Thanks for joining us for our August 31-in-31 series! Every day this month we will be taking a look at each team and diving into their prospect depth charts, risers and fallers, graduating prospects, and top ten prospects in the system.
The Predators had a very quiet NHL Entry Draft because they only had a total of four draft choices, and their highest pick was 111th overall. Safe to say this draft won’t be a game-changer for them. You can read a more detailed review of their draft from here: Nashville Predators 2018 Draft Review and Development Camp Updates
On August 14th, the Predators signed defenseman Ryan Ellis to an eight-year contract with average annual value of $6,250,000. Ellis will be 36 years old when this contract expires, so it’s not a terrible idea to give him that full eight-year term. Ellis scored 32 points in just 44 games last season, and it’s not unreasonable to think he could score 50 points this season if he stays healthy. He’s a reliable two-way defenseman who can play important minutes, and he’s also a leader on that team. That might seem like a lot of money but it seems like a reasonable contract all things considered.
Juuse Saros – Played a few games in the AHL to avoid rust but spent most of the year in the NHL and got to play 26 games during the regular season and another four games during the playoffs, and his results were amazing. Saros was recently signed to three-year extension, and he’s a lock for the NHL roster now. He could get about 30 games this season to keep Pekka Rinne fresh for the playoffs.
Eeli Tolvanen – Made his NHL debut late in the season after a great rookie season in the KHL. He can’t go back to the KHL after signing an NHL contract but he does have a European assignment clause in his contract which means he can return to Europe if the Predators assign him to the AHL, so it’s very likely he’s sticking at the NHL level this season.
Frédérick Gaudreau – The Predators gave him a three-year contract last summer, and he’s eligible for waivers now. They clearly like him and don’t want to lose him, so a bottom-six job is there for him if he’s ready for it. But nothing will be given to him, he needs to earn his spot.
Eeli Tolvanen – Somehow fell all the way to 30th overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft but had a historically good season in the KHL as an 18-year-old. Would go much higher in a re-draft. Might be a bit buried right now but I wouldn’t bet against him. Potential Rookie of the Year candidate.
Patrick Harper – Was drafted in the 5th round in 2016 but has scored 58 points in 58 games over the past two seasons at Boston University. He’s staying in college for ano