The Preds feel this is a very deep draft. The first round may not be as deep as last year – which was an extremely talented and deep first round – but the depth through the second and third rounds is probably a little better than last year (which plays well in the Preds hands since the team has two second and two third round picks this year).
The hockey operations staff has been alternating the last two weeks, spending one day meeting with the amateur scouts about the draft and the Preds draft board and the next day meeting with the pro scouts about free agency and trade potentials with other teams. He feels the team has a good handle on both aspects.
The Preds will continue to draft the best player available on their draft board. Poile noted that by drafting 18/19 year old prospects who likely will take three or four years before being able to play at the NHL level, that leaves several years for an organization's perceived needs to change. So an organization's strengths/weaknesses today could be much different when the current draft class is ready to make an impact in the NHL.
Poile noted that forward Colin Wilson
was "the perfect fit" for the organization's needs last year.
Poile noted that the organization's strengths currently are on the defensive end with an enviable amount of young depth in goal and on defense, but said that doesn't mean the team would shy away from picking a defenseman in the first round this season. With 12 picks in the draft, the Preds would ideally select one goaltender, three to five defensemen and six to eight forwards.
The Preds may explore trade options at No. 11. Poile said this week is a good week to lay the ground work for Draft Day Deals and while the team had identified a group of players the Preds were interested in for the No. 11 pick, depending on how things played out the team could potentially trade back further in the first round. Poile indicated that based on current discussions the Preds were more inclined to trade back later in the first round than to trade up into the top-10.
No new progress on the free agent front, but plans to meet with the agents for Steve Sullivan, Joel Ward, Greg Zanon, and Vernon Fiddler over the next week or so. Poile indicated that all four are likely to go to unrestricted free agency on July 1 and test the market, but was hopeful that the Preds would still remain major players to sign each of the four.
No new news to report on the Alexander Radulov
front. Poile was hoping to hear more information by now, but says the door remains open for Radulov to return. If the team does not hear from Radulov by July 1, Poile will proceed with plans as if Radulov is not coming back for the 2009-10 season.