Since Day 1, Nashville Predators General Manager David Poile has emphasized the importance of building through the draft, and continues to practice what he preaches 10 years later.
The success in drafting and developing talent in house is evident as one scans this season’s roster, as eight players were originally drafted by the franchise – from David Legwand
, the franchise’s first-ever selection, to Alexander Radulov
, who joined the organization three summers ago.
Other mainstays on the Preds roster include first round picks Dan Hamhuis (2001) and Ryan Suter
(2003), in addition to second rounders Kevin Klein
and Shea Weber
(2003) and later round selections Jordin Tootoo
(2001) and Martin Erat
(1999). Many others wait in the wings.
Even more emphasis has been put on developing homegrown talent since the implementation of the salary cap prior to the 2005-06 season, putting the pressure on for scouts and team personnel at the draft table each June. The due diligence by the Nashville decision-makers in this process was on display a mere two months ago at 2007 Preds Training Camp. Out of the 52 players under contract or in the organization attending camp, 17 were picked by Nashville in the third round or lower, and nine more came in the first two rounds. All but five of this group are under contract and playing for the Preds, or their AHL affiliate in Milwaukee in 2007-08.
“It is all about having confidence in your regional scouts, and having faith that they have discovered some guys that they really think have a special quality to them,” assistant general manager Paul Fenton said. “We rely on the scouts to tell us about these guys from the beginning of the year to present, and evaluate them. Then, we weigh everything we are given, put it into order, with everyone having input, and we make our decision from there.”