Nashville Predators Top 10 Prospects: 2024 Offseason - The Hockey Writers Predators Prospects Latest News, Analysis & More (2024)

The Nashville Predators had an aggressive 2024 Entry Draft that saw the team make six selections in the top 100. In addition to these picks, they have made six first-round picks in the past four drafts, helping build up a prospect pool filled with top-end talent and impressive depth.

Honorable Mentions: Viggo Gustafsson, Andrew Gibson, Semyon Chistyakov, Miguel Marques, Reid Schaefer, Kalan Lind, and Felix Nilsson

10. Aidan Fink, 19 Years Old (RW)

Aidan Fink was selected 218th overall by the Predators in the 2023 Draft due to a lack of experience in a premier junior league. He joined Penn State University for the 2023-24 season and dominated, leading the team in goals (15) and points (34) in 34 games. He is not the fastest skater, but he has elusive edges, allowing him to skate circles around defenders for premier positioning. He also has a precise wrist shot that allows him to put it past goalies from anywhere on the ice.

Related: What If O’Reilly Had Convinced Predators to Trade for Marner?

Projecting Fink’s career is difficult given his late-round draft status, but he is likely to spend all four of his eligible seasons at Penn State before turning professional. Nashville has a deep prospect pool so it may be hard for him to break through at the NHL level, so he could be used as trade bait down the line. Regardless of where he plays, he projects to be a bottom-six winger who can contribute north of 10 goals and 35 points if his development continues.

9. Zachary L’Heureux, 21 Years Old (LW/C)

Zachary L’Heureux was selected 27th overall by the Predators in the 2021 Draft. Seeing him this low may be a shock to fans, but it is truly a testament to the team’s deep prospect pool. The Montreal native had 19 goals and 48 points in 66 games for the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League (AHL) during his first professional season. He proceeded to score 10 goals and five assists in 15 playoff games, too.

While drafted before general manager Barry Trotz joined the team, L’Heureux is the exact type of player Trotz loves. He is not afraid to get physical and likes to get under his opponent’s skin. He has a strong shot but also finds goals through scrums from around the net. He is likely to fight for an NHL spot this coming training camp and preseason, although a midseason call-up seems like a more likely time for him to make his NHL debut. He projects to be a 20-plus goal scorer if his development continues.

8. Ryan Ufko, 21 Years Old (RD)

Ryan Ufko was selected 115th overall by the Predators in the 2021 Draft and has impressed in his young career. The defenseman has spent the past three seasons at the University of Massachusetts, including this past season as team captain. He had 23 goals and 81 points in 106 games before electing to sign with the Admirals. He had a goal and five assists in nine regular-season games as well as a goal and nine assists in 15 playoff games with the team last season.

Ufko is on the smaller side, standing just 5-foot-10, but is very skilled. He is a strong skater who leads the forecheck and backcheck, and his defensive positioning is very impressive. He wins puck battles around the net and is not afraid to throw the body around. He likely needs a season or two in Milwaukee, but his toolset should see him develop into a 35-40 point, top-four defenseman if he continues his development.

7. Feder Svechkov, 21 Years Old (C)

Fedor Svechkov was selected 19th overall by the Predators in the 2021 Draft. He spent his first two seasons in Russia before suiting up for the Admirals last season. He scored 16 goals and 39 points in 57 regular season games, and six goals and 12 points in 15 playoff games. While his point production is slightly below L’Heureux’s, his defensive play is what earns him the higher ranking.

Svechkov’s vision, stickwork, and IQ are second to none in the Predators organization. He reads his opponents very well and is always in the right place at the right time. His defensive skillset is translatable to the NHL, providing him with the floor of a bottom-six center. While his offense impressed last season, he likely needs another season of development but he could be a late-season call-up before the Predators embark on a deep playoff run. If he can continue developing his offensive game, he could become a 25-plus goal, 50-plus point forward in the middle six.

6. Teddy Stiga, 18 Years Old (LW)

Teddy Stiga was selected 55th overall by the Predators in 2024 and was arguably one of the best-value picks in the entire draft. The Massachusetts native developed with the United States National Developmental Program and is committed to Boston College for this coming season.

Stiga is a hard-working winger who will do whatever it takes to win a puck battle. He has a well-rounded toolset, providing offense from all aspects of the game. Regarding his NHL path, he is likely to spend two or three seasons with Boston College before turning professional, so he is unlikely to see the NHL until 2026-27 at the earliest. Once in the NHL, he has the potential to become a 20-plus goal, 60-plus point forward who contributes to the powerplay, and his skill set could lead him to a penalty-killing role if he chooses.

5. Yegor Surin, 17 years old (C)

Yegor Surin was selected 22nd overall by the Predators in the 2024 Draft and immediately bolsters their prospect pool by providing center depth. The 6-foot-1 center is highly competitive and can play all three forward positions. He has strong vision and skating, leads a relentless forecheck, and has the endurance to rack up big minutes.

Surin’s upside is hard to gauge, especially because he is so young, but there is reason to believe he could develop into an impressive second-line center. This coming season will be telling as it is hopeful to be his first true test at the professional level. If he can stay out of the penalty box and elevate his playmaking ability, he will put himself on track to become a 20-plus goal, 60-plus point, two-way forward.

4. Joakim Kemell, 20 years old (RW)

Joakim Kemell was selected 17th overall by the Predators in the 2022 Draft and has progressed very well. He is a smooth-skating winger who contributes offensively at both even strength and the powerplay. He has a high hockey IQ, makes exceptional passes, and positions himself well in the offensive zone.

Like many of Nashville’s prospects, it is hard to predict when he will reach the NHL due to the team’s surplus of NHL talent, but he is deserving of seeing NHL time this season. He had 16 goals and 41 points in 67 games with Milwaukee as a 19-year-old, proving he can score in North America. However, it makes more sense to keep him in the AHL until there is a spot for him in Nashville’s top nine and powerplay. His upside is a 25-30 goal, 65-75 point winger who can lead a line on his own.

3. Tanner Molendyk, 19 years old (LD)

Tanner Molendyk was selected 24th overall by the Predators in the deep 2023 Draft. What kept him from being a top-16 pick was his underwhelming offensive numbers and defensive consistency, but he put both beliefs to bed last season. Not only did he improve his offensive production by scoring 56 points in 50 games for the Saskatoon Blades, but his defensive ability took major strides. He was better positioned, blocked shots, and cleared pucks at a higher rate than the season prior. In a major junior hockey league, he looked like a seasoned NHL veteran, and the Predators may have a future top-pairing defenseman on their hands.

Nashville Predators Top 10 Prospects: 2024 Offseason - The Hockey Writers Predators Prospects Latest News, Analysis & More (1)

Expected to return to the Blades this season, Molendyk should see NHL time in the 2025-26 season. He may begin in Milwaukee to gain professional experience, but it would not take long for him to earn a call-up. He will never be an offensive defenseman, but he could see career highs of 10-plus goals and 55-plus assists while providing quality defense on a top pair.

2. Matthew Wood, 19 years old (LW)

Matthew Wood was selected 15th overall by the Predators in the 2023 Draft and ranks as their second-best prospect despite the decrease in point production. He joined the University of Connecticut Huskies for his draft year, scoring 11 goals and 34 points in 35 games. Then last season his point production decreased to just 28 points in 35 games, although he did have 16 goals. At first glance, it may seem like he regressed, but the caliber of his play did just the opposite.

On a struggling Huskies roster, Wood shined as one of the team’s few NHL-hopeful prospects. It was known he had a great shot, used his body to create leverage, and was consistent, but he took massive strides in his speed and defensive game, two concerns scouts had during his draft year. He is transferring to the University of Minnesota this season, an objectively better program in Men’s college hockey, so he should improve his offensive production.

At this point, Wood does not have much more to prove as a prospect. His game will translate well to the NHL, and he does not need much more time to develop. Following Minnesota’s 2024-25 season, he is likely to sign a professional contract. Whether it be with Milwaukee on an amateur tryout or with the Predators for a playoff run is yet to be determined, but it is hard to imagine he is not in the lineup for Game 1 of the 2025-26 season for the Predators. The sky is the limit for Wood as he has the potential to become a 35-plus goal, 80-plus point producer. It will be interesting to see how he performs this coming season, finally alongside other top NHL talents such as Oliver Moore, Jimmy Snuggerud, and Brodie Ziemer.

1. Yaroslav Askarov, 22 years old (G)

Yaroslav Askarov was selected 11th overall by the Predators in the 2020 Draft and has not disappointed. He has spent the past two seasons in Milwaukee, putting up stellar numbers. In the 2023-24 season, he went 30-13-1 with a 2.39 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage.

Askarov is deserving of playing in the NHL this season, although it is unlikely given the Predators’ commitment to playing Juuse Saros and Scott Wedgewood, who are both signed for multiple more seasons. It will be interesting to see if Askarov remains in Nashville, but regardless of where he is, his upside is a top-five goaltender in the NHL with a Vezina Trophy or two in his trophy case.

The Predators are in such a unique position because they are now Stanley Cup contenders while simultaneously maintaining one of the league’s deepest prospect pools. It will be interesting to see how Trotz utilizes the abundance of prospects at his disposal, whether it be through trade, as depth, or a mix of both. This is a great issue to have and it is an exciting time for Predators fans.

Nashville Predators Top 10 Prospects: 2024 Offseason - The Hockey Writers Predators Prospects Latest News, Analysis & More (2)

Nashville Predators Top 10 Prospects: 2024 Offseason - The Hockey Writers Predators Prospects Latest News, Analysis & More (2024)
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