The Rookie Camp and Tournament is both a time for assisting in the development of prospects and a time for players to make impressions. In the past few days the Nashville Predators prospects and rookies, along with those of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, and Washington Capitals, took part in the Estero Tournament hosted by the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Predators were able came out of that series of games with a very good 2-1-0 record and a tournament win.
In their first game, Nashville Predators' forward Kevin Fiala started the scoring against Lightning goalie Kristers Gudlesvskis in the first period. Juuse Saros the let up his only goal of the game in the early part of the second. Saros was then replaced by Brandon Whitney (they split time by design) who allowed four consecutive goals. The Predators would go down 5-1 that game.
The next game was a different story for the Predators as they put up five goals against the Florida Panthers, who were only able to net two. Pontus Aberg and Garrett Noonan lit the lamp in the second and the Predators didn't look back from there.
The Preds wrapped up the tournament with a 4-2 win against Washington. The Capitals started the scoring in the late first period, but Yakov Trenin and Max Gortz got the Predators on top in the second. Kevin Fiala would put up the third consecutive goal for the Predators in the third and which would put the game very much in the Nashville Predators hands.
1) JUUSE SAROS. Saros was arguably the best player on the ice for the Predators throughout the tournament. He was very composed in net, averaged just under two goals per game with a 1.97 goals against average, and had a very high .935 save percentage. Even though preseason games of any kind do not really tell the whole story on a player, for any goalie to put up those kinds of numbers in games that tend to average above 6 goals a game is highly impressive.
Drulia: Saros wasn't tested in the first game. Was exceptional in the second game.— Ryan B. Miller (@RyanAdmirals) September 14, 2015
Drulia on Saros: "He seems to be the real thing."— Ryan B. Miller (@RyanAdmirals) September 14, 2015
2) VIKTOR ARVIDSSON. Arvidsson played a very good second game where he put up a goal and 2 assists. He took on more of a leadership role for the Predators, wearing the "A" and brought a lot of things to the ice that have grown to be part of his MO as a hockey player.
"We saw what we always see from him in terms of his speed and tenacity," Chief Amateur Scout Jeff Kealty said of Arvidsson. "He wants the puck, makes plays, creates scoring chances; he's one of the more experienced guys on the team, you expect that out of him and he showed well."
Great passing here from NSH - Trevor Murphy drops it to Kamenev, who gets it to Arvidsson, who buries it. 3-0 Preds. pic.twitter.com/N2ZZzwJA4l— Shane O'Donnell (@shane1342o) September 13, 2015
3) KEVIN FIALA. One of the few bright spots for the Predators in their 5-1 loss against the Florida Panthers, Fiala put up the lone Nashville goal in the first period. He looks like he's gotten bigger and the ever-present hands, speed, and shot were on display as well. He tied for second in team points with 2 goals and 1 assists. The only negative Fiala did was trying to do too much with the puck and losing possession—something that happened on several occasions throughout the tournament.
When Fiala is on the ice you can see a talent difference. So smooth. He looks way more composed, too. #EsteroTourney— Admirals Roundtable (@adsroundtable) September 12, 2015
THE RUSSIANS. Making their Nashville Predators Rookie Camp debuts, Vladislav Kamenev and Yakov Trenin displayed fantastic hands and smarts, centering the Predators' top two lines. Kamenev notched a goal and 2 assists and Trenin put up two goals. They will be two players to watch in the 2015-2016 season with their respective teams.
Drulia, when asked about Fiala, dropped Trenin's name as someone who has really stood out in a good way in both of the rookie games.— Ryan B. Miller (@RyanAdmirals) September 14, 2015
The Predators announced Wednesday morning they have trimmed four players from the training camp roster. Justin Kirkland, Anthony Richard, Alex Carrier and Aaron Irving have all been assigned to their respective junior teams in the QMJHL and WHL.
The roster is now at 53 players. Camp opens tomorrow with physicals and media availability and on-ice sessions start Friday at Centennial Sportsplex.