NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators have concentrated on replenishing their group of young forwards through the NHL Draft since Peter Laviolette was named coach in 2014.
They continued to keep that trend going in the 2017 NHL Draft, selecting forward Eeli Tolvanen with the 30th pick and forward Grant Mismash in the second round (No. 61).
Mismash, 18, is a power forward (6-foot, 186 pounds) who embraces the physical aspect of the game and has enjoyed his time with the Predators since being drafted.
"It's been great," Mismash said. "Obviously it's a great place here, a great city. The guys have been good so far. My time has been good here, so I'm excited for the future."
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Mismash had 61 points (26 goals, 35 assists) in 65 games last season with USA Hockey's National Team Development Program under-18 team. He has the ability to make plays passing the puck, but always looks to take the shot if it's available to him.
"Just a shoot-first mentality," he said, "a competitive person who plays with an edge and kind of gets under the skin of other players and likes to shoot the puck and get in those dirty areas and compete hard."
Mismash enjoyed watching the Predators' run to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final and found it easy to get caught up in the atmosphere around Bridgestone Arena, which made being drafted by Nashville even more special.
"It was pretty crazy, and it was exciting to watch," Mismash said. "Obviously they have a great fan base here that kind of rallied with them. As a fan of hockey, it was crazy to watch, it was fun to watch. And then obviously [at the NHL Draft] and everything, it was kind of crazy getting drafted by Nashville. I'm excited for what's coming in the future."
Mismash will attend the University of North Dakota as a freshman in the fall to begin his NCAA career and continue to hone his skills.
"It was a tough decision between other schools and North Dakota," he said. "I visited them and a couple other schools. The facility there and the coaches there are just awesome, and to be there is obviously great. Their hockey team gets a lot of support from the Grand Forks people there. As a player coming in, it's really exciting and I can't wait to get started."
Nashville's American Hockey League affiliate in Milwaukee has developed many players on the Predators' current roster. They have young talent at forward in their pipeline that has created a lot of depth and competition. Mismash is determined to reach the NHL and is willing to push for that goal as soon as he can.
"It's obviously a process," Mismash said. "Whatever it takes to get there. However many years it takes, it takes. I'll go that route to do whatever it takes to get to the NHL."