With the Milwaukee Admirals eliminated from the AHL playoffs, the Nashville Predators have called up a group of “Black Aces”. Vladislav Kamenev, Alexandre Carrier, Jack Dougherty, Petter Granberg and Trevor Murphy are all on their way up to skate with the team as insurance against multiple game-time injuries.
Among the call-ups are several interesting prospects. Kamenev was the Admirals’ second-leading scorer this season, putting up 51 points in 70 games as a 20 year old just a few years removed from going 42nd overall in the 2014 draft. Kamenev has turned into about as good of a power forward prospect as you can find, and has transitioned into a center ice role in recent years—though it’s not clear if he’ll continue there at the NHL level. In two games for Nashville this year he was held scoreless.
It also includes Carrier, who has turned from undersized fourth-round flyer in the 2015 draft to dominant AHL offensive defenseman in the span of two years. His 39 points in 72 games puts him fourth in scoring from rookie defenders, and he has a chance of bringing that offensive game to the next level in the future. Carrier won’t turn 21 until October, and still has a long way to go to establish himself as an NHL defenseman, but could be another example of the Predators pipeline of slightly undersized players to find success on the blueline.
In all, it’s unlikely that any of these players get into a game for the Predators during the playoffs, but will learn from their veteran teammates about how to prepare for the postseason after the long grind they’ve already been through. Next year should Nashville return, these players may use this experience while playing every night as a member of the NHL team.