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Predators Select Wilson, Pickard in First Round of 2008 Entry Draft

by Press Release / Nashville Predators
– Preds have six picks in rounds 2-7 on Saturday –

Ottawa (June 20, 2008) – With two first-round picks for the first time in franchise history, the Nashville Predators selected Boston University forward Colin Wilson (Seventh overall) and goaltender Chet Pickard (18th overall) of the Tri-City Americans at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ont.. Nashville holds six more picks in rounds 2-7 of the Draft, which Saturday.

NHL Entry Draft Day 1 Coverage Colin Wilson video Friday Night Recap
 2008 Entry Draft Day 1 - David Poile  
 2008 Entry Draft Day 1 - Paul Fenton on Colin Wilson
 2008 Entry Draft Day 1 - Paul Fenton on Chet Pickard

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Nashville Predators Draft Updates from Ottawa
The Predators executed a trade prior to each of their first-round picks. The first occurred when Nashville acquired the seventh overall pick from the New York Islanders (via Toronto) for selections No. 9 and 40 – two of the three draft picks Nashville obtained from Florida for goaltender Tomas Vokoun at the 2007 Entry Draft. Then prior to the 15th selection, Nashville traded the pick to Ottawa for pick No. 18 and a third rounder in the 2009 Entry Draft.

With the seventh pick, the Preds took Wilson – the 10th-rated North American skater by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau. A native of Greenwich, Conn., Wilson is coming off his rookie season at Boston University, where he became the fifth player in school history to be named Hockey East Rookie of the Year. The 6-1, 215-pound center posted 35 points (13g-22a) in 37 games with the Terriers in 2007-08, ranking second in conference scoring among freshmen and third on the BU Terriers.

"Colin is a combination of a skilled and power forward,” Central Scouting's Gary Eggleston said. “He is very strong, has excellent hands and is a very good passer and playmaker.”

Wilson was a teammate of fellow Predator prospects Blake Geoffrion, Ryan Flynn and Jeremy Smith at the 2008 World Junior Championships, where he tied for the overall goal scoring lead with six (6-1-7) for Team USA. The power forward also comes from hockey bloodlines – his father, Carey, played 552 NHL games over 12 seasons for Calgary, Hartford and the New York Islanders.

At pick No. 18, Pickard became first goaltender selected in the 2008 Draft and just the second goaltender in Predators franchise history selected in the first round. A native of Winnipeg, Man., Pickard won the 2008 Del Wilson Trophy as the WHL's Goaltender of the Year after posting a league-high 46 wins in 2007-08 (46-12-4). He also ranked fourth among WHL goalies in save percentage (.918), and helped lead the Americans to the WHL Western Conference final, compiling an 11-3-2 record with a 1.78 goals-against average and a .937 save-percentage in the playoffs.

“He is very strong in his crease and he isn't predictable,” NHL Central Scouting's Al Jensen said. “His net coverage is very good and he reads the play well. I think he presents himself very well in the net and he has very good goalie instincts. He is very consistent, which is a big positive. The first time I saw Pickard, I saw (19-year pro) Olaf Kolzig."

Rounds 2-7 of the Entry Draft continue tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. CT (broadcasted on NHL Network) with the Predators holding six more selections: No. 46 (second round), No. 76 (third round), No. 106 (fourth round), No. 111 (fourth round, acquired from St. Louis for Chris Mason), No. 136 (fifth round) and No. 166 (sixth round).

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