When the Nashville Predators made Russian forward Yakov Trenin their first choice in the 2015 NHL Draft, they envisioned a big, powerful, possible top line center in a few years. In training camp, just months after being drafted, the 18-year old prospect encouraged that projection.
“He was one of our best players – if not our top player – in the rookie tournament down in Florida,” Nashville Predators Chief Amateur Scout Jeff Kealty said. “He’s had a very good camp. He’s opened a lot of eyes.”
On Saturday, the Predators made their largest set of cuts and Trenin was on the list. He was returned to his junior club, the Gatineau Olympiques of the QMJHL which means he can’t be recalled (or even play with Nashville’s AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals) until his junior season is over.
The Chelyanbinsk, Russia native is in an ideal situation as far as the Predators organization is concerned. Unlike most Russian prospects, he came across the Atlantic prior to being drafted in order to adapt to the smaller ice surface and the grittier style.
“He came over to play in Gatineau last year so he’s [already] adjusted quite well,” Kealty said. “His game is suited for the North American game. He’s a big, strong kid that plays hard in all areas of the ice.”
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At just 18 years old, he’s already 6’2” and almost 200 pounds. When he matures and fills out, he should be closer to 6’3” and 220. And while it’s way too early to compare him to other top line NHL centers in the 6’3”, 220 range such as Ryan Getzlaf and Anze Kopitar, it doesn’t hurt that Trenin has a similar frame.
Trenin failed to impact the score sheet in the pre-season but he did register seven shots on goal and four hits in his two games.
“He’s big, he’s strong, he plays at both ends of the ice, he drives hard to the net, he’s hard on pucks and he’s responsible,” Kealty said. “He’s handled himself very well.”
In September 2016, look for Trenin’s name to come up in the “can he make the team” conversation. If his development progresses the way it should, he’ll deserve to be included.
PHOTO CREDIT: Sarah Fuqua