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31 in 31

Top prospects for Nashville Predators

Fabbro could play major role at defenseman this season

by Robby Stanley / Independent Correspondent is providing in-depth prospect analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, the top five prospects for the Nashville Predators, according to


[Predators 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Fantasy breakdown | Behind the Numbers]


1. Dante Fabbro, D

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

Last season: Nashville (NHL): 4 GP, 1-0-1; Boston University (NCAA): 38 GP, 7-26-33

The 21-year-old should be a lock to make the Predators roster out of training camp and could have a top-four role paired with Mattias Ekholm or Roman Josi.

Fabbro (6-foot, 189 pounds), who had one assist in six Stanley Cup Playoff games last season, will have to adjust to playing a larger role and accepting more responsibility in all situations.

"I want to continue to develop and be a player that maybe has a top-four role, but at the same time I want to earn that spot," Fabbro said. "That's where all the work's got to come in this summer and continue it on into training camp."

Projected NHL arrival: This season

Video: 31 in 31: Nashville Predators 2019-20 season preview


2. Eeli Tolvanen, F

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

Last season: Nashville (NHL): 4 GP, 1-1-2; Milwaukee (AHL): 58 GP, 15-20-35

Tolvanen, a 20-year-old from Finland, struggled with consistency last season, his first in the American Hockey League, while adjusting to the style of play in North America.

Tolvanen (5-10, 191) possesses an impressive shot but is learning how to play away from the puck and develop the skills necessary to be a full-time NHL player.

"Everybody wants to be here," Tolvanan said during development camp in June. "Everybody wants to play in the NHL, so I think that's the same thing for me. I want to get here as quick as I can and I'm willing to put in the work."

Projected NHL arrival: Next season

Video: CHI@NSH: Tolvanen nets Smith's feed for first goal


3. Philip Tomasino, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 24 pick in 2019 NHL Draft

Last season: Niagara (OHL): 67 GP, 34-38-72

The 18-year-old's best asset is his speed, which could put him on the fast track to the NHL. He showed glimpses of being a dynamic playmaker with Niagara of the Ontario Hockey League last season.

Tomasino (6-0, 179) must gain strength to become a full-time NHL player. He projects to be a top-six forward with an ability to be an effective goal-scorer and set up teammates.

"I think I'm a guy who can be counted upon to get the job done anywhere on the ice," Tomasino said. "I think I need to get stronger for sure, especially to be able to play against [NHL] guys."

Projected NHL arrival: 2021-22

Video: Predators draft F Philip Tomasino No. 24


4. Anthony Richard, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 100 pick in 2015 NHL Draft

Last season: Nashville (NHL): 1 GP, 0-0-0; Milwaukee (AHL): 73 GP, 24-23-47

The 22-year-old arguably was the most consistent forward for Milwaukee last season and used his speed to be an effective offensive player.

Richard (5-10, 163) has three full seasons of AHL experience and is ready to contribute with the Predators if called upon. Nashville's forward depth will make it difficult for Richard to make the NHL roster out of training camp, but he could be among the first to receive a promotion.

Projected NHL arrival: This season


5. Egor Afanasyev, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 45 pick in 2019 NHL Draft

Last season: Muskegon (USHL): 58 GP, 27-35-62

The 18-year-old's combination of size (6-4, 201) and skill were intriguing for the Predators, who don't have a lot of that combination in their prospect pool. Afanasyev has the potential to be a second- or third-line player in the future and could be a fixture on the power play.

"I'm excited for sure, and I can't wait to get things started with Nashville," Afanasyev said. "I've heard it's a great team and I've heard a lot of NHL players say it's hard to play against them because the fans are going nuts [at Bridgestone Arena]. It should be fun."

Projected NHL arrival: 2021-22

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