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Nashville Predators Top 25 Under 25: No. 9 Colton Sissons

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Likely to retain a permanent role in the NHL next season as a fourth-line center, Colton Sissons has proven he is ready to make the leap full-time.

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9) Colton Sissons (C)

Birthday: November 5, 1993 (Age 22)

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 200 lbs.

NHL Draft: 2012 2nd Round, 50th Overall

Captain, Milwaukee Admirals (AHL): 38 GP, 8 G, 11 A, 19 P, 31 PIM, -3

Nashville Predators (NHL): 34 GP, 4 G, 2 A, 6 P, 12 PIM, +5

At the end of last season, Nashville Predators General Manager David Poile announced he would not be resigning veteran fourth-line center Paul Gaustad so he could give Colton Sissons his spot; Sissons has done everything he can to earn that spot. With 51 games played in the NHL regular season and 10 played in the post season, the young centerman has shown the ability to be a very effective fourth-line center in the NHL.

Also, because he has so much NHL experience in important games, Sissons is past the culture shock and can now focus on just improving his play at the highest level of hockey in the world.

Sissons is a leader and a likely future assistant captain in the NHL. This was no more evident than when he was named captain of the Milwaukee Admirals last season at the ripe young age of 21 and really thrived in that role. He, along with other leaders in the Admirals’ locker room, united a team that missed the playoffs the season prior and brought them up to a top team in the AHL. That is not to say the Ads’ success was simply due to comradery, but (via Admirals Roundtable) many players attributed their success to the family feel inside the locker room. Together, everyone got along and worked hard.

Along with his leadership, Sissons’ best attributes are, for the most part, away from the puck. Compared to Mike Fisher coming out of the draft, the Vancouver native plays a real grinding game and is very solid defensively. He has also shown he can be a great penalty killer and play a shutdown role in the NHL.

Also of note, Sissons has a great shot and proven himself a capable goal scorer (at least in lower levels) with two back-to-back 25 goal seasons in the AHL. Despite this, offense will be Sissons’ biggest Achilles heel going forward.

He was fairly productive in the AHL but the NHL is an entirely new animal and he has only come up with 10 points in his first 61 games. That is not bad—especially given he kept getting called up and sent back down in the fall and was playing a lot with guys like Eric Nystrom and Gaustad—but that doesn’t take away from the fact Sissons still needs to find a way to bring that production from the AHL up to the NHL.

All-in-all, Sissons has a bright future in the NHL as a top penalty killer and possible future assistant captain. He will start his career off on the fourth-line but if he can start to score some goals and make an impact in the offensive zone he could possibly eventually find himself in a third-line role.

2015-2016 Grade: B-

NHL Projection: Third-Line Center