock
24. Joel Edmundson
25. Alex Guptill
26. Pat McNally
27. Steven Fogarty
28. Bud Holloway
29. Brandon McMillan
30. Branden Troock
31. Dominic Toninato
32. Logan Nelson
33. Tom Sestito
34. Richard Nedomlel
35. C.O. Roussel
36. Kieran Millan
37. Sergei Andronov
38. Jason Gregoire
39. Paul Byron
40. Robbie Czarnik