Day 4 of 2017 Nashville Predators Rookie Development Camp saw the return of on-ice sessions at Centennial Sportsplex. The prospects were split into two sessions today between defensemen and forwards. Each session had a rather clear focus on high level skating.
The defensemen took part in the day’s first session. Dante Fabbro made his first appearance here this week. He had been finishing up classes prior to making it to Development Camp. Considering the emphasis today on skating it didn’t seem like Fabbro missed much of a beat. He ran drills very well and uncorked a hammer of a shot at times.
Someone who continues to impress me this week is Jack Dougherty. He does have an experience edge on some of those he is with but it’s clear he is using that in a leadership role, as well. Around all the skill and skating drills I’ve noticed Dougherty always talking with the group and keeping things light. It’s an area a few of the first-year Admirals have been pushing themselves toward with Alex Carrier and Anthony Richard both being active as leaders around this crop of prospects.
Speaking of Richard: today he was selected to wear the gold helmet and to lead the forward group to the ice to start their practice session. Carrier on Day 1. Tyler Moy on Day 2. And now Richard on Day 4. Not too shabby, Admirals.
The forwards ran a rather similar style practice. It was -again- very skating oriented with angles off the wings to shoot on net, deflection drills, and there were some variations in skating end-to-end.
It’s getting hard to not mention how good Eeli Tolvanen and Grant Mismash can shoot. Both have a quick release but pack a punch to their shot. Mismash has especially looked good. I feel like Mismash, who already has an NHL ready name, has all the tools to be a really good NHL player. When Mismash heads to the University of North Dakota in the Fall I feel like he’ll be in a great place to test his skill set.
As for Tolvanen’s future? It is still a little unclear but, whether he does go to Jokerit (KHL) or happens upon the AHL scene, I think he’ll be in for a welcome challenge to push him to be more than simply a sniper. No matter what happens there: Tolvanen is an 18-year old with a high ceiling. I’m excited to see if he can hit it. That shot will take him a long way.
Someone else who looks particularly good, all around, is Patrick Harper. He might not be the tallest of skaters you’ll see -but- we are seeing more and more players of his cut playing in the NHL provided they have the speed and work rate to stick. He likely isn’t any sort of a long-term fit for center and that’s why it made sense at Boston University for him to move to the wing. It worked rather well, too. He scored 37 points (13 goals, 24 assists) in 38 games during his first collegiate season. He will turn 19-years old next month. For some reason I keep seeing a lot of Brendan Leipsic‘s ability in Harper. Both are very crafty on the puck.
Earlier in the week I spoke with Karel Vejmelka. Today I decided to speak with the -other- Czech goaltender in camp this week, Tomáš Vomáčka. I must say, similar to Tolvanen, it is very impressive seeing -not just a player- but a kid come all the way over from Europe to North America to get a jump start on a potential NHL career. The language barrier isn’t as harsh. The smaller rinks and style of game isn’t as much of a question mark. And I see a lot of confidence in Vomáčka’s game already with tracking shots and rebound placement. The two Czech goalies have impressed me a ton this week.
Interviews today were spaces out across the two sessions. We did get some familiars but also caught up with a few others that should be on everyone’s radar. Here were the interviews from Day 4 at Centennial Sportsplex.
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