Following Monday's NHL Draft Lottery, the Nashville Predators have retained the fourth overall selection in this year's NHL Entry Draft. The first overall pick went to the Colorado Avalanche, a division opponent of the Predators in the new conference realignment. Outside of the Avalanche and the Florida Panthers changing hands, the remaining 13 teams retained their original draft position. It is now time for President of Hockey Operation/General Manager David Poile and his management team to form their draft strategy for this year.
"We are very comfortable in this position and we are absolutely ecstatic to have the fourth pick," Poile said. "I think we are going to be able to pick a terrific player at this position. In all probability, we are going to be able to get a young, dynamic forward. Also at number four, we may be able to go in a different direction if people come to us with offers involving established players we might like. I think with the number four pick you could put together a pretty significant deal.
"We have a lot of options, but the first order of business is to bring in all of our scouts next week and have a four-or-five day meeting to get everything in order. We will start doing some interviews and start checking some things out, and I’m sure I will be fielding calls from other general managers that may be interested in our pick. So, I really think we are in a great position to either draft a player that is available at number four or do something else possibly in the way of a trade."
After a difficult season, Poile is excited about what the future holds for the Predators organization.
"Other than getting the number one pick, it couldn’t have worked out any better for us," Poile said. "It was a painful ending to our season, but retaining the fourth selection gives us some form of silver lining, and after the season we had, we’re going to be rewarded with a very good player."
This year’s draft marks just the second time the team has held a Top Five pick in its history. The previous occurrence was the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, where the Predators held the third overall pick, but traded up one position to select David Legwand
with the second overall pick.
In addition to the fourth overall pick, this year’s draft also marks the first time in two years that the Predators retained their first round selection. Nashville’s first round pick in 2011 was traded to Ottawa in exchange for forward Mike Fisher
. Last year’s first rounder was dealt to Buffalo for forward Paul Gaustad
at the 2012 trade deadline.
Here is a list of the Predators all-time first round selections:
|draft Position ||year ||player |
|2 ||1998 ||david legwand, F |
|6 ||1999 ||brian Finley, g |
|6 ||2000 ||scott hartnell, F |
|12 ||2001 ||dan hamhuis, d |
|6 ||2002 ||scottie upshall, f |
|7 ||2003 ||ryan suter, d |
|15 ||2004 ||alexander radulov, f |
|18 ||2005 ||ryan parent, d |
|23 ||2007 ||jonathon blum, d |
|7 ||2008 ||colin wilson, f |
|18 ||2008 ||chet pickard, g |
|11 ||2009 ||ryan ellis, d |
|18 ||2010 ||austin watson, f |
More than half of the League’s Top 20 scorers this season were top five draft picks in their respective classes.
|position ||player |
|1 ||alex ovechkin, sidney crosby, patrick kane, taylor hall and john tavares |
|2 ||eric stall |
|3 ||jonathan toews, henrik sedin |
|4 ||nicklas backstrom, andrew ladd |
|5 ||phil kessel |
Some notable fourth overall picks include: Evander Kane (WPG), Alex Pietrangelo (STL), Nicklas Backstrom (WAS), Andrew Ladd (CAR), Roberto Luongo (NYI), Paul Kariya
(ANA), Steve Yzerman (DET), Ron Francis (HFD) and Mike Gartner (WSH)
This year’s draft will be held at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on Sunday, June 30. Stay tuned to nashvillepredators.com for more prospect and draft information, and details on the official Nashville Predators Draft Party.