2019 Nashville Predators Prospect Rankings: The Wingers

Nashville is betting on a few recent pick-ups to re-energize the pipeline.

Last week I highlighted who I believe are Nashville’s top 25 prospects heading into the 2019-20 season. This was a list constructed from a few categories: my own scouting, my belief in each prospect’s potential and closeness to the NHL, and the model that I built to measure on-ice success relative to age and league. You can explore those rankings at the link below:

2019 Top 25 Prospects

There were moments in those rankings where a prospect’s position differed from the output that my model created. So, I want to break down the pipeline by position to explore further what said model found. In my introduction for this series (found here), I noted that this model will include all players in the organization outside of Nashville, regardless of age or contract status. As such, players like Matt Donovan (veteran) or Hunter Garlent (AHL contract) are included.

This week, I am covering prospects position-by-position. You can follow the links below to read about the goalies and defenders:

2019 Nashville Predators Prospect Rankings: The Goalies

2019 Nashville Predators Prospect Rankings: The Defenders

Below I’ll move forward with the wingers in the organization. As skaters, here are the measurements that were taken into account for this model:

GPgames played in their primary league in 2018-19
P1goals and primary assists
Shotsshots on goal
Ggoals in all situations
ST Goalspower play and shorthanded goals
PIMpenalty minutes
GA/60measured only for defenders; goals scored while that player is on the ice relative to 60 minutes
Rel GF%measured only for forwards; the rate at which goals-for are scored when that player is on the ice versus when they are not
Line 'x'this is a multiplier used to consider a player’s ice time and how that values their production
Prob. Makea prospect’s probability to make the NHL based on production and success of cohorts (similar ages, leagues, production, etc.). This rate was constructed by Manny Perry
Proj. WAR/82a prospect’s projected wins-above-replacement value over 82 games in the NHL. This rate, constructed by Manny Perry, assumes the player has made the NHL full-time
Proj. WAR%how a prospect’s projected WAR/82 has increased or decreased since entering the organization
NHLethe rate at which players scoring in various leagues would continue over 82 NHL games (i.e. 1 point in the KHL is equivalent to 0.7461 points in the NHL). The most up to date measurements can be found here courtesy of Manny Perry

Eeli Tolvanen - 12.648

Milwaukee Admirals [AHL]

It’s no surprise that Tolvanen tops this list, but the first few iterations of my model had trouble rating him, in my opinion. His 25 primary points last season are fifth among returning forwards, but he is third in that group in goals with 15. What my model was able to latch onto was Tolvanen leading Milwaukee in shots (156)—having a deflated shooting percentage as a result—and his lack of dependency on power play scoring.

As everyone hopes, I anticipate his counting stats will rise next season, and as a result he will grade out as a better driver of possession for the Admirals in 2019-20.

Josh Wilkins - 12.235

Milwaukee Admirals [AHL]

Wilkins was an elite scorer nationwide in the NCAA last season with 34 primary points in 40 games and 20 goals, too. Eight of those came on the power play, which is certainly something to note, but he was one of the country’s top teams’ best offensive player and was constantly pushing play north when on the ice.

I think he could be a dark horse success story in Milwaukee this season.

Yakov Trenin - 11.204

Milwaukee Admirals [AHL]

I’ve beaten the drum for Trenin for too long now, so I’m excited to see what 2019-20 brings for him. He was fourth on the Admirals with 14 goals, nearly all of his assists were primary ones, and he contributed (but not too much) on the power play. What’s most impressive is his 22.4% goals-for rate relative to his teammates, which was near the top of the AHL.

Egor Afanasyev - 10.489

Windsor Spitfires [OHL]

Afanasyev has been lauded as a first-round talent all summer and a big season in Windsor this year could certainly cement that reputation. He was an elite scorer for the Muskegon Lumberjacks last year—shooting over 200 times, connecting for 27 goals and adding on 21 more primary assists. Only four of those 27 goals were on the power play, and he was instrumental in leading the Lumberjacks’ possession efforts.

Isak Walther - 10.248

Sodertalje SK J20 [SuperElit]

Walther was a surprise pick at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft but may turn into a steal. He scored at an absurd rate at the U18 level in Sweden last season with nearly a primary point per game (31 in 35). Additionally, he shoots a lot (136), helps on the power play (8 of his 23 goals were on the man-advantage), and committed just seven penalties.

Sodertalje struggled with team defense last year, but, more importantly, I’m curious to see how he can translate his scoring to the U20 level this season with better skaters around him.

Juuso Parssinen - 8.887

TPS [Liiga]

Parssinen will begin the 2019-20 season nursing an injury remaining out of the pre-season lineup for TPS. Regardless, I’m excited to see how quickly he can adjust to Liiga play and begin scoring at a regular clip. He didn’t rack up many primary assists last season but 13 goals and 115 shots on net is good. Almost all of that scoring was at even-strength, and he was an important scoring driver with middle-six ice time (11.28% Rel GF).

Anthony Richard - 8.705

Milwaukee Admirals [AHL]

I was initially surprised that Richard didn’t grade higher in my model, and, I’ll admit, I’m still not completely happy with how he measures out. After all, he led the Admirals in scoring with 24 goals and 38 primary points. Additionally, he shot just three less times than Eeli Tolvanen and scored regularly on the power play (and added one shorthanded).

He’s shortchanged by team defense: his top line assignments resulted in a -0.2% goals for rate, but I anticipate this season will be more kind to him in that regard. He’s close to NHL-ready.

Zach Magwood - 8.429

Milwaukee Admirals [AHL]

Magwood had similar, albeit smaller, counting stats to Tanner Jeannot, but, as I profiled in his top-25 entry, he was a wunderkind at driving play for the bottom-six with a 13.7% goals-for rate relative to his teammates (good for second on the Admirals). That and his disciplined play render him a potential hidden gem for the third and fourth lines.

With more shot attempts and increased ice time this season, I think Magwood could have a breakout season.

Patrick Harper - 8.123

Boston University [NCAA]

Harper endured a tough season after recovering from a respiratory illness and couldn’t jump start a struggling and inconsistent Terriers team. His 15 primary points aren’t anything to write home about for someone who should lead this team in scoring, but his shooting rates were down, and he was still helpful in driving possession for Boston with a 14.90% goals-for rate.

Tanner Jeannot - 7.212

Milwaukee Admirals [AHL]

Jeannot had a quiet season playing bottom-six minutes for the Admirals in his first professional season. He outscored Magwood by a slim margin in goals and primary points with a similar number of shots.

I don’t anticipate his on-ice results or role will change that much in 2019-20.

Grant Mismash - 6.750

University of North Dakota [NCAA]

Mismash, like Harper, had a tough, injury-riddled season that saw his offensive production decrease drastically for the Fighting Hawks. Eight primary points is not what we should expect out of the second-round pick, so this upcoming season will be incredibly consequential for his stock.

Surprisingly, he accrued just 27 penalty minutes on the season and was a positive driver of scoring with a 7.82% relative goals-for rate.

Lukas Craggs - 4.039

Milwaukee Admirals [AHL]

My colleague Bobby thinks Craggs has the greatest potential to shoot up this list, and I may agree. He produced a good scoring rate - 19 primary points - and 13 goals (with just one on the man-advantage) is certainly something to take note of.

Unfortunately, the 120 penalty minutes drags him down significantly. Bobby hopes separation from his brother will force him to improve in that department in 2019-20.

Mathieu Olivier - 2.293

Milwaukee Admirals [AHL]

Olivier, maybe inexplicably, earned an NHL contract last season, but will likely be Milwaukee’s worst regular forward this season. His four goals on the season, 91 penalty minutes, and -0.9 goals-for rate relative to his teammates are all valid reasons why he’s at the bottom of this list.

All statistics are courtesy of eliteprospects.com, pick224.com, theahl.com, echl.com, whl.ca, engmhl.khl.ru, hockeyallsvenskan.se, and ncca.com.