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Predators updated top 20 prospects

With the draft behind and new prospects added to the team, it is time to update the top 20 best prospects. Players 25+ or with more than 20 NEFHL games are considered graduated.

1. Jaden Schwartz: Short and stocky, Schwartz is the future of the Nashville franchise on the left wing. Tenacious on the forecheck, dazzling with the puck and with extremely good hockey sense, Schwartz is set to be a fixture on the Preds top 6.

2. Derrick Pouliot: Extremely gifted offensive defenseman, Pouliot can thread the needle and rush the puck up the ice like few players in the game.

3. Beau Bennett: Very skilled forward, Bennett played part of last year with a serious wrist injury. He has started playing a strong two-way game and knows where to go on the ice to create offensive chances.

4. Zemgus Girgensons: The tall Latvian has the heart of a lion. Always plays at full speed and is honing his offensive skills.

5. Sami Vatanen: On the smaller side, Vatanen is a defenseman known for his offensive prowess. Very good puck mover with a booming shot on the powerplay.

6. Nikita Scherbak: Scherbak is a tall skater with very good puck skills. He makes plays at top speed. He takes good decisions with the puck and uses his deft hands to make perfect passes. On the rise, he could replace Schwartz shortly as #1.

7. Matt Nieto: One of the best skaters in the league, Nieto plays a strong two way game and can find the back of the net with his powerful shot.

8. Connor Murphy: Murphy is a defenseman with size that plays a simple yet effective game. He makes a good first pass, will clear the crease and can play on the 2nd wave of the powerplay.

9. Brett Ritchie: A power forward in the making, Ritchie uses his size to his advantage on the ice. He has a great powerful shot that he can use frequently as he gets into scoring positions in the offensive zone. He was a big contributor to his team winning the Calder Cup in the AHL.

10. Ty Rattie: One of the best shooters in juniors, Rattie was able to carry his scoring prowess to the AHL. A cerebral player, Rattie led the rookie class with 31 goals.

11. Adam Erne: Erne is a strong forward that can deliver hits and muck it up in the corners. At the same time, he has good offensive flair and creates chances in the offensive zone.

12. Pontus Aberg: Explosive skater with a booming shot, Aberg is coming over to play in the AHL in 2014-15. As long as he can adapt to North America's physical game, he should be able to carry his scoring style to the top level.

13. Steven Santini: A large defenseman with good mobility, Santini had a good freshman year in the NCAA with Boston College. He is extremely strong defensively but he is quietly adding an offensive component to his game.

14. Scott Kosmachuk: Kosmachuk was a big part of making Guelph a very strong CHL team last year. He plays a complete game, likes to involve himself physically but at the same time he can put the puck in the back of the net with regularity.

15. Brian Dumoulin: Extremely big defenseman, Dumoulin has kept improving his game over the years. He raises his level of play when the game is at higher stakes.

16. Tyler Bertuzzi: Just a year ago, Bertuzzi was known mostly as a pest. This year, he showed that not only he was a pest, at the same time he had a lot of skills.

17. Connor Hurley: Hurley is a tall forward that is still growing into his frame. He was born just a few days before the draft cut off, otherwise he would have likely been a 1st round pick this year.

18. William Carrier: A big, bulky forward, Carrier plays an NHL type of game. He has above average offensive skills but needs to work on his skating and mobility.

19. Maxim Letunov: Skilled forward with slick hands, Letunov needs to bulk up to improve the effectiveness of his game. He has a hard shot and makes crisp passes.

20. Cole Ully: Extremely skilled forward, Ully carried the Blazers on his back, with only one other player on his team putting up more than half his points totals. He his small and elusive with strong offensive components to his game, but needs to get stronger.

 

The Nashville Predators are extremely well positioned to have a stream of young forwards come up and challenge the veterans. The whole top 20 has good upside. As long as the pipeline stays strong, the Predators should be able to stay a power in the league.