While many Nashville Predators’ fans are waiting with anxiety for the third round of the NHL draft, where the Preds first selection will be at No. 89 overall, don’t be surprised if David Poile pulls the trigger and moves up into the first two rounds.
Let me also say, don’t be surprised if Poile does nothing and selects from the 89thspot. From what Poile has been saying throughout the offseason, he seems content with the Predators’ roster as is.
I believe that a trade up into the first round is a long shot. It will cost too much and the Preds surely don’t want to part with any roster players or prospects. A jump to the second round seems more likely if Nashville is to make any move.
Here is a list of potential targets, should the Preds trade up:
(40-50 range) Calen Addison, D – 5’11, 180
I am really high on Addison (number 2 pictured above). Some scouts have him listed as a first-round talent, while others have him slipping to the second. He is an offensive-minded defenseman and is coming off a 65-point season (11 goals, 54 assists). He has speed to burn and can really carry the puck up ice. He can score and always seems to be open for a shot. Addison is someone the Preds might have to move up to the backend of the first round to get.
“Tremendous skater who can transport the puck up ice,” ISS scout Brent Parker said. “(He has) very good hands and passes are on time and crisp. (He) has a good mind, defending better than last time I saw him by using his feet and establishing better position, but he still struggles getting beat off the wall to the net. (He) has some spunk to him, but was showing less willingness to go back for puck as the game went along. (He) has a big shot and is excellent on the PP, has a defined element to his game.”
(50-59 range) Jack McBain, LW – 6’3, 197
If the Preds are looking for a playmaker at the forward position, McBain could be worth trading up for. He is a power forward, much in the same style of James Neal. He can make plays in small spaces, has good finishing instincts and puts the puck in the net. He uses his vision and awareness to create mismatches. He possesses excellent stick handling with a quick release, which makes him dangerous offensively. The knock on him is that he tries to do it all by himself. This can cause some inconsistency in his game.
“Showed some really good skill, but was inconsistent and seemed to try to do too much by himself,” ISS scout Mark Sauer said. “(It’s) not difficult to see why he is a highly regarded prospect. (He) has great size and strength and is always in motion. (He) pressures the puck hard and is hungry to make things happen. (he) uses his size to win puck battles consistently, has a unique blend of size and skill, and he has the potential to be a rock solid two-way forward in the NHL.”
(55-65 range) Jack Drury, C – 5’11, 180
Another intriguing centerman that can probably be has in the mid-second round. He is a good skater and has the top-end speed you’d like to see out of a top-six center. Scored at better than a point-per-game pace last season, and his assist totals are always high. An underrated part of his game is his shot-blocking ability. He fares well on the penalty kill and uses his grit defensively.
“(A) very smart hockey player,” ISS scout Jose Charbonneau said. “(He has) good puck skills and compete level is good. (He is) strong on the puck at this level, creative and can score and make plays. (His) skating agility is there; pace and explosion will have to improve to be able to play at the higher level.”
(60-70 range) Niklas Nordgren, RW – 5’9, 165
At 5-foot-9, Nordgren is often overlooked. However, players like Viktor Arvidsson and Johnny Gaudreau have shown that even small players can make an impact. He has been a point-per-game player in Finland over the last two years and can put the puck in the net. He possesses a high-caliber shot and an equally high hockey IQ. The knock on his game is that he is not a great skater. This could be a reason why he slips to the mid-second round.
“A small player who has skating issues,” Hockey Prospect scout Mark Edwards said. “Really needs to wow me in other areas to have me consider rating him, let alone rank him high. Nordgren does wow me in three other areas; compete, hockey sense and skill.”
(65-75 range) Chase Wouters, C – 5’11, 177
ISS lists him as the fourth-most underrated prospect in the draft. If the Preds trade up into the second round, he could be a prime target at the center-ice position. He doesn’t excel in the face-off circle, but with aces like Ryan Johansen and Colton Sissons, Wouters can get away with it. He does play a strong two-way game and is great at forcing turnovers. Nobody will outwork or out-compete him. He has good ice vision and is great at finding his open teammates for scoring chances.
“Not much this player can’t do,” ISS scout Mark Sauersaid. “Tenacious player who brings it every shift and wins pucks. (He) plays a full 200-foot game and is effective at both ends of the ice. (He’s) great on both the PP and PK and follows the puck extremely well, which gets him open for passes. (He) can be a little inconsistent on the puck, but when he makes his passes they are right on target. Absolutely love this player’s game, reminds me of Patrice Bergeron.”