The future of the Nashville Predators was on display at Ford Ice Center Bellevue on Thursday morning.
Team gold won the exhibition contest 2-1 with goals from Joey Larson (invite) and Austin Roest (No. 175 overall, 2023). Joey Willis (No. 111th overall, 2023) scored late for team blue with two minutes to play, but it wasn’t enough before the five-round shootout concluded development camp.
Congrats, Tanner! pic.twitter.com/mlHBfqIMfs
— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) July 6, 2023
Molendyk showcased his slick skating ability, looking like the best skater on the ice next to some of the forwards. He disclosed that he knew he was signing his deal three days before Thursday’s future stars game.
“I knew it was coming,” he said. “It was pretty exciting.”
The 5-foot-11 defender stopped on a dime when he was cornered on offensive chances or when jumping up to join plays. His seamless ability to maneuver around skaters was the most prevalent part of his style of play.
“[I’m] not the biggest guy, but I think it’s just finding the little things that help,” Molendyk said. “This is one of the best week’s I’ve had; I had a lot of fun, I had a lot of support systems everywhere and used them to my advantage to get better this week.”
Molendyk showed strong positioning throughout the game as well, and the gold team coaching staff threw him out there for the last shootout of the day too.
“I got a call from my parents last night and then I got a call from my agent kind of at the same time, and thought something weird was going on,” Lind said. “I knew a little bit about Molendyk (signing his ELC). He was one of my first texts after my siblings.”
Lind’s unofficial debut in front of fans was memorable as he laid some big hits and hunted loose pucks when he was out on the ice.
“It’s all progression,” he said. “If you’re going to start at a young age you’re not going to be at the NHL level. You’ve got to learn some ways of the road and some of the bumps and the coaches talking about their stories and some of the players. You know it’s going to be a long route, it’s going to be a hard route, but I’m accepting to take the challenge.”
Follow Nick Kieser on Twitter: @KieserNick
(Photo of Tanner Molendyk via Nashville Hockey Now)