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2019 Nashville Predators Prospect Rankings: #15 — #11

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The defenders issue.

COLLEGE HOCKEY: MAR 22 Hockey East Championship - Boston College v UMASS Photo by Michael Tureski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Before moving forward with players #15 through #11, take a moment to review who I’ve covered to date. The introduction linked below explains my methodology (crafting a relationship between my scouting, my thoughts on each player’s ceiling, and my metric created to capture their on-ice success in 2018-19 paired with their previous results) for these rankings and what I’m looking to uncover over the next couple of weeks. After that, you can see which players came in from #25 through #16:

2019 Nashville Predators Prospect Rankings: An Introduction

2019 Nashville Predators Prospect Rankings: #25 — #21

2019 Nashville Predators Prospect Rankings: #20 — #16

In response to my rankings released so far, Tomas Vomacka received the most love for deserving a higher slot and it seems everyone isn’t as high on Zach Magwood:

That is about what I expected, and I generally agree. Vomacka, in theory, should come in much higher, but he had a tough season adjusting to the NCAA. I’m fairly confident that won’t be an issue in 2019-20. Magwood, on the other hand, was a bit of a swing for me; I’m curious to watch his development in Milwaukee this year.

Below you will find a brief breakdown of the next five prospects as I climb up towards #1.


#15: David Farrance - D - 20

Farrance had a good sophomore campaign that was overshadowed by a dreadful Boston Terriers team. But with 20 points on the year, he was tied for second in scoring by defenders behind Dante Fabbro.

As the best defender coming back to the squad, Farrance will be counted on for top-pair minutes at even strength and on special teams, and it’s a workload that could boost his standing on this list should he handle it well.

...

Year Team League GP G A PTS PIM
Year Team League GP G A PTS PIM
2016-17 U.S. NTDP USHL 64 7 30 37 38
2017-18 Boston University NCAA 31 3 6 9 12
2018-19 Boston University NCAA 37 4 16 20 19

Farrance is an excellent skater who is extremely gifted offensively (so much so he spent time at forward his freshman year). His shooting is underrated, and he is often accurate with his wrist shot. 2019-20 will be a consequential season for him as he looks to improve his defense, specifically pivoting better and forcing attackers outside the dots.

He received boosts for his primary point share, low amount of penalty minutes, and better-than-expected goals-against per 60 mark (although it’s not as surprising in a lower-scoring conference).

#14: Brandon Fortunato - D - 23

If you asked me to compose a list of the prospects I’m most curious about in 2019-20, Fortunato might top the list. He's recovering from a broken fibula suffered while having an elite season at Quinnipiac; I’m fascinated to see how he fits in on the Milwaukee blue line.

At 23, he has little time left to properly develop (he sat out a transfer year in college), but was scoring at over a point-per-game pace before suffering his injury in January. His collegiate career before that was curious but the scoring pedigree was on display during his first two seasons at BU.

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Year Team League GP G A PTS PIM
Year Team League GP G A PTS PIM
2013-14 U.S. NTDP USHL 61 3 34 37 14
2014-15 Boston University NCAA 41 1 17 18 0
2015-16 Boston University NCAA 38 5 17 22 6
2017-18 Quinnipiac University NCAA 37 5 3 8 16
2018-19 Quinnipiac University NCAA 26 5 23 28 2

I’m uncertain of his timetable for return, but when he returns to the lineup, Fortunato could be an unmatched addition to Milwaukee’s power play. He has good control of his edges and very smooth hands. He often uses an elusive wrist shot to his advantage, creating rebounds and drawing defenders out of position as he floats into the slot.

My model likes Fortunato; it really, really likes him. It likes him so much that he was often the watermark I used to fine tune things and get a more accurate output. His scoring rate was outrageous and 20 of those 28 points were primary ones. It also helps that he took only one penalty and was elite defensively, too.

#13: Yakov Trenin - W - 22

Those of you who are site regulars know I’ve been beating the drum for Trenin for some time. After a disappointing freshman AHL season capped off with a broken collarbone, Trenin impressed me with his bounce-back 2018-19 season.

He may be a notch behind the development curve at this point, but 14 goals and 33 points is as much as we could have hoped for - especially considering the mind-numbing moves to keep him buried down the lineup at times.

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Year Team League GP G A PTS PIM
Year Team League GP G A PTS PIM
2014-15 Gatineau Olympiques QMJHL 58 18 49 67 34
2015-16 Gatineau Olympiques QMJHL 57 26 35 61 56
2016-17 Gatineau Olympiques QMJHL 54 30 37 67 84
2017-18 Milwaukee Admirals AHL 44 5 11 16 16
2018-19 Milwaukee Admirals AHL 74 14 19 33 39

Trenin is such a powerful skater and you saw often this past season what happens when his game becomes more holistic in the offensive zone: he can control the cycle, power to the net with possession, and find open time and space for well-placed shots.

Trenin, of course, didn’t lead Milwaukee in scoring or anything, but get this: a staggering 28 of his points were primary ones, only two of his goals weren’t scored at even strength, and he had one of the best goals-for rates relative to his teammates in the entire AHL at 22.4% - all while playing middle-six minutes.

#12: Marc Del Gaizo - D - 19

Marc Del Gaizo is a fascinating addition to a busy off-season for prospects in the organization. A defender drafted after his freshman season in the NCAA, he had the pleasure of playing with standout Cale Makar at UMass Amherst and impressed on his own with 13 goals and 29 points in 41 games as UMass fell in the 2019 NCAA Ice Hockey Championship Game.

He led all freshman defenders in scoring and was 18th among those of all classes in the country. His shooting rate was a tad inflated, but I anticipate he’ll register over 100 shots on net this upcoming season.

...

Year Team League GP G A PTS 48
Year Team League GP G A PTS 48
2016-17 Muskegon Lumberjacks USHL 58 3 20 23 51
2017-18 Muskegon Lumberjacks USHL 59 12 26 38 69
2018-19 UMass (Amherst) NCAA 41 13 16 29 26

Del Gaizo comes with good puck protection skills and a low, hard shot that precludes the opposition from clearing rebounds. His acceleration isn’t the greatest, and he likes to use his hands a lot when engaging physically. But, I’m curious to see how he stands out as the top horse for the Minutemen with Makar off to Colorado.

Almost half of his goals were scored on the power play, which is something to note, but he was a rock defensively and my model rewarded him for that along with his top-notch offensive production.

#11: Jeremy Davies - D - 22

I’m sure the wound is still fresh with many of you, but I’m here, once again, to report that Jeremy Davies is no slouch of a consolation prize. The horrendous trade aside, Davies is an impressive prospect who has helped completely revitalize this prospect pool.

Over three years at Northeastern, Davies was close to a point-per-game player and finished sixth among all defenders in the country in scoring in 2018-19. Davies served guarantees when it came to exiting and entering the zone with the puck, outpacing the NCAA average by a significant margin in both categories per J.D. Burke.

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Year Team League GP G A PTS 48
Year Team League GP G A PTS 48
2015-16 Bloomington Thunder USHL 60 13 36 49 48
2016-17 Northeastern University NCAA 38 8 15 23 38
2017-18 Northeastern University NCAA 36 6 29 35 39
2018-19 Northeastern University NCAA 37 8 28 36 41

Davies is a top-notch skater with flawless technique; it allows him to cruise up the ice with absolute ease. He maintains good puck control and is certain to outplay the opposition in the neutral zone nearly every shift.

Despite some hiccups defensively, he was an elite offensive producer this season and my model rewarded him for that. I can imagine a smooth transition to Milwaukee and potentially a small stint in Nashville in 2019-20 pending any injuries.


All statistics are courtesy of eliteprospects.com