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Predators’ Prospects Monthly Recap: March

Prospect seasons are finally winding down (thank god because I am tired...just kidding!)

USHL Fall Classic - Day 2
One of these players is a Preds’ prospect and the other is one that should be in my opinion.
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

We continue with our monthly recaps as part of our new coverage for On The Future! We will be providing short need-to-knows about everyone in the Preds’ system. Follow us on Twitter!

NCAA

Dante Fabbro, D, Boston University

It’s now officially #FabbroWatch season (just kidding...maybe). A lot of noise has been made about Fabbro potentially signing his ELC this summer. I’ll start with this. There is a slim to none chance you see him play anywhere else this season. The Admirals have 7 games left and are not going to make the playoffs, and the parent club has insane depth. So, turn your eyes to the summer for the first-round pick.

Fabbro finished his sophomore season with 29 points in 38 games. After a rocky first half for BU, his play matured a lot down the stretch as the team got better. At year’s end, he was honored as an All-New England All-Star and a Hockey East Second Team All-Star.

David Farrance, D, Boston University

Farrance’s stat line for his freshman season isn’t all that impressive but talk about a stunning second-half performance. After the turn of the year, Farrance really found his legs finishing with 3 goals and 9 points down the stretch. He played a lot on the wing and grew comfortable and then transitioned back to defense and looked stellar. Even better? He was named to the NCAA Tournament Northeast All-Regional Team.

Patrick Harper, F, Boston University

Harper finished his short season with an impressive 21 points in 20 games. Nothing new to disclose about what kept him out for the latter half of the season.

Grant Mismash, F, University of North Dakota

Mismash posted 9 goals and 22 points in 38 games in his first season at North Dakota. Additionally, he was honored with a spot on the NCHC All-Rookie Team. He’s a player high on my radar for next season.

Tommy Novak, F, University of Minnesota

Novak had an excellent bounce-back season after injury issues the season before. He’s matured into a responsible two-way center who can dish the puck with excellence. His future in the organization could be similar to that of Moy’s or Budish, but I could also see the team moving on after next year.

Rem Pitlick, F, University of Minnesota

Pitlick quietly had a really good season. 12 goals and 31 points in 38 games for an average Golden Gophers team. He won’t have Casey Middlestadt to play with next year, but next season is likely a contract year for him with the organization.

Adam Smith, D, Bowling Green State University

Adam Smith kept it simple this year. We know he isn’t counted on for his offensive production but read here what his head coach has to say about what he provides. It’s hard to imagine Smith getting a contract offer from the Preds after next season.

Juniors - CHL, USHL

Pavel Koltygin, F, Drummondville Voltigeurs [QMJHL]

Koltygin has had such a fascinating season, but he’s really playing well as the Voltigeurs roll through the playoffs. This postseason he’s making the most of limited ice time but it could be the performance he needs to get a jump start on next season. Watch for a scouting report on him coming soon.

Jacob Paquette, D, Kingston Frontenacs [OHL]

Paquette has had a really solid season for the Frontenacs and will look to make a big impact in their playoff run. He’s deceptively quick and uses his long stick well. I love this play below from him. He doesn’t let off his coverage as a 2-on-1 begins to develop until he recognizes his partner is getting beat, uses his quick feet to adjust and recover position and forces the shooter to take a weak shot. Look for a scouting report on Paquette in the coming week, too.

Paquette’s defensive step

Tomas Vomacka, G, Lincoln Stars [USHL]

Vomacka has posted impressive numbers in the past month and a half. He’s really found his game as a work-horse goaltender for the Lincoln Stars. His numbers aren’t eye-popping, but he’s gone on some incredible stretches including taking seven wins in a row earlier in March. He qualifies as my biggest player to watch next season as a freshman at UConn.

Europe

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

Aronson’s season has slowed down considerably since a quick start. He has one assist in six playoff games as the Ice Tigers advanced to the semifinals against Eisbaren Berlin.

Stefan Elliott, D, HV71 [SHL]

Elliott, the other indefinitely-owned former RFA in the organization, had a decent season for HV71. At this point, it seems his career has plateaued. Lucky for a CBA nerd like myself, he has given me something to research. Since he now plays in a league that has a transfer agreement with the NHL, I’m curious if the Preds’ ownership of his rights goes from indefinite (like Aronson and, potentially, Scott Valentine [a story for another post]), to that of the standard SHL rule. I’ll get back to you all with my findings.

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

Aktell is another interesting story. I think he really picked up right where he left off when he came back from injury in January, and I’m curious if a contract is on the horizon. When picturing the Admirals defense next season I see: Lyytinen, Dougherty, Carrier, Allard, potentially Fabbro, and Oligny and Pinkston most likely. I see Granberg and Ramage moving on, so maybe there is room for Aktell - even if it's in the ECHL.

Karel Vejmelka, G, HC Kometa Brno/ HK Dukla Jihlava [Czech]/ SK Horacka [Czech 2]

I’ve made a lot of noise about Vejmelka this season after giving Volkov priority over him last summer. Yet, here we are again. Vejmelka is done for the year and Volkov is dominating the MHL playoffs. Why can’t I get anything right? Vejmelka is on my list of three players to follow this summer, along with Fabbro and Aktell.

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

Volkov has firmly proven he is above MHL competition in my opinion. The problem is that he might be third or fourth on SKA Neva’s (of the VHL) depth chart behind Nikita Bogdanov, Alexey Melnichuk, and potentially Nikita Lysenkov (who started 38 games for 1946 this season but played poorly in one playoff showing). The good news is that the parent club could be looking for an injection of youth. SKA’s backup, Mikko Koskinen, is not signed for next year and the Rangers could have plans for their ace Igor Shestyorkin. I anticipate Volkov will have a massively increased role next season in the SKA organization.

Milwaukee Admirals

The Admirals posted a strong 9-5-0 record in the month of March to keep themselves in the playoff hunt - even if by just a thread. It’s fair to say the team has underperformed often this season and has had severe growing pains as a young group. Although the chase for the playoffs will provide exciting hockey in their final seven outings, I would be shocked to see this team squeak in.

This summer is an excellent opportunity to completely audit the Admirals and start fresh, but I doubt that will happen. The organization will probably rely on younger players stepping up after a wake-up call this season.

In other news, the Admirals have reportedly signed forward Zeb Knutson to an amateur try-out contract. Knutson recently finished his collegiate career at Minnesota State University at Mankato. He posted 88 points in 127 NCAA games including 43 points in 40 games this season.

ECHL Notes

Not much going on here. I’m curious if the Preds add an affiliation this summer. The Admirals have done fine loaning a couple players around the league, but there will be a new squad entering the ECHL, the Maine Mariners, so maybe that’s an opportunity. Admittedly, though, the organization might not feel the need too with plenty of room in Milwaukee to potentially add contracts.

And yes, Matt O’Connor is still bad. He has remarkably posted an above-3.00 goals-against average with five different teams this season. That is all.

All statistics are courtesy of eliteprospects.com.