Taking the first steps to building a solid expansion team, the Nashville Predators selected 26 players from around the National Hockey League at the 1998 Expansion Draft on June 26.
Some of those players originally picked in the Expansion Draft never actually played for the team. Selected as bargaining chips, they allowed Predator’s management to make deals and acquire players more suited to the organization.
“This expansion draft has provided us with 26 opportunities to help shape our franchise,” General Manager David Poile said. “We have selected a number of players who will be important parts of the 1998-99 inaugural Predators team, while other selections will enable us to acquire additional draft picks or players. As we build this team for 1998-99 and beyond.”
At the Expansion Draft alone, the Preds traded for nine other players, including instant contributors like Sebastien Bordeleau, Sergei Krivokrasov, and Kimmo Timonen.
While there are no remaining players from the Expansion Draft, several of the draftees did don a Predators’ uniform -- and made an impact in the process. Players like Greg Johnson and Scott Walker will be remembered as important pieces of the Predator’s puzzle, as will goaltender Tomas Vokoun.
The next day, the Predators participated in their first Entry Draft and made an immediate splash trading up from the No. 3 slot to the No. 2 slot to secure the rights to David Legwand
, forever linked as the first draft choice in franchise history. The Preds selected Denis Arkhipov, Geoff Koch, Kent Sauer, Martin Beauchesne, Craig Brunel, Martin Bartek, and Karlis Skrastins with their remaining draft choices.