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.
Jordin Tootoo, RW
No. 98, 2001
Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Tootoo was the sixth choice of the Nashville Predators in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. He made his NHL debut on Oct. 9, 2003 against the Mighty Ducks, becoming the first player of Inuit descent to play in the NHL game. He was also the first person of Inuit descent to be drafted by an NHL team.
In 2011-12, Tootoo posted a career-high 30 points (6g-24a), nearly doubling his highest points total in his eight year career (18). Perhaps the most popular player in Predators history, Tootoo recorded 125 points (46g-79a) in 486 games in Nashville. The Rankin Inlet, Nunavut native also holds the franchise record for most career penalty minutes (725).
Ryan Suter, D
No. 7, 2003
The Nashville Predators and Bridgestone Arena played host to the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, and the Predators used their first pick to select defenseman Ryan Suter. Suter, who was headed to the University of Wisconsin, had just completed his final year with the U.S. National Team Development Program and helped the United States capture its first-ever gold medal at the 2004 World Junior Championships.
The NHL lockout in 2004-05 allowed Suter to develop with the Milwaukee Admirals for one season before becoming a full-time NHLer in 2006.
In seven seasons in the Music City, Suter posted 238 points (38g-200a) in 542 games, ranking, Suter fourth in assists and ninth in points on the Preds all-time list. He made his first NHL All-Star Game appearance in 2012 along with Shea Weber and Craig Smith.
Kevin Klein, D
No. 37, 2003
Toronto St. Michael’s Majors (OHL)
With their third pick in the 2003 Entry Draft, Nashville looked to the blueline once again as they selected Kevin Klein in the second round. After the draft, Klein returned to the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League for the 2003-04 season, where he posted 29 points (6g-23a) in 46 games.
In 2011-12, he set career highs in points (4g-17a) and assists, while tying his career high in goals. Klein became a playoff hero after scoring back-to-back goals in Games Three and Four in the 2012 Western Conference Quarterfinals against Detroit.
On Sept. 15, 2012, Klein signed a five-year, $14.5 million contract that will keep him in a Predators sweater until the 2017-18 season. In 356 games with Nashville, Klein has recorded 79 points (15g-64a), with 35 of those points coming in the past two seasons (7g-28a).
Click here to see: Part 1 | Part 2