The 2013 season may have ended for the Nashville Predators, but some of the best and brightest prospects in the organization are still playing in the AHL playoffs. Many of these players saw time with the Predators this season, and are gaining valuable experience as they try to become impact players in the future. Heading into Friday night’s game four, the Milwaukee Admirals are facing down elimination, as they trail the Texas Stars (Dallas Stars) two games to one.
Struggling against the Stars shouldn’t be a surprise, as Texas led the Western Conference for much of the regular season. This series is actually closer than it looks as well, as the first game was decided in overtime. One bright spot for the Predators is that they may have found a future backup to Pekka Rinne in Magnus Hellberg, who has performed quite well in the series. Hellberg finished the season by winning seven of eight starts, stepping up in a big way after Jeremy Smith went down with an injury. He also finished fourth in the league with a 2.14 goals-against average. He recorded a shutout in the Admirals’ lone win in the series, and made 41 saves in the game one overtime loss.
Ryan Ellis, Daniel Bang, Taylor Beck and Austin Watson are also back with the Admirals for the postseason, and Watson recorded a goal in the game two win. Patrick Cehlin and Zach Hamill scored in the game one loss, while Stars’ goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp blanked the Admirals in game three. Even if the series ends tonight, all of these prospects got some valuable playoff experience that should help them be a part of leading the Predators back to the playoffs in the future.