Nashville Predators: Depth From Milwaukee Has Helped Rescue this Team

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 14: Colin Blackwell #42 of the Nashville Predators shoots the puck against the Dallas Stars at Bridgestone Arena on December 14, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 14: Colin Blackwell #42 of the Nashville Predators shoots the puck against the Dallas Stars at Bridgestone Arena on December 14, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Many were ready to write the Nashville Predators off just two weeks ago, but they’ve prevailed with an exciting 10-game run to get back on track.

It’s been a total team effort recently from the Nashville Predators. They’re erasing a lot of doubt that we had in them coming into December, and even the doubt we had as recent as ten days ago.

The superstars of this team are delivering for the most part, but a big kudos is owed to the guys who have been called up from the Milwaukee Admirals and put in valuable minutes. All of them have played their respective roles and done enough to help the team stay afloat.

If you haven’t heard already, the Milwaukee Admirals are tearing it up in the AHL right now. They’re 22-4-3 and lead their division by 13 points. They have an astounding 39-goal margin on the season over their opponents.

It’s safe to say the Predators have options when they need to call up players to help the NHL roster. A nice luxury to have, and one that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

Players who have stood out

Let’s start with Yakov Trenin. I’ve been such a fan of his play and what he brought to the team in his six games he’s played so far. He brings physicality, doesn’t shy away from the forecheck and his offensive game was seeming to evolve as he got more playing experience.

Nashville Predators
Nashville Predators /

Nashville Predators

Trenin amassed one goal, one assist, nine shots on goal and 14 hits in his six games. Most importantly, he reinforced faith that he can be called upon when needed if another injury occurs, which is unfortunately inevitable.

Another player that has contributed in similar fashion has been Colin Blackwell, who was just reassigned to Milwaukee following last night’s win over the Arizona Coyotes. He nabbed his first NHL point and has brought toughness to the lineup, much like Trenin.

Both Trenin and Blackwell have been underrated values to the team. They provided a defensive spark to a team that was lacking it badly in November during their ugly slump that included a six-game losing streak.

When you take the risk of calling up inexperienced players from the minor league, there’s always a chance that they’re nowhere close to NHL-ready and they hurt the team. Neither one of these guys hurt the team or negatively impacted what the Predators needed to do.

Daniel Carr also has seen some time with the Predators this season. Not as much success as Trenin and Blackwell, but he did have the electrifying shootout goal to beat the St.Louis Blues. He was showing gradual improvement after each game he played in, but he’s probably reserved as a full-time player in Milwaukee from here on out.

Others who have seen time this season for the Predators from Milwaukee are Mathieu Olivier, Anthony Richard, Steven Santini and Miikka Salomaki. Not as much success from this group, but there’s hope in Olivier to maybe get another shot if needed.

Trenin and Blackwell have offered the most promise out of all the Milwaukee players this season. When another call-up occurs, I’m hoping it’s one of these two guys.

Will we see anyone new get called up?

Everyone is naturally wondering what’s going on with Eeli Tolvanen. Over the offseason everyone would’ve guess Tolvanen would be the first player to be called up, and we certainly wouldn’t have seen all of these other guys get opportunities before him.

Tolvanen started the season slow for Milwaukee, but he’s recovered since then and up to 13 points on the season. However, that’s in 31 games so not the efficiency you would like to see. His progress is coming along slower than you would like to see.

Rem Pitlick is another highly-touted prospect that still hasn’t gotten the call up this season. He has 17 points for Milwaukee in 31 games. Much like Tolvanen, he doesn’t seem to be ready for the NHL and needs more time to develop into a complete player.

It’s crazy to think how many options the Predators have from their AHL affiliate. It’s a nice problem to have figuring out who should get called up and who isn’t ready. For the most part, Peter Laviolette has done a decent job picking and choosing.

Hopefully at this point in the season Laviolette has a good idea of who to rely on if the injury bug plagues the team again, or a full-time starter’s play begins to diminish. The beauty is, the Predators have options up in Milwaukee and young players ready to contribute and play their roles to benefit the NHL roster.