It’s time for our annual countdown of the best 25 Nashville Predators players under 25 years old.
This is not only a tradition here at OTF, but is also something that you might see at many other SBNation NHL blogs. The premise is simple: rank the 25 best players who have not yet reached their 25th birthday (as of August 1st, 2017).
At #13, Frederic Allard.
Looking back at Nashville’s 2016 Draft class one year removed, it’s encouraging to see how dynamic these prospects could be in the near future. Fabbro and Samuel Girard lead the class, but Frederic Allard, in my opinion, is on par with the two of them.
Drafted in the 3rd round last season, Allard has already graduated from junior hockey and will suit up for the Milwaukee Admirals this coming season. I think the word “steal” gets tossed around too much when referring to draft picks, but Allard could be one of the closest picks to that for the Preds in recent memory.
Allard played all four years of his junior hockey for the Chicoutimi Sagueneens - a smaller market with some sweet jerseys. He never received as much fanfare as Samuel Girard coming out of the QMJHL, but he was just as productive. Allard played a remarkable 61, 62, 64, and 63 regular season games all four seasons and worked his way up to elite offensive production. His first two seasons were respectable as he put up 23 and 30 points, but he exploded in seasons three and four scoring 59 and 65 points - more than a point per game in 2016-17.
Allard is in a unique position in that he’ll start his pro career only a year after being drafted and all signs point to him succeeding. He’s still a work in progress, but big minutes on the Admirals will be the best option for him moving forward.
Allard comes with many popular quotable skills. Going into the draft he was often described as the general of the Sagueneens, a player willing to do whatever it takes to win, and one who frequently called plays on the ice. His work ethic and raw tools are undeniably above-average and his offensive ability is elite. He isn’t necessarily flashy, but he plays a very physical game.
Allard has gone on record saying some of the keys to his success in the last two seasons of junior were adjusting his training regime, diet, and working hard to improve his wrist and slap shot. At times, Allard can be caught trying to do too much or overworking himself on the offensive side of the puck and getting burned in the defensive zone. But, when he finds good positioning he can shut down lanes and force opponents to the wall and corner with ease.
Seen in the video above, Allard patrols the blue line with confidence. He takes away space well while also finding and creating space for himself. He can be an excellent quarterback on the power play, and his ability to score under pressure could provide a new element to the Nashville power play someday.
Allard is a curious case. His upside is massive, in my opinion, but he could face a reality one day that maybe he is just an elite offensive force at the junior level. His awareness in defensive situations still needs improvement. Hopefully the AHL can help with that. If all goes right, Allard could be a reliable, but special NHL defenseman, but there are still questions to be answered.
The first year of Allard’s entry-level deal slid to next season, so he is under control until the summer of 2020 at a $728,333 cap hit. Upon expiry, he will be a restricted free agent.