Over the last couple of years the Nashville Predators have methodically been becoming a younger team, and every offseason the Development Camp offers a look into the future of the franchise.
The Predators 2022 Development Camp roster has been officially announced, with a lot of intreresting attendees that will be participating:
This is an intriguing group of young players attending this year, with former Predators’ draft picks ranging back as far as 2018 with forward Jachym Kondelik and defenseman Spencer Stastney.
Nashville Predators future is bright when you look at this invite list
Headlining developmenet camp roster is 2020 11th-overall pick Yaroslav Askarov, who is widely regarded as the top goalie prospect in the world. He had a rough go of it in the KHL and VHL getting very minimal playing time, so it’s refreshing to see him finally in North America.
There was some worry that Askarov would have a hard time getting back over to the U.S. due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, but fortunately he has arrived, per Hockey News Hub:
I can’t wait to see Askarov in a Preds sweater during this development camp. He’ll eventually play this coming up season with the Milwaukee Admirals.
Followed by Askarov, the next player you should have all eyes on to watch this week is Luke Evangelista, who just absolutely tore up the OHL last season. Expect him to put out a few highlight reel goals this week, and have a strong showing in the Prospect Showcase to close out the week.
Another well-known name that’s making a return to the Predators Development Camp is Egor Afanasyev. He’s been in the system since 2019, and many think he is close to cracking the NHL roster.
Even coming out of the offseason in 2021 it was thought that Afanasyev had a decent chance to make his NHL debut. We’re hoping to see some considerable progress in his development in this camp.
Afanasyev played in 74 games for the Admirals last season, but his point output was a little lower than some may want or expect with just 33 points. He’s just 20-years-old so there’s no reason to worry too much, but this is a huge camp for him to show coaches he’s on the right track.
Then you have one of the newest members of the Predators pipeline, and that’s 2022 first round pick Joakim Kemell. A bonafide offensive sniper that surprisingly slipped down the Predators’ pick at No.17 last Thursday.
Kemell will certainly be in the spotlight during the development camp, and we’ll all be looking for that offensive skillset to be on full display.
Defensively speakig, I’m really excited to see Ryan Ufko and Luke Prokop compete in this camp. Two defensemen that have been rising through the prospect ranks recently.
Ufko in particular has become one of the top defensive prospects in the system for the Nashville Predators after having a commendable first collegiate season with UMASS. I’m looking for him to have a leadership role during this camp.
Prokop also had a very successful season as his team, the Edmonton Oil Kings, won the WHL league championship. He put up an impressive 16 points in 19 playoff game in their quest for the title.
We’ll also get to see Juuso Parssinen at development camp, who is another fast riser through the prospect ranks that has a high probability to eventually make it onto the NHL club.
Finally, how can we not be excited to see the fiery Zachary L’Heureux back on the ice? You know he’ll be flying around the ice making things happen.
This has to be one of the more talented development camp rosters we’ve seen in a while. It really shows the positive direction this organization is heading in thanks to a string of really promising draft classes over the past four years.
Yeah, we’re still not pleased with how 2021-22 ended in a sweep to the eventually Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche, but there is reason to have a lot of optimism in the long-term future thanks to the prospect pool that will be on display this week.