In conjunction with the Nashville Predators 15th Anniversary celebration and the 2013 NHL Entry Draft this coming weekend in Newark, N.J., each day we take a look back at the Top 15 draftees throughout the club’s history.
The Top 15 draftees will be in chronological order.
David Legwand, C
No. 2, 1998
Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
Everyone knows the story behind David Legwand, the first draft pick in the history of the Nashville Predators. Legwand was so sought after by David Poile and his staff that they traded up to select him second overall in 1998 behind Tampa’s Vincent Lecavalier. The season prior in 1997-98, his first in the Ontario Hockey League, Legwand was named the CHL Rookie of the Year, OHL Rookie of the Year, OHL Most Valuable Player and the OHL First All-Star Team.
Since joining the Predators organization for the final game in 1998-99, Legwand has been a mainstay in the Music City, and cemented himself atop every offensive statistically category in the record books. He’s played 894 games, posting 200 goals, 326 assists and 444 penalty minutes in 13 full seasons with the club. The Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., native has also chipped in 28 points (13g-15a) in 47 playoff games.
Karlis Skrastins, D
No. 230, 1998
TPS Turku (SM-liiga)
Defenseman Karlis Skrastins was the Predators final pick in their inaugural draft class after posting 19 points (4g-15a) in 48 games during his final season in Finland. During three seasons playing in Finland’s top league, the 6-1, 210-pound blueliner compiled 44 points (10g-34a, 148gp).
The Riga, Lativa native posted 54 points (13g-41a) in 307 games for Nashville prior to being traded to the Colorado Avalanche in 2003. On Feb. 8, 2007, he played in his 487th consecutive game to pass Tim Horton for the longest playing streak in NHL history for a defenseman. Known as the “Ironman,” Skrastins’ streak ended at 495 games, when he missed a game against Anaheim Feb. 25, 2007 with a knee injury.
After tallying 136 points (32g-104a) in 11 NHL seasons with Nashville, Colorado, Florida and Dallas, he left North America to play for Lokomotiv Yaroslav of the Kontinential Hockey League in 2011-12. On Sept. 7, 2011, Skrastins and the entire Lokomotiv team died tragically in a plane crash as the team traveled to Minsk for their season opener. Fellow Preds draftee Robert Dietrich (No. 174, 2007) was also killed in the Lokomotiv crash.
Adam Hall, C
No. 52, 1999
Nashville used its third pick in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft to select forward Adam Hall out of the U.S. National Team Development Program. Hall posted 13 points (12g-1a) in 15 games for the U-18 program in 1998-99, then played four years with the Michigan State Spartans and was named to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association's Second All-Star Team in 2000.
Following his senior season at Michigan State, the Kalamazoo, Mich., native joined the Milwaukee Admirals for the final six games of the 2001-02 season, and made his NHL debut with Nashville on April 14, 2001, posting an assist. Hall played his rookie season in 2002-03, and compiled 28 points (16g-12a) in 79 games.
During the Preds first playoff series against the Red Wings in 2004, Hall tallied the first postseason goal in franchise history as he beat Manny Legace just 16 seconds into the contest. The marker still stands as the fastest goal from the start of a playoff game in club history.
In 10 NHL seasons with Nashville, New York, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Carolina and Philadelphia, Hall has compiled 147 points (65g-82a) in 602 games.
Click here to see: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4