Nashville Predators: Prospects Around the World Continue to Get Playing Time

Eeli Tolvanen (28) RW, 5' 10" , 191 lbs, born: Apr 22, 199 in Vihti, FinlandPreds Sabres 01
Eeli Tolvanen (28) RW, 5' 10" , 191 lbs, born: Apr 22, 199 in Vihti, FinlandPreds Sabres 01 /

With next season’s timeline still on hold, the Nashville Predators are seeing their prospects continue to get vital development in other leagues overseas.

As the Nashville Predators enter unfamiliar territory with their revamped roster, there’s still no clear timeline for next season.

It was originally thought that training camps for next season would open here in the next week or two, but that seems far-fetched now. With that being the case, the Predators are lending their prospects to other leagues and tournaments.

Some of these prospects will be in important spots on the Predators roster next season, so tracking how they’re doing in these other leagues is interesting to watch.

The exposures of overseas hockey isn’t really at the forefront here in the United States. But let’s get you caught up on how some of the biggest prospects in the prospect pool are fairing right now.


Maybe the most talked about prospect for the Predators is Eeli Tolvanen. and you can argue that’s been the case since he was drafted in 2017.

Tolvanen has now played in 19 games so far this season for Jokerit of the KHL. He’s had some flashes of outstanding play that’s encouraging, but his offensive output isn’t as efficient as you would like to see at just four goals and six assists.

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Tolvanen’s ice time is coming in at nearly 16 minutes per game, so he’s getting plenty of action. However, the power play production isn’t there with just one goal, and his shooting percentage is sitting at around nine percent.

We’re not seeing the high level of production on the KHL level that we’ve seen in the past that brought a lot of the buzz around him as a rising prospect. In the 2017-18 season for Jokerit, Tolvanen had 36 points in 49 games and nine power play goals.

It’s always been about Tolvanen’s size and ability to create space against bigger defenders that’s held him back. Until we see extended minutes on the NHL level, the jury is still out on if he’s improved in that area of his game.

There’s no reason to panic over the pedestrian numbers from Tolvanen so far during this current season for Jokerit. He could easily hit a hot streak and the conversation would change quickly.

Expect Tolvanen to earn a spot on the opening night roster for the Predators whenever the NHL gets rolling again.

Yaroslav Askarov

The highly-touted top goaltender prospect of the 2020 draft class was Yaroslav Askarov. Some people, including me, were a little miffed at the selection, but I have to admit it’s growing on me.

Askarov is also playing in the KHL right now and is flat out living up to the hype. He’s appeared in seven games so far this season for SKA Saint Petersburg, winning four of those starts and allowing less than goal per game. Insane.

The fact that Askarov is doing it at such a young age speaks to the ceiling he has once he gets to the NHL. The Predators have to be very pleased with what they’re seeing so far from him after drafting him.

Check out this ridiculous one-on-one save from Askarov that sent shockwaves through social media:

I’m instantly reminded of Pekka Rinne when I see saves like this from Askarov. Just ridiculous net presence and flexibility to go along with his enormous physical frame of 6’4″.

Askarov is obviously two seasons away from joining the Nashville Predators, at minimum, and that’s if things don’t go well with Juuse Saros and Connor Ingram.

Egor Afanasyev

Everyone can’t help but be excited about the future of Egor Afanasyev. A prototypical powerful skater who can create offense and make the players around them better.

The Predators have always lacked an abundance of large offensive powerhouses that fit the frame of Afanasyev. They’ve always had to rely on being a hard-working team that grinds everything out and gets top-notch goaltending.

Afanasyev is currently playing with CSKA Moscow, another team in the KHL. His time has been minimal so far, just playing in four games. However, he’s made the most of it with two goals, an assist and ten shots on goal.

CSKA Moscow is currently at the top of the KHL standings with 24 wins and only eight losses. At just 19-years-old, Afanasyev’s career is on the right track and figures to be a big part of the Predators’ future.

Philip Tomasino

You can’t do an update on the prospects of the Nashville Predators without mentioning the top prospect in the organization in Philip Tomasino. I fully expect him to be on the Predators roster in the upcoming season, although probably not right away.

Tomasino has already tore up the OHL in the past season, and now he’s making noise for Team Canada in preparation for the 2021 World Junior Championship. He has to go through a highly competitive tryout to make this talented roster, and he’s doing well so far.

It might end up being a close selection process, but I’d be very surprised to see Tomasino left off.

The tournament gets started on Christmas Day, and should finish up with plenty of time for Tomasino to prepare for Predators training camp, which still has no set date.

A question on everyone’s mind is can Tomasino make the Predators roster out of training camp? Don’t necessarily count him out.

Other notable prospects

The previous four bring the most buzz among most fans, but the Predators have a very deep prospect pool that has some intriguing talent.

David Farrance, a defenseman who is still in the collegiate ranks for Boston University, is one to really keep an eye on. His offensive skillset as a defenseman is something that should make all Predators fans excited about the possible future.

Let’s be honest, the Predators defense isn’t what it once was. You still have the dynamic duo at the top of Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis, but it gets dicey behind those two elite players.

Farrance is awaiting his college season to begin, which hopefully will get started less than two weeks from now.

With all of his NHL action so far, it’s hard to consider Yakov Trenin a prospect at this point, but it looks like he’ll start next season off not on the Predators roster due to the free agency signings.

Trenin is also in the KHL and playing with SKA Saint Petersburg. He’s not producing much offense with just four points in 15 games, but he’s impacting the game in other ways as we’re accustomed to him doing here in Nashville and Milwaukee (27 hits, 10 blocks, 56 faceoff win percentage).

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Now more than ever it’s important to keep tabs on the prospect pool for the Predators. This team is on the cusp of needing a full overhaul if the next season or two really goes off the rails and the team plummets into last place.

Expect to see many of the previously mentioned players come into the NHL picture in the next two to three years, if not sooner. We’ll keep you updated as their respective seasons outside the NHL continue.