Despite a small presence at the U20 WJC, many Predators prospects have been on the rise since the start of the season.
After missing training camp due to recovering from a shoulder injury, Derrick Pouliot has been making waves in the AHL. Through his first 23 games, the offense minded defender has put up 7 goals and 13 assists for 20 points. While many juniors struggle to adapt to the pro game, Pouliot did just fit in offensively. He still needs to work on his play in his zone as a pro, but that just means seasoning.
Another who's shown more this year is Tobias Rieder. He has showed his speed and defensive acumen, along with some scoring and been promoted to play as a full time pro. At just 21, he should be a fixture on the 3rd line for years to come.
Pontus Aberg has also made a good transition from the SHL to the AHL and he has scored 11 goals in 26 games as a rookie. With good speed and a booming shot, he is an exciting prospect.
In the juniors, the Predators have a couple standouts. In the WHL, Nikita Scherbak plays an exciting style of hockey. He has already 44 points in just 29 games. There is also Cole Ully leading the Kamloops Blazers with 49 points in 36 games, one of the only positive players on a weak team. In the OHL, Tyler Bertuzzi is continuing his progression offensively while still playing as a pest. He has 47 points in 35 games including 20 goals. In the QMJHL, Adam Erne is one of the best players with 46 points in 30 games. He plays a robust style but has a good nose for the net has shown by his 22 goals.
In the US, Sean Malone has missed most of the season so far but he came back with a bang scoring 4 points through his first two games. Dominic Toninato worked hard during the summer and it shows so far as he already improved his numbers for minny duluth through just the first part of the year. He has 13 goals in 18 games so far. In the USHL, Maxim Letunov has exploded this year and is the 2nd leading scorer with 34 points in 26 games.
Back to the U20 WJC, the players representing the Preds are two goalies in Igor Shestyorkin and Fredrik Bergvik along with a defender in Steve Santini. Unfortunately, Santini has been injured so far and he has not played a game yet. As to goaltending, Shestyorkin has been solid for Russia while Bergvik has been shaky for Sweden.