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Predators’ Prospects Monthly Recap: November

Overseas prospects are rollin’, college hockey is fun, and we officially have too many Admirals’ concerns.

(9) Victor Ejdsell, HV71 - Rögle BK Foto: Mattias Landström
(9) Victor Ejdsell, HV71 - Rögle BK Foto: Mattias Landström
JKPG News

It’s our second monthly recap as part of our new coverage for On The Future! (here’s the first one, if you missed it) We will be providing short need-to-knows about everyone in the Preds’ system. Follow us on Twitter!

NCAA

Dante Fabbro, D, Boston University

With two goals and five assists in nine games in the month of November, Dante Fabbro has stepped up his game for a struggling Boston University team. The loss of rising NHL star Charlie McAvoy left a void on that team that Fabbro and Chad Krys are now filling. Fabbro has been named to Team Canada’s U20 preliminary roster and is a lock for the team in the World Junior Championships. He will play top four minutes and will be a top penalty killer on that team.

David Farrance, D, Boston University

David Farrance has been the sixth defenseman for Boston University this season on a stacked roster. While it was thought he might be able to make a run at a spot on Team USA’s World Junior roster, his understandable struggles as a rookie NCAA defenseman have resulted in him not getting an invite to the team. Though he was scratched twice in November, Paul Fenton recently noted the Predators have great belief in him as a prospect.

Patrick Harper, F, Boston University

Patrick Harper has been a very bright spot for the Boston University Terriers, leading them in points (19) and assists (13) with 17 games played. What’s scary is Preds fans should probably expect him to be even more productive as the season progresses. He has made Team USA’s preliminary roster for the World Junior Championships and should play an offensive and powerplay role for the team. With plenty of talented players on Team USA, however, he will certainly have to play his way into a full-time roster spot.

Grant Mismash, F, University of North Dakota

Grant Mismash has been quite a story for the North Dakota Fighting Hawks. He is a four time rookie of the week in his conference and leads his team in points as a freshman. He was certainly in contention for an invitation for Team USA’s World Junior preliminary roster, though he did not receive one. This should do nothing but motivate Mismash, who is a fierce competitor both on and off the ice.

Tommy Novak, F, University of Minnesota

Tommy Novak’s 15 assists in 18 games leads the Minnesota Golden Gophers and he sits behind another Predators prospect (see below) for the lead in points. Though the Predators should be pretty stout up the middle throughout their immediate pipeline (Nashville and Milwaukee) next season, he could certainly be in contention to sign with the team. If the Predators believe he is the real deal they should do just that instead of risking losing him to free agency after next season, his senior season.

Rem Pitlick, F, University of Minnesota

Rem Pitlick has shot out of a cannon this season alongside top NHL prospect Casey Mittelstadt. He leads the University of Minnesota in both goals (8) and points (19) in 18 games played. Pitlick is a strong candidate for a contract with the Predators after this season and would really bolster their depth at the forward position. As you can see below, Pitlick may be 5’10” but he’s built like a freight train, and he obviously has the skills to put up some serious points.

Adam Smith, D, Bowling Green State University

Adam Smith sits at the bottom of Bowling Green State University’s point totals with zero in 16 games. Though he has made significant contributions defensively for the team, you know he would have liked to put up more points than he has.

Juniors - CHL, USHL

Pavel Koltygin, F, Drummondville Voltigeurs [QMJHL]

Koltygin has yet to explode this season for the high-flying Drummondville Voltigeurs. He has 22 points in 29 games but only seven goals. He’s on pace to mildly improve his point totals from last season, but it feels like he’s yet to bring everything together. The Voltigeurs have a shot to make a deep playoff run in the Q and the skill is there to put a solid campaign together.

Jacob Paquette, D, Kingston Frontenacs [OHL]

Paquette is putting together an excellent season for the Kingston Frontenacs. In 27 games, he’s nearly matched his point total from last season with three goals and six assists. He’s gotten more playing time in all situations and is playing a smart, solid game. Here’s a blast of his from the circles that we see a lot from our defensemen in Nashville:

Tomas Vomacka, G, Lincoln Stars [USHL]

Vomacka continues to have a respectable season in the USHL. Through 11 games, he has a 2.75 GAA and a .908 save-percentage. I’ll be a bit more intrigued about Vomacka when he gets to UConn next season. In the meantime, here’s a shot of his new mask:

Europe

Taylor Aronson, D, Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers [DEL]

Aronson has settled in in the German DEL this season. After a strong start points-wise, his production has plateaued slightly. Currently, he has 16 points in 27 games. The German league is interesting in that it is becoming more of a talent resource for North American leagues. Regardless, a return to the Preds seems unlikely for Aronson. The organization holds his rights until the year he turns 27 - July 1, 2019.

Victor Ejdsell, F, HV71 [SHL]

Ejdsell has settled in nicely in Sweden. He’s tied for the team-lead in points with 14 in 23 games. He’s seemed to found a home centering HV71’s top line. It seems like he’s playing his way to a job in Milwaukee next season. Here’s Ejdsell scoring a beauty of a goal:

Stefan Elliott, D, HV71 [SHL]

Elliott has only managed four assists in ten games since joing Victor Ejdsell’s HV71. Again, he’s an unlikely candidate to come back to Nashville. The team holds his rights until July 1, 2018.

Hardy Haman Aktell, D, Skelleftea AIK J20 [SuperElit]

Not much to report here. To our knowledge, he remains on injured reserve and has yet to appear in a game this season. Monetary reward to whomever can find Hardy!

Eeli Tolvanen, F, Jokerit [KHL]

The Predators’ first round pick this year continues to tear it up. He has 30 points in 35 games and is three points away from breaking Evgeny Kuznetzov’s U19 scoring record in the KHL. Better yet? Tolvanen was just named a starter in this year’s KHL All-Star game.

Karel Vejmelka, G, HC Kometa Brno/ SK Horacka Slavia Trebic [Czech]

Vejmelka, unlike Volkov, has continued to split time between HC Kometa Brno and SK Horacka (six and five games respectively). He’s posted strong numbers in both leagues: sub-2.00 goals-against averages and mid-.900 save percentages. I’ve flip-flopped on my preseason prediction; I have a strong feeling Vejmelka will be in North America next season as opposed to Volkov.

Konstantin Volkov, G, SKA-1946/ SKA Neva [MHL/ VHL]

Volkov has found a home in St. Petersburg of the MHL. Through 12 starts, he’s posted a 1.98 goals allowed average and a .918 save-percentage. He isn’t playing very frequently but good numbers so far. You have to wonder the organization hopes to see him start more contests.

Milwaukee Admirals

It seems the biggest story with Milwaukee lately has been the Saros-Lindback carousel, but, of course, there are other Ads to watch too! After a strong start to the season, the Ads have slipped to fourth in their division (11-10-1) after going 4-5-1 in their previous 10 games. Emil Pettersson is tied for the team lead in points (6-11-17) after 20 games, but, in general, the team has under-performed offensively. No players have hit double digit totals in goals (Bobby Butler and Harry Zolnierczyk are close with 9 each); secondary offensive weapons like Anthony Richard, Tyler Moy and Justin Kirkland have combined for 19 points total in the Admirals 22 games.

The other big story in Milwaukee is Yakov Trenin. On November 18th, Trenin was boarded by the Cleveland Monsters’ Cameron Gaunce. He left the game, has had surgery, and expects to be out for a lengthy period of time.

On a more positive note, some less-than-household names on defense continue to impress. Trevor Murphy and Petter Granberg come to mind with the former putting up points and the latter continuing to play a sound defensive game.

Anders Lindback has been solid when in Milwaukee. The goaltending situation that was supposedly solved this offseason, however, has become a question mark once again. Lindback has record each Admirals win (11; tied for the league lead), and the committee of Matt O’Connor and Juuse Saros has been nothing but ineffective.

Norfolk Admirals

It’s been a curious month for the baby Admirals. The team is still stagnant near the bottom of the South Division of the ECHL, but - more relevant to us - the Predators recently terminated their affiliation agreement with Norfolk. There isn’t much to the story as of yet, but there were clues leading up to the move. Joonas Lyytinen & Frederic Allard, who began the season shuttling between the two Admirals organizations have been in Milwaukee for some time now. Trevor Mingoia, one of Norfolk’s best performers, and Jake Paterson were recently recalled to Milwaukee. Both signed AHL contracts with Milwaukee in the off-season. Furthermore, lost in the fray of the Lindback-Saros drama, Matt O’Connor and Rick Pinkston were loaned to the Atlanta Gladiators of the ECHL earlier this week. Even more suspect is the Michael Santos firing earlier this season. Formerly the Director of Hockey Operations for the Predators, Santos was serving as Norfolk’s President before being fired after only one year on the job. As of now, the only remaining tie to Norfolk is Angelo Miceli who Milwaukee owns on an AHL contract. We’ll keep you updated as we learn more of the story.