Nashville Predators Prospect Scrimmage Game

Nashville Predators Kevin Fiala (56) controls the puck. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators Kevin Fiala (56) controls the puck. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

The Nashville Predators Prospects were at Ford Ice Center for their end-of-camp scrimmage.

The Nashville Predators always end their camp with two teams going against each other in front of the public. There was a great crowd today and lots of fun hockey to watch.

The game is split into two 25-minute halves and there is a shootout at the end of each half that counts toward the score as well.   Last year the game went well into double figures for both teams.  This year we had some outstanding performances by goaltenders.

The game began with new Swedish goalie Jonas Gunnarsson for the White team and Karel Vejmelka, a fifth-round pick from the Czech Republic for the Gold team.

The Gold got off to a 1-0 lead on a goal by Zach Stepan a fourth rounder in 2013 who is playing at Minnesota State.  He came in close and Gunnarsson had no chance.  That was followed by a pretty seeing-eye goal by this year’s 2nd round pick defenseman Samuel Girard that went into the upper left-hand corner from the middle that Gunnarsson never saw.

Jonas Gunnarsson was tested over and over by the high-powered Gold team which seemed to have much more offense.  Karel Vejmelka saw much less action but shut out the White team in the half.

In the shootout, both goaltenders looked as if they weren’t going to allow a score until Dante Fabbro made the first shootout goal in the fifth round against Gunnarsson and it was followed by a goal by Zach Walker an invitee from the US NTDP. So at the end of the half, it was 3-1 Gold.

The game was great and you are right up against the glass so it’s a different perspective.  Here is a Tweet from Lady Preds who we were standing next to that shows how close to the action you are:

In the second half, goalie Zachary Sawchenko, an invitee from Moose Jaw in the WHL played for the Gold and Juuse Saros went between the pipes for the White team.  Saros was about to put on   a show.

It was almost as if Kevin Fiala and were having their very own showdown.  Fiala made a spectacular move and shot and Saros stopped it.  Fiala threaded a pass right in front of the net and Saros stoned it.  Fiala had a point-blank shot from right in front and Saros said NO! He stopped breakaways, tips, and shots from all angles.

We counted during the half and Juuse Saros made no less than 10 fantastic saves to keep his team in it.  Late in the half, Teemu Kivihalme, a fifth-round pick in 2013, on the White team made the only score of the half.

There were several shootout attempts at the end, including a nice goal by Vlad Kamenev and the score ended up White 6-5.  But truly,  the shootout highlight were two attempts by Kevin Fiala against Juuse Saros.   Here is the first:

Saros stoned Fiala on both and was really the MVP of the entire game.  He was simply amazing.

Some Thoughts from the Game

  • Kevin Fiala and Saros too were just on a different level than everyone else. You were constantly noticing them on the ice. They were a step above.
  • Vladislav Kamenev was close to that but didn’t stand out quite as much.
  • Two youngsters from this year’s draft that really impressed were First Rounder Dante Fabbro 3rd Rounder Rem Pitlick.  Fabbro was always where he was supposed to be and dealt more checks than anyone else in the game.  He made nice plays on both ends of the ice

Rem Pitlick looked and played much bigger than his 5’9″ stature and was fast…really fast.                  He was really impressive both offensively and defensively and made great shots and passes.            Pitlick also laid out Kevin Fiala on the games biggest hit that made some folks worry for a                  few minutes.

  • Other players that looked good were defenseman Alexandre Carrier who should be in Milwaukee this season and forward Tyler Moy who will go back to Harvard to play.  Forward Anthony Richard was another that had many solid shifts.
  • The highs and lows included this year’s Fifth Rounder, Patrick Harper who at 5’7″ and a buck-fifty looked like a high schooler in stature but was very fast and made some nice plays.  At that other end of that spectrum was an Invitee from Brentwood, defenseman Andrew Sinard who looked taller than his 6’6″ and seemed as tall as the glass.
  • The goaltending in Milwaukee is in great hands with Saros and Gunnarsson.  They both looked good.

It was a great, cool way to spend a summer day and dream of when these talented youngsters might possibly join the Nashville Predators in the Bridgestone.

Next: Two Forwards Preds Might Still Target

We had a couple of our PredLines writers there comparing notes and overall the pipeline is looking well-stocked.