The Nashville Predators have always been known for being able to groom great defensemen.
If you look at the Nashville Predators history, they have had Kimmo Timonen, Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm and Seth Jones. Most teams would kill for one or two of those guys.
For some reason, though, there has been a recent migration of defensive prospects from the Nashville Predators organization. By last count, they have lost four defensemen from the upper levels of their pipeline.
With the exception of possibly Taylor Aronson, they were still works in progress but the Preds had time and money invested one way or another. In some ways, you can’t keep everyone but you hate to lose good prospects too, for whatever reason.
This could possibly influence who the Nashville Predators take in the upcoming Entry Draft. They have the #17 pick overall and it was thought that they would prefer a forward first but this could possibly change their thinking.
Let’s take a look at the four defensemen that have recently flown the Predators coop:
We aren’t going to go into a lot of detail here because we’ve written two recent articles about the Taylor Aronson Saga. If you haven’t had a chance to read about him, here is an article:
Aronson was arguably Milwaukee’s top d-man this season. He had 40 points in 64 games and had his best season. In a nutshell, he thought he was being ignored by the Preds, quit the team, was suspended and now has signed with HC Lada in Russia for a one-year contract.
Will he ever be back with the Nashville Predators? Right now that is doubtful.
This prospect was lost before he even became a viable prospect. He was a 6th round, #162 overall pick by the Preds in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. He has nice size at 6’1″, 205 lb, and played pretty well in Juniors this season for the Edmonton Oil Kings. Irving had 9 goals and 40 points last season with 88 penalty minutes and a -3 plus/minus.
The Predators Organization had to offer him an entry-level contract earlier this week to lock him up and for whatever reason they neglected to do so. Irving can now go back into the upcoming Entry Level draft.
We wrote about the Aaron Irving dance here:
We were actually pretty surprised that the Preds didn’t offer him a contract or they couldn’t come to terms. It was reported earlier that he was excited about joining the organization with a new contract.
We are sure that the Predators know more about this than we do but regardless, another defensive prospect is gone.
This 24-year old couldn’t stay on the ice. In 2014, the Nashville Predators signed him to a two-year contract out of Sweden. He is 6’3″ inches tall and at 210 he has really nice size and can move the puck some too.
He was a good shot blocker that missed 32 games to injury his first year with Milwaukee and 39 this season. He recently signed a two-year contract with Skellefteå AIK of the Swedish Hockey League.
He was a defensive stalwart who always had a good plus/minus rating. He was a pretty exciting signing when the Preds got him two years ago. The experiment is over and he is no longer a part of the organization.
Corey Potter may not have been what you would call a prospect in the Nashville Predators organization but the 32-year-old was brought in for veteran leadership in Milwaukee and he played top line defensive minutes for them.
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Even playing against the top opponent lines, Potter had a plus +2 plus/minus and played good defense. He was even called up to the Predators for a game in April against Dallas where he had nearly 15 minutes of ice time.
Potter agreed to a one-year contract last week with Kolner Haie of the German Ice Hockey league for next season. His NHL dream is probably over. He would have been a good influence in Milwaukee this season but apparently the Nashville Predators have other plans for the Admirals.
There are still some good defensive prospects coming up in the organization like Alexandre Carrier and Jack Dougherty. There are just a few less right now.
Between the Entry Draft and Free Agency, We are sure that the Nashville Predators will be able to fill any holes they may have in their pipeline.