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Preds Choose 'Smooth Skating' in Six-Pick Draft

Nashville Picks Three Forwards, Two Defensemen and One Goaltender in 2017 NHL Draft in Chicago

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

After picking Finnish forward Eeli Tolvanen in Round One on Friday night, the Nashville Predators returned to select five more players on the second and final day of the 2017 NHL Draft in Chicago.

First up on Saturday for the Preds in Round Two was Grant Mismash, a center from Edina, Minnesota. Mismash skated predominantly for the U.S. National Team Development Program (U18) during the 2016-17 season, recording 26 goals and 61 points to go along with 106 penalty minutes in 56 games, with his 61 points tying for the team lead.

Internationally, the 6-foot, 181-pound center helped the United States win a gold medal at the 2017 Under-18 World Championship with three goals and eight points in seven games. He also represented his country at the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge with two goals and five points in five games.

Video: Preds draft center Grant Mismash in the second round

Mismash has committed to the University of North Dakota for the 2017-18 season.

"All the hard work and all you put in to get to this point… it's amazing [to be drafted]," Mismash said. "I have a good scoring touch, a hard-nosed player who would play hard every night, be physical and bring an edge to the team - and a good person off the ice as well."

"He's a good-sized kid who can skate, really knows how to protect and move the puck, makes others around him better - just a good all-around, two-way offensive forward that can play in your top nine," Predators Scout Tom Nolan said. "We just think he's going to take off going to school here, and we're looking forward to it."

Video: Defensive prospect David Farrance joins the Preds

In Round Three, it was a teammate of Mismash's from the U.S. NTDP, defenseman David Farrance, who heard his name called by the Preds.

Farrance, who called Preds defenseman P.K. Subban one of his favorite players, posted seven goals and 37 points in 64 contests for the U.S. NTDP in 2016-17, and like Mismash, also helped the United States win a gold medal at the 2017 Under-18 World Championship with two goals and three points in seven games.

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound blueliner is a product of the Syracuse Jr. Stars system, being named most valuable player and defenseman of the year in 2014-15 with the under-16 team. A native of Rochester, New York, Farrance already knew Predators Director of Player Development and fellow Rochester resident, Scott Nichol, and says he has skated with Nichol's children on occasion.

Farrance is committed to Boston University for the 2017-18 season.

"It's a pretty special feeling to be part of this organization," Farrance said. "They have an incredible fan base. They certainly know what they're doing there in Nashville, so I'm excited to be a part of that."

"He's a great skating, puck-moving defenseman and he's savvy with the puck," Nolan, who compared Farrance to Carolina defenseman Justin Faulk, said. "We feel the way the game's going in the NHL right now, this is a great pick for us."

Video: Czech goaltender Tomas Vomacka taken in fifth round

Without a selection in Round Four, the Preds went to the crease in the Fifth Round and selected goaltender Tomas Vomacka, a Czech Republic native who skated for Corpus Christi in the North American Hockey League during the 2016-17 season.

After posting a .923 save percentage during his first season in North America, the 6-foot-3 netminder was named NAHL South Division Goaltender of the Year, as well as the All-South Division Team and USHL All-Rookie Team.

Vomacka, who says he looked up to former Preds goaltender Tomas Vokoun and models his game after current Preds goaltender Pekka Rinne, plans on playing for Sioux City of the United States Hockey League next season before attending the University of Connecticut.

"I [watched] all the [playoff] games in Nashville and the fans were crazy and I love it," Vomacka said. "It was amazing and the team did a great job, so I'm excited to be part of great organization."

"He's super athletic, super flexible, loves to the play the position, has a lot of flair for the position but hasn't had a lot of structure and guidance, and that's what excites you about him for the upside," Predators Scout Ryan Rezmierski said of Vomacka. "You hope maybe there's an ounce of Pekka in him, but he does play with that activeness and competes and comes up with saves that he has no business making at times."

Video: Kealty provides pick-by-pick analysis of 2017 Draft

Round Six saw the Preds select Russian center Pavel Koltygin from Drummondville of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with the 176th overall pick.

The 6-foot center produced 22 goals and 47 points in 65 games during his first season in North America, a player that has plenty of skill and potential on the offensive side of the puck.

"He's an offensive player, natural skater, talented with the puck and has good vision," Predators Scout J-P Glaude said. "For that type of player, Russian, speaking no French or English and playing in Quebec, first time on the smaller North American ice, he had great production and I'm very excited."

Video: Go all-access with first-round pick Eeli Tolvanen

With their final selection of the 2017 Draft, Nashville went with defenseman Jacob Paquette with the 216th overall selection in the Seventh Round.

Paquette has patrolled the blue line for Kingston of the Ontario Hockey League for the past two seasons, posting a total of 23 points in 115 games.

"He's a very good defensive defenseman," Predators Chief Amateur Scout Jeff Kealty said of Paquette. "He's a big, strong kid, very good defensive detail in the sense that his positioning and reads are always very solid. There's not a ton of flash to him, but if you look at some of the skilled puck movers we've taken the last couple years… this is a guy that really balances those guys out quite well."

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