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Nashville Predators’ Top 25 Under 25: #11 Yakov Trenin

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The Russian has had a busy year - let’s see what becomes of it.

NHL: Preseason-Florida Panthers at Nashville Predators Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

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, 2018).

So sorry for the delay everyone - life got in the way for a bit. But, nevertheless, here’s #11!

Once as highly-touted a prospect as Vladislav Kamenev, Yakov Trenin has endured a bumpy road in the Nashville organization. After finishing his junior career with above-average but not great numbers, Trenin had a disappointing rookie season in the AHL that was plagued by injury, line shuffling, and much inconsistency. He still has great potential, but all eyes will be on him in Milwaukee this year.

By The Numbers

For my money, I still think Trenin is the best center prospect in the pipeline. He may not be the most talented, but he likely has the best chance of being a regular NHLer as of now. He missed 40 games this past season due to a scary collar bone issue, and the rest of his season saw several healthy scratches and inconsistent spots in a poor Admirals’ lineup.

So, our sample size for his production is not fantastic. Regardless, there are some positive notes on Trenin’s game from last season. As seen below, he was second among forwards (behind only Gaudreau) in Goals-For % and Relative Goals-For % with 52.78% and 11.56%, respectively.

Trenin’s 2017-18 GF/60 v. GA/60
@CudmoreColin

Trenin’s biggest issue appears to be shooting. He took 75 shots on net last season which is bad but a tad misleading; that amounts to an okay 1.70 shots-per-game. But, he had an abysmal 6.67 shooting percentage. A key to improving his numbers this season will be relying more on shots from the low slot where he made a killing in junior hockey.

The Eye-Test

I like the clip above because it displays how much of a nuisance Trenin can be with a head of steam in the offensive zone. He won’t wow you with a snapshot like Tolvanen, but he can be hard to stop when he gets his feet moving and can display quick transitions and agility at times.

Above we see Trenin make an excellent but simple play to keep the puck in and then head immediately for open ice. He doesn’t automatically park himself in the slot, but instead finds open space between the puck and the goalie and is rewarded. These are the type of goals Trenin is going to feature most often on.

An area of his offensive instinct that could use some work is deciding between crashing the net or opening up for a potential shot as the second or third forward. He’s not in great position for either in the clip above. More attention on this positioning or more time at center will help increase his production.

He reminds me of the Preds’ top pick this past summer Joachym Kondelik in a sense: good hands and awareness, ability to move all over the lineup (and help the penalty kill and power play), but an awkward stride and okay quickness.

Contractual Obligations

Trenin is entering the second year of his entry-level contract that slid two years. He will make $70K in the AHL with a $730.8K cap hit in the NHL. Upon expiry in 2020, he will be a restricted free agent.

Future Projection

It’s important to remember that Trenin is only 21 and has played less than 50 pro games in his career. As mentioned above, if he can stand out in certain offensive categories, I like his chances. But, if he remains dull, my concern will grow.

Corey Pronman writes:

Trenin has gotten a little banged up the fast few years, but when he’s healthy, he looks like a fine two-way center with the potential to play in a bottom six.

All statistics are courtesy of eliteprospects.com. All contract information is courtesy of capfriendly.com.