Now that our annual countdown of the 25 best Nashville Predators players under 25 has wrapped up, let’s take a look at who missed the cut and which players fans should be worried about.
Victor Ejdsell, 22, HV71 (SHL)
Center/ Wing; 6’5”, 214 lbs.
Ejdsell had a standout year in the Allsvenskan last season with BIK Karlskoga; he potted 25 goals and 57 points in 50 games. The towering center signed with the Preds this summer over the Red Wings and the Blackhawks. He’s one to monitor as he plays, likely, his first full season in the SHL against tougher competition.
Grant Mismash, 18, North Dakota (NCAA)
Center; 6’0”, 181 lbs.
A popular pick at 61st overall in this year’s NHL Entry Draft, Mismash will begin his college career in 2017-18 after a productive 85 points in 91 games last year. The center plays a physical game and is skilled with the puck, but needs work away from the play and on defense.
David Farrance, 18, Boston (NCAA)
Defenseman; 5’11”, 190 lbs.
Another 2017 draft pick and former teammate of Mismash’s, Farrance plays a sound defensive game. He has a strong stride, a good shot, and transitions the play well. His collegiate numbers may not be eye-popping, especially this season, but he has talent for sure.
Karel Vejmelka , 21, HC Kometa Brno (Czech)
Goalie; 6’3”. 203 lbs.
Vejmelka was drafted in the fifth round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. He’s worked his way up to full-time duties in the Czech Republic’s top league after starting a career-high 31 games last season. He’s a prospect we don’t hear much about but is curious to do the lack of organizational goaltending depth.
Players with Concerns:
Tommy Novak, 20, Minnesota (NCAA)
Center; 6’1”, 194 lbs.
This list is a bit tougher as the Preds have expunged a good number of toxic prospects (i.e. Stepan & Kivihalme), but Novak could follow in their footsteps. An underrated prospect taken in the 2015 draft, Novak had a good rookie campaign, but missed half the season last year after blowing out his knee in a freak collision. This season will be looked to as a bounce-back.
Andrew O’Brien, 24, Milwaukee (AHL)
Defensman; 6’4”, 207 lbs.
Acquired from Anaheim for Max Gortz last season, O’Brien finished with 32 games in an Admirals uniform. A defensman who focuses more on play in his own end, O’Brien isn’t necessarily a stand-out talent. He was most likely acquired for AHL depth and will be looked over as younger talent moves up the pipeline.
BONUS: Jimmy Oligny, 24, Milwaukee (AHL)
Defenseman; 5’10”, 196 lbs.
This is a bonus, because Oligny is not under contract with the Predators but rather the Admirals. Regardless, many expected he’d receive an NHL contract by now (i.e. Payerl & Gaudreau), but no such thing has come his way. A veteran on the Admirals’ young defense corps, Oligny, like O’Brien, may have fallen victim to younger talent.
All stats courtesy of eliteprospects.com.