The Nashville Predators have officially set their Opening Night roster. In the process the Predators assigned both Frédérick Gaudreau and Vladislav Kamenev to the Milwaukee Admirals. The Predators start their season Thursday night on the road against the Boston Bruins. The Admirals open of their season on the road this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, against the Iowa Wild.
Gaudreau’s story has been a special one to sit back and watch develop here in Milwaukee. It’s likely a story that won’t get old to keep hearing or seeing progress. While the 24-year old might not be starting his 2017-18 season off in the NHL he did sign a three-year contract with the Predators following his excellent 2016-17 season in the AHL with the Admirals that carried on into the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Finals. So, Gaudreau might not start this season where last left off – but I’d suspect he is a prime candidate to return to the Predators forward mix when that group needs the boost.
Kamenev’s recent pre-season run with the Predators wasn’t lacking for opportunities. He was very much placed in positions to succeed and see how he would handle a big opportunity alongside the likes of Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson. Still, the now 21-year old Russian is embarking on his third season of professional hockey in North America. His debut season in 2015-16 saw a solid learning curve met head on. His sophomore season was even better: 51 points (21 goals, 30 assists) in 70 games with the Admirals. This also saw him climb up to make his NHL debut for the Predators last season. He played twice in the NHL in 2016-17. I suspect that will be increased in 2017-18.
Another news item found within the Predators solidifying their Opening Night roster is that 19-year old defenseman Samuel Girard made the team. There is still a chance that Girard could return to his major junior team, Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL), but -for right now- it seems the Predators are content with keeping him in the mix. Girard made his professional debut last season as a member of the Admirals and scored his first pro goal against the Rockford IceHogs on 4/14/17.
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