Yellow Star
Yellow Star

NHL Draft: Predators' biggest needs, top prospects

Nashville has never had one dominant player. On ice, teams win or lose by committee. Nashville's prospect pool lacks a superstar but has many potential prospects. 

So, it fits the Nashville model. Their prospect pool lacks a top defensive talent. Actually, Nashville hasn't used a first- or second-round pick on a defenseman since 2016. 

The Predators have a large group of 25-and-under defenders, but they have no reinforcements. Yaroslav Askarov, the finest goaltender prospect of the last decade, may be the best option for Nashville.

Yaroslav Askarov, G - Athletic, big, positional - all you want in a goaltender. Askarov checks all the boxes, and with the Predators, all doubts of him staying in Russia are gone.

He was exceptional in the KHL the last three seasons and will start in Milwaukee to understand North American hockey angles. Juuse Saros is signed through 2024-2025, so the Predators have time to be patient.

Evangelista, F - Evangelista's 111 OHL points this season put him in the prospect discussion. A winger, he'll join Milwaukee in the AHL next season but will certainly earn a Nashville audition.

Evangelista scored 55 goals this season but must get stronger to thrive at the NHL level. He is aggressive around the boards and in puck battles, which creates scoring chances. He'll be a valuable middle-six forward for Nashville when he gains muscle.

F Fedor Svechkov 19th overall in 2021, Svechkov plays a balanced game. He anticipates the action and is in scoring position before the puck comes

Defensively, he's relied on in Russia's VHL to win faceoffs and kill penalties. This adaptability should lead Svechkov to a third-line spot in Nashville soon.

Svechkov may continue in Russia for another season or two, which might help him challenge for a second-line spot in North America.

Luke Prokop, the first openly homosexual NHL prospect, is a player to monitor for his social influence and developing on-ice prowess. He uses his 6'4" frame well and skates fluently.

After being traded to Edmonton in the WHL, Prokop thrived offensively and was a playoff force. Juuso Parssinen's game in North America will be another Nashville prospect drama. 

He's a two-way player that can fit in Nashville's bottom-six and has played in Finland's Liiga.

The Predators hope Cody Glass can join Tanner Jeannot, Philip Tomasino, Eeli Tolvanen, and Luke Kunin in the NHL next season. The sixth overall choice of the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017,

Glass' career has been limited by trades and injuries, but he showed consistency this season with 62 points in 66 AHL games. Should Filip Forsberg leave via free agency

Predators prospects will need to step up. Jeremy Davies will push for a bottom-pairing spot at camp.

17th is a good pick for Nashville to get the defender they need. While Simon Nemac and David Jiricek will be off the board, 1-2 second-tier first-round defenders will be available here.

Pavel Mintyukov, Kevin Korchinski, Owen Pickering, and Denton Mateychuk are Predators options. Both have top-four upside and offensive capabilities from the blueline.

Nashville should focus on finest player available rather than acquiring blueline depth.