Welcome back to The Journey, where we follow hockey prospects and their paths to the NHL, providing fantasy predictions and analysis along the way.
This week, we will be continuing on last Saturday's subject of singling out one prospect from every team that rose in the depth charts, or left a calling card for future opportunities with the club. We went through the first half of NHL teams last time around, all the way to the Montréal Canadiens, which allows us to finish up this week with the last 16 NHL teams in alphabetical order, starting with the Nashville Predators.
Egor Afanasyev, LW
Afanasyev was selected 45th overall by the Panthers in 2019, and has since shown some decent progression in the KHL – he spent most of last year in the top level, and scored six points in that span as a 19-year-old. Afanasyev and Philip Tomasino headed into this preseason as the two prospects likely to fight for a roster spot on the Preds, and so far the Russian has been the most noticeable of the two, with four points in three preseason games. This includes a three-point, first-star performance against a well-stacked Tampa Bay Lightning side.
Every shift, he brings something to the table – whether through raw skill or by using his 6-foot-4, 200-pound frame to rattle the boards and knock pucks free. He also boasts tremendous goal-scoring ability that should translate well. Afanasyev should earn himself a spot on opening night, especially with the Preds' lack of winger depth.
New Jersey Devils