Jerseys sporting a Nashville Predators crest will be presented a handful of times in roughly two weeks at the 2015 NHL Draft in Sunrise, Florida, to wide-eyed teenagers. Forecasting all the names of those lucky few may not be the easiest task at this point, however.
As it stands now, the Preds do not currently possess a pick in the first round of the Draft on June 26. Nashville is, however, scheduled to make seven selections on June 27; one pick in rounds two, three, five, six and seven, plus two picks in the fourth round. And the next Predators star could be drawn from one of those seven selections.
Shea Weber and Roman Josi were second-round picks. Craig Smith a fourth. Pekka Rinne came in the eighth round, a session which doesn’t even exist anymore.
While it’s unknown who the Preds will take with their first pick of the Draft, or who will even be on the board to choose from, we here at NashvillePredators.com will attempt to identify some names that may become well known throughout Smashville in due time.
To start out, here’s a look at five skaters at the center position who could be available come Round Two.
Travis Konecny – 14th ranked North American Skater, NHL Central Scouting
5-10, 175 pounds – Ottawa 67’s, OHL
March 11, 1997 – London, ON, CAN
Captain of the 67’s last season, Konecny finished second on the team in scoring with 29 goals and 68 points in 60 games.
OHL Rookie of the Year during the 2013-14 season, leading all rookies in goals (26) and points (70) in 63 games.
In a poll of the OHL’s Eastern Conference coaches, Konecny was voted Best Skater and ranked second for Best Stickhandler.
From NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Edwards, via NHL.com: "He's a highly skilled forward who never quits. He skates very well, has excellent speed, is not afraid to get involved in battles and has no fear of taking the puck to the net."
For more on Travis Konecny, visit his prospect profile page from the NHL Draft hub here.
Jansen Harkins – 15th ranked North American Skater, NHL Central Scouting
6-1, 182 pounds – Prince George Cougars, WHL
May 23, 1997 – Cleveland, OH, USA
Harkins established a single-season Prince George franchise record with 59 assists in 2014-15. Led the club with 79 points in 70 games to earn the (former Preds defenseman) Dan Hamhuis Award as the team’s MVP.
Won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2014 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, recording six points in five games.
His father, former NHL player Todd Harkins, is general manager of the Cougars. His uncle, Brett, played with Boston, Florida and Columbus in the NHL.
For more on Jansen Harkins, visit his prospect profile page from the NHL Draft hub here.
Filip Chlapik – 18th ranked North American Skater, NHL Central Scouting
6-1, 196 pounds – Charlottetown Islanders, QMJHL
June 3, 1997 – Prague, CZE
A rookie with Charlottetown in 2014-15, Chlapik set franchise records for goals (33) and points (75) by a first-year player; finished second on the club in points.
His 33 goals tied for the lead in among QMJHL rookies.
Grew up idolizing former Preds goaltender Tomas Vokoun, but ultimately ended up playing forward.
From Director of NHL Central Scouting, Dan Marr, via NHL.com: "Filip is a very good skater with good vision and puck skills. He always seems to be in the right position on the ice both with and without the puck. He can jump on loose pucks and transition quickly. A good combination of size, skating and hockey sense."
For more on Filip Chlapik, visit his prospect profile page from the NHL Draft hub here.
Julius Nattinen – 15th ranked European Skater, NHL Central Scouting
6-2, 191 pounds – JYP-2, Finland-2
January 14, 1997 – Jyvaskyla, FIN
Spent a majority of 2014-15 with JYP-2 in Finland, recording 11 goals and 29 points in 39 games.
Skated for Finland at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, posting one goal and seven points in four games.
Was 21st at the midterm rankings, improving six spots among European Skaters.
For more on Julius Nattinen, visit his prospect profile page from the NHL Draft hub here.
Alexander Dergachyov – 17th ranked European Skater, NHL Central Scouting
6-4, 200 pounds – SKA 2, Russia-JR.
September 27, 1996 – Langepas, RUS
Tallied 10 goals and 39 points in 45 games with SKA St. Petersburg 2 in 2014-15.
Skated for Russia in the 2015 World Junior Championships, recording four points in seven games.
For more on Alexander Dergachyov, visit his prospect profile page from the NHL Draft hub here.