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30 in 30

Top prospects for Nashville Predators

Stockpile of forwards should start paying off in coming seasons

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent is providing in-depth prospect analysis for each of its 30 teams throughout August. Today, the Nashville Predators.

The Nashville Predators placed an emphasis on drafting forwards in 2014 and 2015 to replenish the position, and it has paid off. With the depth of the NHL roster, they are in no hurry to rush their prospects to the NHL, but they do have talent in the system that is developing.

Here are the Predators' top five prospects, according to

1. Kevin Fiala, LW

How acquired: Selected with No. 11 pick in 2014 NHL Draft

Last season: Milwaukee (AHL): 66 GP, 18-32-50

Fiala has the offensive tools to play in the NHL this season, but the Predators are more concerned about his play away from the puck and his maturity level off the ice.

They want him to learn how to handle the ups and downs that come with being a professional hockey player. It's a lesson Fiala (5-foot-10, 193 pounds) has taken to heart, and he hopes he'll be able to break through and play full-time in the NHL at some point this season.

"You want to go in the NHL as quickly as possible of course, but I'm [20 years old] right now and I understand it doesn't work like that," Fiala said at development camp in June. "You have to have a process, step by step. That's the way it is. Everybody has to go through it, and I'm going through it right now. I hope this year it's going to happen."

Projected NHL arrival: This season

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2. Vladislav Kamenev, C

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

Last season: Milwaukee (AHL): 57 GP, 15-22-37

Kamenev, 20, is a center the Predators believe has the potential to play in their top six. He has the size (6-2, 194) and skill to be a difference-maker as he continues to mature.

Kamenev had a solid first season with Milwaukee. His frame allows him to win puck battles along the boards, and he's able to put himself in good position around the net. Kamenev will likely spend this season in the American Hockey League and compete for an NHL job in 2017-18.

Projected NHL arrival: Next season

3. Juuse Saros, G

How acquired: Selected with No. 99 pick in 2013 NHL Draft

Last season: Milwaukee (AHL): 38 GP, 29-8-0, 2.24 GAA, .920 SV%

Saros figures to be the goaltender of the future for the Predators when Pekka Rinne is eventually done playing. The 21-year-old is undersized for a modern-day goaltender (5-11, 180) but makes up for it with his athleticism.

Saros will battle to be the NHL backup in training camp, but in a perfect world the Predators would like him to have another full season in the AHL before he plays behind Rinne.

Projected NHL arrival: Next season

4. Dante Fabbro, D

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

Last season: Penticton (BCHL): 45 GP, 14-53-67

The Predators have had a strong history of drafting and developing quality NHL defensemen, and Fabbro could be the next one in line.

Fabbro, 18, has the ability to join the rush and play a reliable role in the defensive zone. He will attend Boston University as a freshman and will be in contact with the Predators about his future.

"I think right now I'm taking it year by year," Fabbro (6-foot, 189) said. "I'm going [to Boston University] to be a hockey player. I want to make the NHL. I want to play in the NHL someday. If that's after two years, then it's after two years. I'll be glad to come here. It's just one of those things. I think Nashville has to feel comfortable with me coming in, and I have to feel comfortable too. It goes both ways, but obviously it's Nashville's call for sure."

Projected NHL arrival: 2018-19

Video: Predators draft D Dante Fabbro No. 17

5. Yakov Trenin, C

How acquired: Selected with No. 55 pick in 2015 NHL Draft

Last season: Gatineau (QMJHL): 57 GP, 26-35-61

Trenin, 19, is similar to Kamenev, a big center (6-2, 201) with lots of upside. Trenin has been productive offensively and has the potential to be a top six forward.

Predators general manager David Poile said this summer the ideal plan for Trenin would be to return to Gatineau this season, play a full season for Milwaukee in 2017-18, and then push for a position with the Predators after that.

Projected NHL arrival: 2018-19

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