Wednesday, the Nashville Predators drop the puck for rookie camp with twenty-two prospects. Camp will last from Wednesday, September 4 through Tuesday, September 10. Of the twenty-two invitees, take a look at the three players to watch for during the practices and tournament in Sunrise, Florida.
Austin Watson, forward
There is little doubt about what Austin Watson wants before rookie and training camps are completed — to be named on the Predators' roster for first game of the season. After getting a taste of the NHL last season due to injuries, he wants more. The insatiable twenty-one year old is going to have to grind his way to the lineup and it will start by impressing during the exhibition matches against the Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning.
Although he is listed as a left winger, it is quite possible he could get time at the center spot, where he played at times with the OHL's London Knights and Nashville's farm club Milwaukee Admirals.
Watson has something to prove and rookie camp is going to be a tune up before he goes up against NHL-quality competition later this month.
Colton Sissons, forward
It will be interesting to see how Colton Sissons does during the exhibition matches after recovering from a left arm injury suffered in March that kept him out of the Western Hockey League playoffs. The talented 6'1" power forward could be anther useful piece for head coach Barry Trotz and his coaching staff in the coming seasons. Sissons, 19, has already established a leadership role as captain of the Kelowna Rockets. Last season, in sixty-one games the 50th overall pick in 2012 scored sixty-seven points (28g, 39a). Undoubtedly, he is a question mark for the Predators' organization and they would sure like to see him pan out.
Mikko Vainonen, defenseman
This summer, Mikko Vainonen is getting his first taste of going through Nashville's development program. As a major defenseman in Team Finland's 2013 World Junior's Championship run, he turned a lot of heads and became a prized prospect on the back end. Vainonen played for the OHL's Kingston Frontenacs last season, trying to adjust to the North American playing style. Sure, the 6'2" nineteen-year-old is not yet professionally ready, but depending on how he does in preseason and these camps, Vainonen may be with the Admirals in the 2014-15.