As the Nashville Predators are set to kick off training camp on Wednesday the rookies had more business to attend to on Monday morning.
Nashville fell in their third consecutive showcase game to the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 to conclude the Southeast Rookie Showcase in Estero, Flordia.
Forwards Jack O’Brien and Austin Roest got on the board but the game got started on an own goal as defenseman Dylan MacKinnon shot a puck off of Vasily Ponomarev’s leg. Goaltender Yaroslav Askarov didn’t see it coming as his defenseman tried to break the puck out of the defensive zone.
Following the first intermission assistant general manager Scott Nichol joined the broadcast crew on the live stream for an interview. Nichol shed some light on the Predators’ prospects.
“I think the nerves are kind of settled in a little bit,” Nichol said. “We haven’t really been in this spot before we have six first-round picks playing, we have a couple of second-round picks. As an organization, it’s very exciting to watch.”
The attention turns to the Ford Ice Center in Bellevue as the organization goes through training camp ahead of the 2023-24 season.
Head coach Andrew Brunette will take the ice for his first training camp alongside his staff, including Derek MacKenzie who was hired as a new assistant coach in place of Dan Lambert.
Away from the spotlight of the showcase in Florida, the Predators have a prospect who was most recently named co-captain of his collegiate team last week.
Defenseman Ryan Ufko, drafted in the fourth round of the 2021 NHL Draft, was named one of two captains for the University of Massachusetts Amherst going into his junior season. Odds are he is one of Nashville’s additions to the Milwaukee Admirals at the end of his college season, depending on how Nashville views the defender’s development.
Around the NHL and National Hockey Now
Columbus Blue Jackets: Before he could even get his first training camp underway with the Columbus Blue Jackets Mike Babcock resigned from his position as head coach. As it was discussed on the Spittin Chiclets podcast last week Babcock requested to see photos on his player’s phones and share them via AirPlay on a screen in his office. After investigation, the NHL and the Blue Jackets saw fit to have Babock resign his position, he was hired back on July 1.
Pascal Vincent has been named the new head coach going into training camp this week. Vincent has been an associate coach for the Blue Jackets since 2021 and now has his first crack at leading a team behind the bench as a head coach.
Boston Hockey Now: The Boston Bruins are still in need of a captain going into the season and it very well could be forward Brad Marchand. He would be the 21st captain if he is named the leader, the 35-year-old is going into his 15th season as only a member of the Bruins. Ahead of the centennial season, the Bruins unveiled their special jerseys over the weekend paying homage to their early playing days.
Chicago Hockey Now: No surprise that No. 1 overall pick Connor Bedard was the biggest prospect at the Tom Kurvers Showcase the last few days. The forward netted a hat trick and he wasn’t the lone prospect flashing their skills in a Blackhawks uniform. What were some main takeaways from Chicago’s showcase before going into training camp?