NASHVILLE – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed defenseman Jonathan-Ismael Diaby, the club’s second selection, 64th overall (third round), in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, to a three-year entry-level contract.
Diaby, 19 (11/16/94), has appeared in nine games of the QMJHL’s Victoriaville Tigres since returning from offseason shoulder surgery on Dec. 5, amassing seven points (3g-4a) and 16 penalty minutes. In 146 games with Victoriaville since 2010-11, the 6-5, 240-pound blueliner has 42 points (8g-34a) and 216 penalty minutes. A season ago, he paced the Tigres in plus/minus rating (+12) and penalty minutes (117), and was one of just three QMJHL defensemen to finish the 2012-13 season with 25 points, 100 penalty minutes, and a +10 rating.
“Jonathan is a monster, and he’s not even there physically yet, so he has a lot of room for growth and strength,” Predators North American Amateur Scout Tom Nolan said. “He plays hard, is a terrific skater for his size, and can move the puck. He’s tough and plays physical. We see him as a shutdown-type of blueliner that takes up a lot of ice and is hard to play against.”
The Blainville, Quebec native was the 37th-rated North American skater in Central Scouting's final rankings of 2013, and his father, Sékana, played soccer professionally in France and Turkey from 1986-97, and represented Ivory Coast in international competition, including the 1992 FIFA Confederations Cup and 1994 FIFA World Cup Qualifier.