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Scouting Report: Preds Seven Draft Picks

by Brooks Bratten / Nashville Predators

It’s only been a few hours since the Nashville Predators added eight new players to their organization via the 2016 NHL Draft, but David Poile believes it’s one of the best drafts the club has ever had.

Nashville’s general manager, as well as the Predators scouting staff and management got exactly what they were looking for over the course of two days at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, selecting five defensemen, two forwards and a goaltender. As of now, things look promising.

“This is one of the best drafts I think we’ve ever had,” Poile said. “The reason I say that… I can tell you every player that we drafted, we spent a lot of time talking about… I thoroughly got to know the players based on [our scouts] just talking about them in the meetings halfway through the year, at the end of the year and then these last couple days here in Buffalo. I guess the best thing you can say about any draft is you got the players that you wanted to get, and we clearly did that.”

Predators Chief Amateur Scout Jeff Kealty echoed Poile’s sentiments, and while he cautioned that the true success of this draft will be realized in the coming seasons, there’s plenty of optimism to go around the organizations.

“We’re really pleased with the whole class,” Kealty said. “I think that the preparation really paid off for us. Pretty much every pick that we took, we kind of talked about different scenarios that could play out through the draft. I felt we had things where we wanted them and got a lot of the players we wanted, so we were very pleased.”

After selecting defenseman Dante Fabbro with the 17th overall pick on Friday evening, Nashville continued to stock up on defensemen on Day Two, as well as snagging a pair of highly skilled forwards and a skilled Russian netminder along the way.

So who are the newest Preds? Fans will have the chance to see most of Nashville’s selections during the team’s 2016 Development Camp which opens this week – but for now, here’s a look at the latest skaters to wear Gold.

D Samuel Girard – Shawinigan (QMJHL)

Round 2 – Pick No: 47

5-9, 162 pounds – Roberval, Quebec

2015-16 QMJHL Defenseman of the Year

2015-16 Stats: 10g-64a (74pts) in 67 games played

Preds North American Amateur Scout J-P Glaude on Girard:

“He is an elite offensive defenseman, and the top scorer in the CHL on defense at only 17 years old. He has a natural offensive instinct. He can run your power play, will fake a shot, give the pass or bring the puck to the net.”

C Rem Pitlick – Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL)

Round 3 – Pick No: 76

5-9, 194 pounds – Plymouth, Minnesota

2015-16 USHL Forward and Player of the Year in the USHL

2015-16 Stats: 46g-43a (89pts) in 56 games played

Predators North American Amateur Scout David Westby on Pitlick:

“He is a strong, good-skating, skilled, offensive forward. He has great intangibles, he’s very competitive with good hockey sense; a smart player. Good speed, he can separate and penetrate and has good hands in small areas. We really like him. He’s a good player, he scored 46 goals in the USHL this year, and that’s not easy to do.”

D Fredric Allard – Chicoutimi Saugeneens (QMJHL)

Round 3 – Pick No: 78

6-1, 179 pounds - Quebec, Quebec

2015-16 Stats: 14g-45a (59pts) in 64 games played

Predators North American Amateur Scout J-P Glaude on Allard:

“In two years, his progression has been really, really good. I would say a two-way defenseman, but again, he has this offensive instinct. He played all situations, power play, penalty kill. His biggest quality is his hockey sense. He’s a very intelligent player and an excellent leader. He is a good human, good person, really competitive and will be a great defenseman for our team.”

D Hardy Haman Atkell -- Skellefteå AIK J18 (Sweden)

Round 4 – Pick No: 108

6-3, 198 pounds - Sweden

2015-16 Stats: J18 Elit: 4g–9a (13pts) in 10 games played

J18 Allsvenskan 2g–14a (16pts) in 16 games played

J20 SuperElit 1g–0a (1pt) in 2 games played

Predators European Scout Lucas Bergman on Haman Atkell:

“He’s been a little bit under the radar. He’s played in the under-18 (U18) league, so did not receive as much exposure. He’s a 6-foot-3, almost 6-foot-4 defenseman who is light on his feet. He has really good hockey sense, and he gets the puck up the ice. He is a very modern NHL defenseman. I think he is a top-four profile. He can play a little bit of everything, penalty kill and power play. Lots of upside, and I think the lack of exposure has helped to get him where we did.”

C Patrick Harper – Avon Old Farms (USHS)

Round 5 – Pick No. 138

5-8, 154 pounds - New Caanan, Connecticut

2015-16 Stats: Avon Old Farms (USHS): 20g-39a (59pts) in 27 games played

Neponset Valley River Rats U18 (MHSL U18): 19g – 13a (32pts) in 13 games

Omaha Lancers (USHL): 1g–3a (4pts) in 9 games played

Predators North American Amateur Scout Tom Nolan on Harper:

“He is a highly, highly skilled forward. He’s quick, shifty and sees the ice very well. He can score and also set up others. Right now, he is lacking strength; he is a small guy, but he’s going to get bigger and stronger. We just feel that there is a lot of upside with him.”

G Konstantin Volkov – SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (Russia)

Round 6 – Pick No. 168

6-3, 212 pounds - Murmansk, Russia

2015-16 Stats: SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL): 2.33 goals-against average, .902 save percentage in 17 games played

SKA-Varyagi Vsevolzhsk (MHL B): 2.14 GAA, .925 SV% in six games played

Predators European Scout Martin Bakula on Volkov:

“He is a big goalie that moves very well for his size. He tracks the puck well. He sees the puck through the traffic because of his size and he is aggressive on his slides. We are really happy to have him. He is going to play for the Russian Under-20 team next year where he will get a lot of exposure.”

D Adam Smith – Bowling Green State University (NCAA)

Round 7 – Pick No. 198

6-0, 181 pounds - Sharon, Ontario

2015-16 Stats: Newmarket Hurricanes (OJHL): 5g-9a (14pts) in 32 games played

Bowling Green State University (NCAA): 1g–2a (3pts) in 22 games played

Predators North American Scout Ryan Rizmierski on Smith:

“Adam continued to excel all year. He started off playing in the OJHL, played in the Junior A Challenge, went up against some of the top competition in the world in that tournament and excelled. He went to Bowling Green State University after Christmas and took on a top-four role as a young defensemen in college and didn’t miss a beat. We just like what he brings, a well-rounded game. He can skate, is real solid defensively and he is at a good program now, at Bowling Green State, to develop.”

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