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31 in 31

Top prospects for Nashville Predators

Kamenev, Carrier could work way into NHL lineup this season

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent

NHL.com is providing in-depth prospect analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, the Nashville Predators.

The Nashville Predators have a long history of drafting and developing talented defensemen for the NHL, a trend that appears to be continuing with their current pipeline.

Despite placing a heavier emphasis on drafting forwards since Peter Laviolette was hired as coach May 6, 2014, the Predators have some elite defense prospects to go along with a deep group of forwards.

 

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Here are the Predators' top five prospects, according to NHL.com:

 
1. Samuel Girard, D

How acquired: Selected with No. 47 pick in 2016 NHL Draft

Last season: Shawinigan (QMJHL): 59 GP, 9-66-75; Milwaukee (AHL): 6 GP, 1-0-1

Girard, 19, looks like he could be the latest example of the puck-moving, mobile defenseman the Predators have been shaping their roster around the past few seasons. Girard (5-foot-10, 162 pounds) will need to bulk up before he's ready for a full-time job in the NHL, but his ability to join the rush and distribute the puck makes him a top prospect. He was one of the final cuts at training camp last season, received time on the power play, and showed flashes of his skill set during preseason games. With improvement on his defensive game and added size, Girard figures to be an impact player for the Predators when he arrives.

Projected NHL arrival: Next season

 

2. Vladislav Kamenev, C

How acquired: Selected with No. 42 pick in 2014 NHL Draft

Last season: Nashville: 2 GP, 0-0-0; Milwaukee (AHL): 70 GP, 21-30-51

The Predators have been trying to replenish their forward group through the draft the past few seasons, and Kamenev might be on the verge of being ready for the NHL. His size (6-2, 194) allows him to drive to the net and be a nuisance for the opposition to clear out of the crease.

Kamenev, 21, was second in scoring for Milwaukee of the American Hockey League last season. The Predators believe he has the potential to be a top-two center for them eventually.

Projected NHL arrival: This season

 
3. Dante Fabbro, D

How acquired: Selected with No. 17 pick in 2016 NHL Draft

Last season: Boston University (NCAA): 36 GP, 6-12-18

Fabbro, 19, is a two-way defenseman with mobility and playmaking ability. As a freshman at BU last season, Fabbro (6-0, 189) needed some time to adjust to a higher level of play after two seasons with Penticton of the British Columbia Hockey League. He expects to be more of an impact player this season, particularly offensively.

"I think overall I've got to up my game," Fabbro said. "Maybe in my first year I was maybe a little hesitant on doing things out there, but I'm definitely ready to take on that role and be that offensive guy for the team."

Projected NHL arrival: 2019-2020

 
4. Eeli Tolvanen, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 30 pick in 2017 NHL Draft

Last season: Sioux City (USHL): 52 GP, 30-24-54

Tolvanen (5-10, 170) was considered one of the best pure goal-scorers in the 2017 draft, making him a player the Predators could not resist with the second-to-last pick in the first round.

Tolvanen, 18, will play for Jokerit in the Kontinental Hockey League this season. He probably is two seasons away from making a push for an NHL roster spot, but the Predators are excited about his offensive potential.

Projected NHL arrival: 2019-2020

Video: Predators draft F Eeli Tolvanen No. 30

 

5. Alexandre Carrier, D

How acquired: Selected with No. 115 pick in 2015 NHL Draft

Last season: Nashville: 2 GP, 0-0-0; Milwaukee (AHL): 72 GP, 6-33-39

Carrier, 20, could be the Predators' most NHL-ready prospect. He made his NHL debut Jan. 17 and was plus-1 in two games. He played in the 2017 AHL All-Star Game.

Carrier (5-11, 174) arguably was Milwaukee's most consistent defenseman last season. Even though there is plenty of depth at defense on the NHL roster, Carrier has a chance to make the Predators this season out of training camp.

Projected NHL arrival: This season

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