December 10: The Predators have decided to send another prospect to the ECHL, this time loaning Tommy Novak to the Everblades until the start of training camp. Novak, a third-round pick in 2015, scored 42 points with the Admirals in his first professional season after coming out of the University of Minnesota. He will likely be a dominant presence in the low minors, though he isn’t expected to be there for long.
December 7: With the ECHL season about to get underway, the Nashville Predators have sent six players to the Florida Everblades. Lukas Craggs, Patrick Harper, Tanner Jeannot, Cole Smith, Josh Wilkins, and Devin Cooley will all report to Florida until the start of training camp for Nashville or the Milwaukee Admirals. These six players are all on two-way NHL contracts, giving Florida quite the influx of talent to start the year.
Cooley, the only goaltender of the bunch, was signed by the Predators in September to a two-year entry-level contract after spending the last three seasons at the University of Denver. The 23-year-old goaltender was never drafted but managed to land a deal even without playing very much at DU. He appeared in just 32 games over the three seasons, and though he played very well, his potential at the next level is still something of a mystery.
Harper meanwhile is coming to pro hockey after four years at Boston University and two appearances at the World Juniors. The 22-year-old forward scored 37 points in 32 games last season and should likely be promoted to the AHL whenever Milwaukee starts their year. Still, he’ll be able to get his feet wet in the low minors first, not a bad way to start your professional career.
Of the others, none of them were actually drafted by the Predators (or anyone else) but have still done enough to deserve entry-level deals. Getting them on the ice and competing in games is important, though how many they’ll actually suit up for is unclear.