Most likely the Nashville Predators roster is going to look much different at this time next year. These new faces need to be ready to get their number called.
You always have to have your eyes on what the future holds for your NHL franchise, both in the near future and several seasons down the road.
When it comes to the Nashville Predators, they certainly have several intriguing and talented prospects that are worth having your undivided attention to make an NHL impact soon.
Going into 2019-20, SportingNews did a full in-depth ranking of every team’s prospect pool, and the list still holds some merit despite nearly a full season being played since then.
This list had the Nashville Predators ranked all the way down at No.25. At the time it was compiled I would’ve disagreed majorly, but after seeing things unfold since then, I might have the Predators closer to that spot than I’d like to admit.
With that being said, there are some budding prospects who are getting very close to cracking the Predators roster and logging meaningful minutes on the ice in the near future. Like as soon as this upcoming season, which hopefully starts in the Fall.
You have to start with Tomasino, who is absolutely surging toward the top of the Predators’ prospect pool and should be on everyone’s radars.
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Tomasino recently told Brooks Bratten of the Predators official website that his goal is to challenge for a roster spot in training camp this season, which is going to raise a lot of eyebrows when that time comes.
This past season in the OHL, Tomasino was one of the best in the league. He took over games regularly and finished with an incredible 100 points in just 62 games.
I don’t care what league you’re playing in, those are video game numbers. The jump to the NHL is always a challenging one, but Tomasino appears to be very ready to make some noise in training camp and possibly make an appearance in 2020-21.
Looking over the free agency situations for the Predators, there will be some voids to fill that Tomasino can realistically push for.
Carrier has been in the Predators’ system for a while now. He was drafted 115th overall in 2015, but has only appeared in five NHL games so far.
That’s most likely about to change when looking at the defensive landscape for the Predators. They’re a hot mess right now in this department, to put it mildly.
Aside from Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm, there is just so much uncertainty with this group right now. And it showed this past season in an ugly way.
Carrier was rewarded for his consistent play with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL by getting a new contract with the Predators. This deal is a two-way contract that illustrates that the Predators have high confidence in Carrier for the future.
Maybe Carrier isn’t the long-term answer to the Predators’ problems on the defense, but he can definitely be an upgrade from what we saw from Yannick Weber, Matt Irwin and an aging Dan Hamhuis.
I’m willing to bet Carrier will be on the third defensive pairing for the Predators to debut next season. He’s never been able to make the jump from the AHL to the NHL, but maybe he’s finally gotten the development he needs to be a quality third pairing defenseman.
The changing of the guard is getting ready to occur in Nashville between the pipes. In fact, it kind of already has.
As all-time great as Pekka Rinne is, all good things eventually come to an end. Now the Predators have to start thinking about the future backup to Juuse Saros.
It looks like with confidence they have their backup waiting in the wings with Connor Ingram. He’s had stellar back-to-back seasons in the AHL, and came to the Predators’ system via trade from the Tampa Bay Lightning prior to this current season.
There’s no way to know for sure how Ingram is going to handle the enormous jump in talent and difficulty from the AHL to the NHL, but he’s done what he’s had to do to get that chance fairly soon.
The only question is how long Rinne can stay effective as a backup to Saros. Rinne has one year left on his current contract, so preferably you’d like to see him have at least one more season left of solid production left before handing it over to Ingram to take his backup role in 2021-22.
There will be rumblings that will sprout up fast next season if Rinne struggles in his backup role. It will be hard to watch if a demotion occurs, but let’s all be prepared for it.
Others to mention
Eeli Tolvanen- He was all over everyone’s radar at first, but has faded since then. It doesn’t mean give up on him by any means. The development has been slower than maybe we’d like to see, but he did start showing improvement in Milwaukee towards the end before the stoppage.
David Farrance- A ton of potential and a high ceiling remain for the 20-year-old Farrance. And with the Nashville defense so up-in-the-air, you have to keep him on the radar to possibly get a call-up after his time with Boston University. He’s got another upcoming season in college before we can start thinking about him for the Predators.
Rem Pitlick- Another highly-skilled skater and depth center that can bring some offensive punch to the Predators’ bottom-six next season if the injury bug riddles them. However, Pitlick didn’t exactly tear it up for Milwaukee this past season, either. With that said, he’s on the short list of guys to be called up in a tough situation, and who knows; he could maximize that opportunity when it comes.