Nashville Predators: Top Standouts from the Future Stars Game

Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

Look at it as an appetizer to the new hockey season that’s quickly approaching as the Nashville Predators featured their Future Stars Game between some of their newest prospects.

This scrimmage wrapped up the Predators Development Camp and gave coaches and fans a chance to see this improving prospect pool in live game action. It was one of the most anticipated prospect scrimmages I can personally remember.

The 4-on-4 game had some modified rules from the typical NHL game with two 25-minutes halves, not really any penalties to be called, and obviously much more open ice.

Biggest takeaways

The game opened up with some sloppy play and a lot of turnovers form both the Blue Team and the Gold Team. This was something that was totally expected considering many of these prospects have never played with each other and also missed a lot of playing time due to the pandemic cancellations and shorter seasons in 2020 and 2021.

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Isak Walther, a 2019 sixth-round pick by the Predators, opened up the scoring for Team Blue in what ended up being the start of a really strong outing for him.

Walther is heading to the University of Vermont to begin his NCAA hockey career, and this development camp had to be valuable experience for him.

Team Gold responded to tie it up after Gunnarwolfe Fontaine broke out after a Team Blue turnover to finish off the sweet goal. He didn’t shy away from being aggressive with the puck the entire game.

Tomas Vomacka ended up being really solid in net for Team Blue to keep Team Gold from really running away with it in the first half. He made plenty of saves that stood out to keep the score close.

Vomacka most recently has two NCAA seasons under his belt for the University of Connecticut with 56 games and 25 wins.

Eventually Team Gold would take control on the scoreboard in the 2nd half after having a 1-1 tie score at halftime. Once again Fontaine was playing aggressive and showing strong puck handling to generate a scoring chance which led to a goal by Zach Solow.

Solow is a 22-year-old forward who saw time in both the ECHL with the Florida Everblades last season, and the Chicago Wolves in the AHL. He chipped in five points for the Wolves and three points for the Everblades over 21 games total.

This is the point in the game when things really opened up and there were scoring chances on the regular. In what was quite possible the play of the game was the goal by Jachym Kondelik which beat Devin Cooley for a goal that needs to be on every highlight reel including SportsCenter.

Check out the wicked goal out courtesy of the Predators official team account:

Team Gold really seized control here as Grant Mismash widened the lead to 4-2. Mismash is a product of the highly-respected University of North Dakota for the past four seasons. He’s posted 19 points or more in three of his four seasons there.

Mismash brought up the valuable experience he had at the development camp, per the team’s website:

“Tonight, it was a good game and good to get the W. But we all battled this week, and it was a really fun week.”– Grant Mismash on his experience at Preds Development Camp, via @PredsNHL

Final score ends up being 5-2 with a lot of positives to take away from it. All things considered, several prospects made the most of the opportunity to showcase their talents at the Ford Ice Center in Bellevue, just outside of Nashville.

Nashville Predators prospects who stood out

A lot of the attention was rightfully on Team Blue as they had the trio of Philip Tomasino, Egor Afanasyev and Zachary L’Heureux. I know that was where my focus was after they released the teams.

Related Story. Predators Prospect Profile: What's New With Zachary L'Heureux?. light

However, there were some lesser known prospects who really showed out like Fontaine, Kondelik and Jake McLaughlin, who all tallied goals.

David Farrance is a well-known prospect with high expectations to possibly even see NHL minutes on a regular basis this coming season. His skating was strong in this game as he held possession in the offensive zone and made a lot of smart plays.

Vomacka had a really impressive night in net with several tough saves, while Cooley also had some difficult saves he made throughout the game.

The shootout portion of the scrimmage which ended things after the final score was tallied was fun to watch. Afanasyev highlighted this portion with a slick goal and something we’re all bursting at the seams to see more of as his minor league career develops into eventually making Predators roster:

Related Story. Predators Prospect Profile: Egor Afanasyev is the EGOAT. light

Next up on the agenda is training camp, which is still a little over a month away. It will be an intriguing one as their should be plenty of roster competition as Head Coach John Hynes will have to make some difficult starting lineup decisions for the season-opener against the Seattle Kraken.

There’s so much roster turnover for the core with this Nashville Predators roster after losing Ryan Ellis, Viktor Arvidsson, Calle Jarnkrok and Pekka Rinne. That’s not to mention Erik Haula was also lost in free agency.

As for this night that spotlighted the prospects going head-to-head, it was entertaining to watch. We have a lot to be enthusiastic about when it comes to this prospect pool and what they’re building, and this highlighted that.