The NHL Entry Draft begins on Tuesday night in a virtual setting and the Nashville Predators will be drafting at the 11 spot. They may not get a “sure-fire, play next season” type of player, but they will get a very good prospect at that position, assuming they do not make a deal to move up.
A deal may happen as multiple teams have multiple first round picks, Ottawa has three (13 overall in this draft) selecting at 3, 5 and 28. New Jersey has three picking at 7, 18 and 20. The New York Rangers has an additional pick after their #1 selection at 22 and Anaheim has two at 6 and 27.
The overwhelming consensus from the NHL.com mock drafts is that Nashville will select Jack Quinn, a right wing who plays for Ottawa in the OHL. The 6’ 176 lb right wing has an outstanding shot and a tendency to be able to get that shot off in a multitude of situations. Quinn had an outstanding year, potting 52 goals in 62 games for the 67’s along with 37 assists making him a point plus per game player and a great offensive prospect for the Predators. Another tantalizing bit about Quinn is that he has developed a very solid defensive game, unusual in this type of prospect.
Quinn is one of only eight OHL players to post at least 50 goals in his NHL Entry Draft eligible season since 2000. Five of those names are very recognizable to NHL fans, Jeff Skinner, Alex DeBrincat, John Tavares, Steven Stankos and Patrick Kane. Heady company indeed.
All that being said, I wonder if Quinn meteoric rise in the draft rankings (he was unranked in some preseason draft rankings) may make GM’s want to grab him higher than they should and he may not be available at 11. Two notable draft experts have him ranked in the top ten, Bob McKenzie has him at 10, Craig Button has him at 6.
In this observer’s opinion, I wouldn’t complain if Nashville picked him, but this team has to start re-stocking the defensive pipeline as offensive prospects like Rem Pitlick, Eeli Tolvanen and Philip Tomasino begin to compete for top six minutes with the big club. The blueline, traditionally a strength of this team, is looking a little thin in the prospect pool.
This is the reason that I am intrigued by NTDP defenseman Jake Sanderson. At 6’2” 185 lb, the 18 year old has incredible hockey sense, excellent vision and is not afraid to be physical. It makes sense he would have that, being the son of former NHL player (and noted early years Pred-killer) Geoff Sanderson. The Whitefish, Montana native may not be available at 11, but if he is… the Predators should snap him up.
Sanderson was the captain of the U-18 US National Team from the USA Hockey development program and is committed to go to the University of North Dakota for the upcoming year but the Nashville Predators reputation for developing great defenseman could be mighty enticing to the youngster, if drafted by the Preds. He has the natural skills that this organization loves, skating ability, speed, puck control and an offensive bent. As the Predators work to get back to their roots, to get back to the “Predator Way” this selection would be a clear indication of the seriousness of that directive.
He has been looked at as a “second ten” draft pick, which means that the Predators 11th pick could be the perfect spot, but many mock drafts have him being selected much higher. This potential bears watching.
If Sanderson or Quinn isn’t available, then the Preds will go with the best available player, as they normally do… the more intriguing picks may be the two second rounders as they own the 37th and 42nd overall picks in the draft, the second round is on Wednesday.
Don’t underestimate the importance of this draft. This year’s draft class is being compared to the depth of the 2003 draft that was done in Nashville… and we all know the fruits of that year’s harvest. 23 All-Stars in the first two rounds alone and of course… the selections of Ryan Suter, Kevin Kline and Shea Weber by the Preds.
Random Notes – Presented by
- Draft Dealings
- The rumors continue to swirl around Nashville centers and a potential move around the draft. A surprise trade? A buyout? This bears close watching…
- Free Agency
- You do wonder who the Preds target when free agency opens on October 9th. I’ve been saying it on SlapShot Radio for awhile, this team needs some excellent role players to compliment the talent it has… Patrick Maroon anyone?
- Other UFA potentials
- You are hearing names like Jesper Fast (who I would really like to see in Predator Gold,) Dylan Demelo (ditto,) Conor Sheary and even the potential for a Kevin Shattenkirk sighting. Things are going to get kinda crazy real quick.
- It has to disheartening to see the COVID outbreak caused postponements in the NFL… the planning for the upcoming NHL season could very well be impacted by the next few weeks of infections.
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