Tye Felhaber’s journey to Nashville Predators training camp started with a chance back in February as he signed a professional tryout contract with the Milwaukee Admirals.
Before joining the Predators AHL affiliate, he was playing in the ECHL with the Fort Wayne Comets, where he produced 63 points in 51 games.
“With Milwaukee, they had a good relationship [with me],” Felhaber said. “Then when I signed, they let me know throughout the summer that I was going to come to camp and then looked forward to it.”
The Pembroke, Ontario native was one of four skaters on the ice on Friday who appeared in the American Hockey League last season. Now, he’s on the ice with the likes of Predators mainstays like Roman Josi, Ryan McDonagh, Ryan O’Reilly, Cody Glass, Filip Forsberg, and Juuse Saros.
Felhaber has appeared in one preseason game, skating with Glass and Gustav Nyquist, plus the Gold Star Showcase game in Clarksville, where he skated with Cal O’Reilly and Egor Afanasyev.
One note of interest in Group A this morning. Forward Tye Felhaber is skating with essentially all the expected NHLers #Preds
— Nick Kieser 🏒 (@KieserNick) September 29, 2023
The number of skilled players Felhaber was around last season helped prepare him for training with the Predators and getting used to a new style of play under head coach Andrew Brunette. On the ice, Felhaber finds himself wanting to compare himself to the NHLers who’ve already established themselves.
“You also just want to learn from them,” Felhaber said. “With Ryan O’Reilly, just looking at the little stuff that he does in the corners or in shootouts or what he’s thinking about when he’s looking at the goalie. They’re really helpful guys — all the older guys here — they welcome you and try to help you out as much as possible.”
The Predators coaching staff wants Felhaber to use his speed to the best of his ability and stick to his style of offensive play when he has the puck or trying to join a developing play on the rush.
“I feel like that fits into my game really well and just to trust my instincts offensively and hunt pucks and work hard,” Felhaber said.
Admirals assistant coach Greg Rallo has been instrumental in Felhaber’s camp stint in Nashville, telling him to take it one day at a time work as hard as he can and focus on the next day at hand.
A benefactor to Felhaber signing late into last season is he’s gotten to know skaters in the Admirals system while playing in 21 games with them. He put up 13 points in the process, and as an undrafted player, had another shot to prove his skills to an organization.
Felhaber said he didn’t know anyone at camp other than defenseman Dante Fabbro, who he met previously during his childhood days.
“I actually played with Dante Fabbro when we were like 12 years old in a spring hockey tournament,” he recalled. “You don’t see him for however many years and then you pick up right where we left off and chat away.”
Regardless of the role Felhaber has for the upcoming season, he’s well aware that he needs to take advantage of each day he’s around the Predators and make the most of an opportunity with a team in transition under new leadership.
“There’s a lot of good players up top [in Nashville] and in Milwaukee,” Felhaber said. “There’s so many good guys. I got to play with Michael McCarron, he’s a guy that’s worked his way up and was with Milwaukee last year. That’s a guy that’s fun to play with and works hard and he’s earned it… You take things away that he does, with battles and winning every battle and being relentless on pucks.”
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