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Preds Prospects Rank High In The Hockey News 2010 Future Watch

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators
The Preds placed three prospects among the top-50 in the annual The Hockey News Future Watch, which hit news stands this week, paced by Colin Wilson at No. 8 on the list. Only one team had more prospects in the top-50 than Nashville, the Phoenix Coyotes with four -- however the Coyotes failed to place a prospect in the top-10.

Ryan Ellis, Nashville's first round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, ranked No. 19 on the list (the seventh highest ranked defenseman), and Chet Pickard, the No. 18 overall selection in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, ranked No. 26 on the list (the fourth highest ranked goaltender).

The Preds young players and prospects (a compilation of the organization's top-10 prospects and 21-and-under NHLers) earned a "B" grade, same as last season. Only eight teams recieved grades higher than a "B." Additionally, Nashville scored a "+6" in the publication’s leveling system (a comparison of team prospect ranking to the team’s average draft position over the past four drafts), which is the fifth best score in the league.

Defensemen Jonathon Blum and Roman Josi were listed as the organization's fourth and fifth best prospects, respectively, followed by forward Zach Budish, forward Taylor Beck, forward Nick Spaling, defenseman Teemu Laakso, and forward Andreas Thuresson. Laakso, Spaling, and Thuresson each saw time in the NHL with the Preds this season.

Due to the organization's prospect depth, forwards Gabriel Bourque, a key member of Team Canada's World Junior Championship team, Michael Latta, among the Ontario Hockey League's top-25 in goals, points, and penalty minutes, and Blake Geoffrion, a top candidate for the Hobey Baker Award (given to the top NCAA player), were unable to crack the Preds top-10 prospect list, along with defensemen Mattias Ekholm, a member of Team Sweden's bronze medal winning World Junior squad, and Charles-Olivier Roussel, a second-round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft who is expected to be a member of Team Canada's World Junior squad next season.
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