The Nashville Predators have a nice Russian Connection going.
In 2015 the Nashville Predators did not have a first round pick due to a trade with The Toronto Maple Leafs, but David Poile was able to pick up a young center from Gatineau Olympiques in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. With the 55th pick overall Nashville selected Russian-born Yakov Trenin who has great size for that prototype center everyone in the league looks for.
According to Hockey’s Future Trenin was unknown out of Russia heading into his first season in the QMJHL, but displayed his elite-level passing skills. During the 2014-2015 season for Gatineau, Trenin had 18 goals, 49 assists, and 67 points in 58 games. That was his rookie year in the QMJHL which is impressive enough, but on The Nashville Predators Draft recap on their website they mention he was ranked 3rd in assists and 5th in points among rookies.
The Preds North American Scout J-P Glaude on Trenin after the Draft:
"“He’s a big center, he’s 6-foot-2 and he plays both ways on the ice. He put up almost 70 points this year in the QMJHL as a rookie. He comes from Russia and didn’t speak a word of English when arriving in August. It was tough. He’s 17-years-old, but put up almost more than a point-per-game, and defensively, he was awesome, especially in the playoffs when his coach, Benoit Groulx, used him on the penalty kill and power play. He was a top center, so he had a great year.”"
That’s impressive for a young man playing on North American ice for his first year, and what’s just as exciting is that he seems consistent as well. Last year with his junior team he scored 26 goals, 35 assists, and 61 points in 57 games. Along with this impressive numbers at the Junior level, Trenin has great size to go with it. He is 6’2″ and 201 pounds which can help him really develop into a top-two center in the NHL.
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Finishing his season last year Trenin got a last-minute call to the Milwaukee Admirals to join them in the playoffs. He only recorded one assist in two games, but for just joining the team he seemed comfortable which will be good for his development. According to David Poile during a press conference recently, discussing the offseason, Trenin is still eligible for Juniors.
If that’s the case we probably won’t see Trenin in gold for at least another year or two. Unless he just blows Poile and the coaching staff away in the next training camp I imagine he will play one more year in Juniors, and possible joining the Admirals the following year to develop more before heading to Nashville.
Overall it’s always exciting to read about young prospects because it gives you those butterflies in your stomach knowing that your team has a strong pipeline to build success over the years. Trenin has the ability to really translate his game to the NHL which is exciting for the Preds future. I’d compare him to a recent Stanley Cup Champion Evgeni Malkin, and not just because they are both Russian. Well. Maybe partially.
The biggest similarities between these two are their big bodies. Trenin, like Malkin, uses his body well with faceoffs, forechecks, and getting in the right position to score.
The Nashville Predators have always had success drafting defensemen, but recently the talent in the forwards group has improved as well. Trenin will be a huge asset for this team in the future