Predators News & Rumors: Admirals Are Back, Draft Position & the Future

Welcome to a new edition of Nashville Predators News & Rumors here at The Hockey Writers! I’m going to be going over the minor leagues very quickly at the start because our beloved Milwaukee Admirals are back. Next, the NHL Entry Draft positions through pick 27 were announced, which means the Predators pick is in. Finally, more interesting quotes from David Poile about the state of the franchise and players that were on the roster this season.

The Admirals Have Returned

COVID-19 did numbers on the sports world. It shut down entire leagues in two separate seasons and put a lot of hardworking people out of jobs. In the AHL this past season, teams were given the option to opt out of the season if they wanted to, and the Admirals did just that.

There were a lot of consequences this action caused, and they weren’t all necessarily bad. While I didn’t enjoy watching Philip Tomasino among other prospects be in Chicago Wolves colors instead of Admirals colors, it was really interesting to see him put with Carolina Hurricanes prospects like Seth Jarvis. They were at one point a top point-scoring duo in the entire AHL. It provided all of us an interesting opportunity to watch something we hadn’t seen up to that point. Not once did I ever think I would see an AHL team drop out of the season and different prospects from teams in the same division have to play with each other.

Philip Tomasino Predators Draft
Philip Tomasino, Nashville Predators, 2019 NHL Draft (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The good news for both Predators fans and Milwaukee hockey fans, the team announced they’re coming back for next season! While we may not get to see Tomasino in Admirals colors, it will be good to see light blue and navy back on the ice again. Not to mention, we get to hear more from the wonderful social media team, which brings another awesome aspect to the team coming back.

2021 NHL Entry Draft First-Round Pick

With the NHL playoffs beginning to wind down, the draft is edging nearer and nearer. Teams are getting eliminated, and that means draft positions are becoming more and more clear. In an interesting draft year, picking later in the first round might not be a bad thing. As the field thins out, the picks become less blurry. Any prospect that goes in the mid-first round could become a great player if their skills are utilized correctly.

Related: 2021 NHL Entry Draft Guide

The Predators are picking 18th overall in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. I’m not sure what that means for their targets, or if that changes their position in the draft at all, but it is possible that they get a good player at that spot. If David Poile plays his cards right, he could pick a large contributor towards the organization’s future.

The Future Runs Through 2

Poile and head coach John Hynes had great things to say about the future of the franchise and two specific players. Eeli Tolvanen and Dante Fabbro were the two heavily complimented players.

“He’s a very motivated player. When you look at the way he handled the situation as a teammate and a guy in the playoffs, he understood he needed to be better in [certain] areas. He’s gone home here with a clear plan of what he needs to work on, and he’s leaving here a very motivated guy. If he gets better in those areas, and he follows the plan and puts in some hard work in the summer, he’s going to come in and he’s going to be a guy that we can rely on, and he’s going to continue to be an important part of our organization and our team.”

John Hynes on Dante Fabbro

“It’s been a steady progression for him to get back up to what we call ‘NHL ready,’ and finally we felt he was ready, we gave him a chance and he did a great job for us. [He contributed] mostly on the power play, which was huge because [if there was] anything that was needed, that was probably it. He looks like he could be an elite player on the power play with his shot and his ability to score goals, which are very much [needed].”

David Poile on Eeli Tolvanen

Both Fabbro and Tolvanen contributed in their own ways this season. They had their ups and downs, as most young NHLers do, but overall their seasons were solid. Fabbro was leading the Predators in the total value analytics like goals above replacement (GAR) and expected goals above replacement (xGAR) that can be found on Evolving-Hockey and TopDownHockey. Tolvanen shot himself up the leaderboard in both of the stats thanks to great defense and being a strong and steady power-play presence.

Dante Fabbro Nashville Predators
Dante Fabbro, Nashville Predators (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Fabbro was sat in the playoffs despite being completely healthy, which was a shock to most Predators fans and media members alike. Tolvanen was in the press box to begin the playoffs, too, but he was eventually put in the lineup to try and help fix the dreadful power play. He looked pedestrian most of the time, and it reflected in his analytics, but his bad playoffs shouldn’t take away from his excellent season. Had he not gotten hurt, there definitely could have been a mention in the Calder Trophy talks.

As for Fabbro, he looked considerably better this season than he did the season prior. His mistakes were still glaring, but his offensive contributions were better. He still has some room to improve in a lot of areas, but there’s no reason to doubt him just yet. It’s important to remember that Fabbro was thrown into a top-four role that required filling P.K. Subban‘s shoes. He got no time to practice or prepare for the big show in the minors, which has clearly put him at a disadvantage. I would expect to see some more improvement from him in the upcoming years.

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