One of the biggest challenges the Nashville Predators have faced so far this season has been lack of scoring depth from the bottom three lines. The top line of Ryan O’Reilly, Gus Nyquist, and Filip Forsberg has been relatively consistent throughout the season so far, but has been shut down by current opponents as of late.
The Predators have been facing dominant teams such as the Vegas Golden Knights and the Florida Panthers, and these teams have been smart enough to shut down this top line. The Predators only managed one goal in each of those matchups.
When this happens, it is vital that the team finds a way to get scoring from the rest of the lineup in order to find a way to steal games that they shouldn’t ordinarily win. One of the lines with the biggest chances in the recent games has been the line with Luke Evangelista and Tommy Novak. The two built amazing chemistry in their time with the Milwaukee Admirals, and any time they were on the ice together they were a major scoring threat.
Time to Call in the Reinforcements from Milwaukee?
Although these two have looked really solid this season, Evangelista and Novak are still in their first full-time seasons in the NHL and learning how to produce consistently at this level. I have no doubt that they will continue to get more comfortable as the season goes on as we have already seen a huge confidence boost in Novak, Evangelista, and fellow Admiral turned Predator Philip Tomasino.
With the Predators barely holding a wild card spot at the moment, it is clear that if some changes are made, this team has the possibility to make the playoffs and even do some damage once they get in. In order for this to happen however, the team needs to get some scoring depth.
And where else to find some offensive power than the AHL Central Division leading Milwaukee Admirals?
The Admirals are having an astounding season so far, and are currently holding first place in the Central Division and fifth in the American Hockey League. The main reason for their success has been depth scoring and decision making from Head Coach Karl Taylor.
During General Manager Barry Trotz’ weekly appearance on 102.5 The Game in Nashville, he stated that he has been watching the Admirals quite a bit and is very impressed with some of the players on the team.
With the recent move of Juuso Parssinen to the Milwaukee Admirals for the first time since 2022, it opens another roster spot on the Predators.
Parssinen is definitely in need of a reset, and with the success that Admirals head coach Karl Taylor had with him last season, this move is definitely in the best interest for the young former 7th round draft pick.
Who Can Step In to Fill Parssinen's Spot on the Predators?
There are a few players that could be beneficial if added to this roster with their recent success in Milwaukee. The first player that comes to mind when considering call-ups is 23-year-old left winger Egor Afanasyev.
Afanasyev is currently eighth among all stakers in the AHL in with 17 goals in 35 games, as well as 15 assists. This is miles above his production last year, and proves just how fast the young skater is improving.
Not only is Afanasyev seeing amazing goal scoring production, he is playing great defensively and is fifth in the AHL in plus/minus with a +19. One of the main concerns with him making the Predators roster at the beginning of the season was with his ability to put together a strong enough defensive game, but with what we have seen from him so far in Milwaukee, he looks up to the task.
Afanasyev played 17 games in Nashville last year and scored only one goal. This experience however was very beneficial for him, as he has gone into this season with lots of confidence in his playmaking, and with goal scoring lacking for the team, Afanasyev would most likely be the best addition for the Predators roster. He also has lots of experience playing with Evangelista and Novak and could be a great linemate for the pair.
Another player that could get the call up to Nashville is Mark Jankowski. He currently sits at third among all skaters in the AHL in points with an amazing 41 points in just 34 games. He is also second in the league in plus/minus with a +24.
We have already seen Jankowski on the Predators roster for two games this season where he scored one goal, and also played in 50 games for Nashville last season. He is a stready veteran that could step in for Parssinen.
Jankowski has plenty of NHL experience and could be a very reliable player for the Predators during this time as he wouldn’t have as many nerves about playing in the NHL. He would also be very comfortable with a lot of the current players on the roster as he was moved around to several different lines throughout the season last year.
If a call up does happen, it would most likely be another forward from the Admirals, but there are two defenseman on the team that are having really great seasons as well. Spencer Stastney and Marc Del Gaizo have both been having great defensive games and have been great playmakers for the forwards that they are paired with.
With defense being a slight problem for the Predators roster, having an offensive minded defenseman like Stastney and Del Gaizo could be quite helpful when sparking offense.
Two other prospects to watch on the Admirals are Zach L’Heureux and Joakim Kemell. Although I think these two need a little more time to develop before making their debut in Nashville, they are certainly players that will be a great addition to the team when they are ready.
Kemell is currently out with an injury, but his one timer is very dangerous and would make him a great asset on the power play.
L’Heureux also brings great physicality for his game and currently has 25 points in his 33 games. He is definitely one of the top prospects for the Predators and has certainly lived up to expectations this season.
Overall, the Nashville Predators are very lucky to have such strong prospects within the Milwaukee Admirals, and if they are looking to add scoring depth, they have a number of different options to add to the roster.