Who To Watch: Predators Rookie Tournament This Weekend


The Nashville Predators are set to host their rookie tournament this up-coming weekend. View the official press-release here. Players invited are set to report to town on September 11 with on-ice sessions and actual tournament games to follow.

The tournament consists of prospects from the Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, and of course the Nashville Predators. The tournament will be played at the brand-new Ford Ice Center in Antioch, Tennessee; just outside of Nashville.

The Predators released their 19-player-roster for the tournament and you can download the full roster here.

Predlines will be on-site both Saturday and Sunday providing all up to date news and headlines regarding the rookie tournament.

Every one of the 19 Predators prospects that will be a part of this tournament will be well-worth keeping an eye on, but there are a few names on the roster that stick out as guys you must come and see in action this weekend.

Who To Watch:

Kevin Fiala

Fiala was the Predators first-round pick at this year’s NHL Draft. Fiala tallied 25 points in 27 games this past year in the SuperElit league in Switzerland and also played in both the World Junior Championships and the World Championships to add to his 2013-2014 resume. The 18-year-old Swiss center could develop into a regular NHL center very soon.

At age 18, I believe he needs at least one, if not two more seasons to develop into that NHL-ready forward he wants to be. Some time at the AHL-level with the Milwaukee Admirals is of course expected before he makes the leap to the big-club in Nashville. Throwing Fiala into the forwards-mix that the Admirals have would add yet another highly sought out name to the system; a little forwards competition never hurt anybody, especially into an NHL team’s system which struggled to put the puck in the net this past season.

Filip Forsberg

Most people who have followed the Nashville Predators over the past season and a half or so have at least heard the name Filip Forsberg. Forsberg was the man-in-return when the Predators shipped Martin Erat to the Washington Capitals in 2013.

Forsberg was the Capitals first-round pick in the 2011 NHL Draft. The 20-year-old Swedish forward has had large expectations around him immediately following being traded to Nashville. Forsberg did play in 13 games last season for the Predators and contributed for four-assists and one-goal in those 13 games

Forsberg, if all plays out like Nashville and he himself wants, could be a very legitimate top-six forward for the Predators for many years to come. Forsberg will be looking t0, and in some minds expected to make the Predators roster at the start of this upcoming season. If Forsberg makes the Predators roster after the conclusion of both the rookie tournament and training camp you could expect him to slide into a top-nine forward role.

Jonathan-Ismael Diaby

Jonathan Diaby is 6-foot 5-inches tall and weighs 240-pounds; pretty incredible for a 19-year old defenseman. Diaby is an enforcer on the ice, how can you not be with his size and strength?

Other than the fact that he looks like a miniature Zdeno Chara on the ice, Diaby has posted some good stats in his past seasons. Playing most of his hockey in the QMJHL (a top-notch junior hockey league in Canada) in 2013-2014 he posted 28-points in 38 games and collected 80-penalty minutes as well. Here is Diaby earning five of those 80-penalty minutes (Diaby is in the black jersey).

Diaby played in five games last season with the Milwaukee Admirals where he had one-assist and five-penalty minutes. I expect Diaby to be a top-defenseman in Milwaukee for the Admirals this season, but if Ryan Ellis is not re-signed by the Predators then Diaby could be the defenseman to fill his void.

Brendan Leipsic

Leipsic is a product of the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League; the same team that produced Predators defenseman Seth Jones.

Leipsic played a total of four-seasons for the Winterhawks where his statistics improved each and every season. In the 2013-2014 season Leipsic had 39-goals and 52-assists for 91-points in 60 regular season games.

Leipsic is a bit undersized when you think of an NHL-forward, at least right now, but if he continues to develop and contribute in Milwaukee with the Admirals this season I think he could be a dark-horse player who could be called upon by Nashville very soon; maybe even get a few NHL games under his belt sometime this season. Leipsic to many is one of the real “star forwards” in the Nashville Predators system.