Nashville Predators Rookie Camp begins on September 10th, so to help you get ready we'll walk our way through the prospects, from youngest to oldest.
Michael Latta, Center - #55
Born: May 25, 1991 From: Kitchener, Ont.
Height: 6-0 Weight: 209 Shoots: R
2010-2011 Team: Guelph (OHL)/Milwaukee (AHL)
Stats: 68 GP, 34G + 55A = 89 Pts, 158 PIM
Drafted: 2009 3rd round (72) by Nashville
Follow after the jump for some background!
A physical center that is equally adept at creating offense and dropping the mitts. Latta played in an offensive role throughout his career in Guelph as a top-six center and projects as a top-9 center as a pro who can play in a wide array of roles moving forward.
In the latest round of NHL Equivalency analysis over at Copper & Blue, Latta ranked 21st among his age-group peers in offensive output for the 2010-2011 campaign, despite being the 43rd such player in draft order. That's a nice follow-up to his strong 2009-2010 season, and makes me feel a lot better about his demonstrated talent level.
Arbitrary nickname we'll give him even though he'd probably hate it
"Latta this, Latta that" - he racks up a lot of goals, a lot of assists, and a lot of fights (13 last season, and 19 the year before that, according to HockeyFights.com). It's safe to say that he'll make an impression on fans no matter where he ends up as a pro.
At around the 2:05 mark of this video from a February game against Brampton, we see Latta make a nice cut to the middle, have his initial shot blocked, and have the patience to gather the puck back in and fire a strong wrister for the score:
What's at stake
Latta is destined for Milwaukee this fall, where we'll watch closely to see to what extent he can maintain both his level of offensive and physical performance at the AHL level. During camp, it will also be interesting to see how much he works alongside junior teammate Taylor Beck.