First Round Position: 11th overall
Best Picks of last 3 Years:
Jonathon Blum (D) – 1st round 2007
Chet Pickard (G) – 1st round 2008
Colin Wilson (RW) – 1st round 2008
Blake Geoffrion (LW) – 2nd round 2006
Jeremy Smith (G) – 2nd round 2007
Coming Down the Pipe – Most organizations can only wish their prospect depth was on par with what Nashville has been able to assemble in recent years. Their NHL blueline is already strong and has Jonathan Blum, Cody Franson and Swiss-product Roman Josi waiting in the wings. Chet Pickard is destined for the starter’s job and yet Jeremy Smith could develop into solid competition for him in net. Up front the Preds boast size and character but could arguably use some high-end skill to go along with blue-chipper Colin Wilson.
Draft Trends – Only once in their history have the Predators taken a European in the first round, that being Alex Radulov in 2004. Is it a coincidence that 2004 is also the last year that Nashville has drafted a Russian? It’s hardly a hole in their prospect system but Nashville has only drafted 4 blueliners with their last 21 picks (2006-08). They also haven’t drawn from the QMJHL since 2004.
Millard: Louis Leblanc - Nashville has drafted D-men and goalies galore lately so taking a decent sized Centerman will be music to Music City’s ears. He hasn’t received a ton of attention because he plays in the USHL and is going to Harvard next year; the Preds have a ton of prospect depth so they can wait.
Flaming: Oliver Ekman-Larsson – The Predators have few (if any) holes in their pool of prospects but have only drafted three defencemen of note in the last 5 years (excluding the now traded Ryan Parent). Despite what I said under ‘trends’ in regards to picking rearguards, the Best Player Available policy says they can’t resist a player many pundits consider to be worthy of the top 10.