Although February is just wrapping up, some Predators’ prospects will be starting their respective post-seasons shortly. I know it can be hard to watch all these players during the regular season, so now is the perfect time to catch up, see what the organization has, and, of course, countdown the days until Eeli Tolvanen’s season is over.
With all that said, below is a short primer on the first round of relevant post-seasons starting soon. Keep an eye out for more coverage over the coming weeks and maybe even some live scouting.
#20 Boston Terriers [NCAA]; Dante Fabbro, David Farrance & Patrick Harper
The Terriers rocky season ended with a 17-13-4 record and a 20th place ranking in the latest USCHO.com poll. They finished fourth in the Hockey East conference with a 12-8-4 conference record behind Boston College, Northeastern, and Providence.
In Hockey East, all 11 teams compete in the Hockey East Tournament. The five highest seeds (BU is #4) receive byes into the quarterfinals; the bottom six seeds will play each other this weekend to see who advances into the top-8. Even though BU does not play this week, their quarterfinal matchup has been set. They will play a three-game series against the UConn Huskies next weekend, March 9-11. Below is the series’ schedule:
If Boston advances, they’ll play in the Hockey East Championship from March 16-17 at TD Garden in Boston.
In terms of Preds’ prospects, Dante Fabbro [D] is still playing on BU’s top pair. He’s a player to watch as the organization might be working hard to coerce him to leave school once the Terriers’ season is over. David Farrance [D/W] has been playing a lot on the wing lately. In their last regular season game, he slotted in on the left side on the third line. I’m curious to see how long that continues. Finally, Patrick Harper is sidelined for the rest of the season with an illness. That’s something to monitor for sure.
Jokerit [KHL]; Eeli Tolvanen
Eeli Tolvanen and Jokerit wrapped up their regular season yesterday with a 3-1 loss to last-place Dinamo Riga. They finished with a 29-2-2-3-5-15 record [that’s W-OTW-SOW-SOL-OTL-L] that was good for third place in the West behind SKA and CSKA.
The first round of the Gagarin Cup Playoffs starts Saturday. Jokerit will face the sixth seed, HC Sochi, in the first round. The structure of each series is the same as the NHL [2-2-1-1-1]. Below is the schedule for the first four games. Games 5-7 are scheduled for March 9th, 11th, and 13th, if necessary.
For reference, Game 1 is scheduled for 4:00 PM in Finland which will be 8:00 AM Central Time on Saturday.
#11 Minnesota Golden Gophers [NCAA]; Tom Novak, Rem Pitlick
The Golden Gophers finished with a 19-15-2 overall record in a close Big Ten Conference but fifth out of seventh in their conference [10-12-2]. Notre Dame receives a bye into the Big Ten Tournament as the top seed, and the remaining six teams will play into the top-four this weekend. As the fifth seed, Minnesota will head to Happy Valley for a three-game series against #4 Penn State. #2 Ohio State will host #7 Michigan State and #3 Michigan will host #6 Wisconsin. Below is Minnesota’s weekend schedule:
Minnesota sits at #11 in the latest USCHO.com poll. Their latest Bracketology predicts the Golden Gophers to be picked in the 3-seed grouping [seeds 9 through 12] with a projected ninth seed placement in the NCAA Tournament.
Both Preds’ prospects at Minnesota should feature prominently this weekend. In their final regular season game, Tom Novak [C] was centering the first line and Rem Pitlick [W] was on the left side of the third line.
#17 Bowling Green Falcons [NCAA]; Adam Smith
The Falcons finished their regular season with an impressive 20-10-6 record and a 17-6-5 record in the WCHA good for third place behind Minnesota State and Northern Michigan. They sit at #17 in the latest USCHO.com poll, so a run in the WCHA Tournament could go a long way towards their NCAA Tournament chances which are currently on the bubble.
For the WCHA Tournament, the top four seeds host best-of-three series this weekend (Minnesota State, Northern Michigan, Bowling Green and Bemidji State) to see who advances into the semifinals. Bowling Green hosts a weak Ferris State team in Ohio this weekend; below is that schedule:
Adam Smith will be an important cog for the Falcons to make a run and especially if they make the NCAA Tournament. It could be some good exposure for a lesser known Predators’ prospect.
Next week’s Part II will feature Taylor Aronson, Grant Mismash, Karel Vejmelka, and Konstantin Volkov.