Afanasyev Seeking to Become NHL Regular for the Predators
It’s going to be hard to top any player that potentially has more to gain in the Nashville Predators preseason than Egor Afanasyev.
Making his highly-anticipated NHL debut on March 11 of this past season, Afanasyev nearly cracked the Predators roster out of training camp in 2022. Now with a little NHL experience under his belt, the goal has to be proving enough to the coaching staff that he’s ready for fulltime NHL duty.
Afanasyev averaged over a shot per game in his 17 NHL games, which is an encouraging sign for a player making their debut. He only found the back of the net once, but there were several instances where he was the victim of good goaltending.
Now you’re looking for Afanasyev to polish his game some with his skating and moving without the puck. He did impact the game positively in other areas with 13 blocks and 23 hits.
After the NHL season ended, Afanasyev returned to the Milwaukee Admirals for the AHL playoffs and notched 11 points in 16 games. Completing his second full season in North America with the Admirals.
Patience is still key with Afanasyev, and it won’t be a failure if he has to start off in Milwaukee again. Either way, I think he has the talent and skillset to really find a consistent place on the Predators roster in 2023-24.
Afanasyev is 22-years-old and is due to be a restricted free agent next summer at age 23. The former 2nd-round pick from 2019 needs to find a consistent role in the NHL before he hits restricted free agency.