Get to know the Preds 2012 Draft Class
No. 37 Pick Pontus Aberg
No. 50 Pick Colton Sissons
No. 66 Pick Jimmy Vesey
No. 112 Pick Zachary Stepan
No. 118 Pick Mikko Vainonen
The first round of the draft played out pretty close to how the Preds projected and the team stayed pat, retaining all nine of its selections for Day 2 tomorrow, including two pick in the second round. David Poile termed the day as the time the team "had to pay its debts" for past trade deadline moves (Gaustad and Gill this year, Fisher last year).
Nashville will be on the clock with the seventh selection tomorrow (No. 37 overall) and then 13 picks later at No. 50. The Preds scouts remain optimistic with the talent they see still remaining on the board and feel they have a good chance to grab three coveted players with the team's first three selections (the two second round picks and the No. 66 pick early in Round 3).
We're through 20 picks in the first round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. The Preds table had been active during the first 10 picks, but it has become much quieter over the last 5 or 6 selections.
Seems like the Preds are more likely to hold tight with the two second round picks at this point, but as I type that, David Poile went over to talk with Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero for a brief conversation. Pittsburgh has the No. 22 pick, so possible something could be involved there, but traditionally the home team at drafts tend to make trades to move up in the draft, not slide back.
So far no real surprises in the draft through the first four picks, however, David Poile has been pretty active in conversations during the last two selections. Conversations arise frequently throughout the draft process, so don't read too much into the activity, but it could be a precursor to activity later in the draft ... whether tonight or tomorrow.
Check out this year's Preds NHL Entry Draft hat
We're a few minutes away from the start of this year's draft. Pretty good energy in the building here in Pittsburgh. Upper level of the arena is packed with fans; pretty boisterous group during the team introductions.
Currently the Preds do not own a pick in tonight’s first round, but don’t discount the option of a trade. Nashville’s nine picks – including two in the second round – give David Poile some good trade bait.
The Preds scouting staff has been holed up in meeting rooms this week finalizing the team's draft board for this weekend. A few things have stood out from their progress so far...
... the team is once again committed to picking the best player available regardless of position. In fact, look for Nashville to fill depth at all three positions (forward, defense, goaltending) during this year's draft. Keep in mind, the Preds have not selected a defenseman in the first or second round in each of the last two drafts; the highest selected d-man the team has selected in that time is Taylor Aronson with the 78th overall selection in the 2010 Draft. Not saying the team is targeting defensemen this year either, but they won't shy away from the position if that's the best player available when they pick.
... look for the Preds to be a popular partner in trade discussions this weekend. With nine picks -- including multiple selections in the second, fourth, and sixth rounds -- the Preds have some attractive pieces to dangle this weekend. While Nashville's scouts sound excited about the prospects projected in the second round, depending on how the first half of the first round unfolds, don't be surprised if the Preds are involved in discussions during the mid-to-late part of the first round.
... prospect Joonas Jarvinen has drawn very high marks from the Preds scouting staff. Signed in late May as a free agent, Jarvinen will make his North American debut this season. Several on the Preds scouting staff expect Jarvinen to make a strong push for a third-pair defenseman slot out of training camp. Jarvinen is a little older (23) and more experienced (over 300 regular season and playoff games in the Finnish Elite League) than a traditional prospect, so while Nashville tends to prefer its prospects to spend at least a little bit of time in Milwaukee, if Jarvinen doesn't make the Opening Night Roster for the Preds, don't be surprised if he's forcing his way on to the NHL radar screen by around Thanksgiving time.
... while the Preds amateur scouts have been finalizing the team's draft list, the organization's pro scouts have been equally as diligent reviewing the team's options heading into the July 1 trade deadline; reviewing lists from players the Preds would like to re-sign to replacement options/upgrades for players on the roster. The goal is to have plans in before the July 1 free agent frenzy and then be able to adapt accordingly as players sign.
With the Stanley Cup Finals all wrapped up, attention now turns to the NHL Entry Draft. Currently the Preds hold eight selections in the this year’s draft, but most are backloaded in the later rounds with two fourth round picks and three sixth round picks, while the team is missing selections in the first and second rounds due to trades during the season.
Picks By Round
1st Round – none (NSH pick traded to Buffalo in Gaustad trade)
2nd Round – 2 (NSH pick traded to Montreal in Gill trade)
3rd Round – 1 (TOR pick - acquired in a 2011 draft day trade; NSH pick traded to OTT in Fisher trade)
4th Round – 2 (NSH pick; PHX pick – acquired in O’Reilly trade)
5th Round – 1 (NSH pick)
6th Round – 3 (DAL pick – acquired in Smithson trade, was previously acquired by FLA; NSH pick; NYR pick – acquired in a 2011 draft day trade)
7th Round – none
Scoreboard Doesn't Match Play -- Nashville controlled the play for the strong majority of the second period, but the scoreboard doesn't indicated the level to which the Preds have out-played the Coyotes. Nashville owns a 22-12 edge in shots on goal and a 46-28 bulge in shot attempts. The shots on goal and shots attempted are much more indicative of zone time and level of play through the first two periods of play.
Counter attacks -- Nashville was victimized on two counter-attacks by the Coyotes in the second period for both of Phoenix's goals in the period. On the first, the Preds had a strong offensive shift when Weber's shot through a screen was blockered to the corner; Weber and Suter lost contain on the high forward and the Coyotes hit Shane Doan for a breakaway. Rinne made the initial save, but Phoenix beat Nashville to the rebound and scored on the regroup with traffic in front of Rinne. On the second, the Preds again had a strong offensive shift, but Legwand was dumped in the corner creating numbers through transition for the Coyotes. Phoenix hit the trail forward for the 2-0 lead.
No luck from the posts -- The Preds rang a pair of great scoring chances off the post in the second period. Josi came out of the penalty box and joined Radulov on a two-on-one 6:20 into the period; Josi's shot eluded Smith but dinged the post and then the puck hopped over Radulov's stick on the backdoor preventing an easy tap in. Legwand's drive was deflected with a diving desperation save by Smith and then the rebound back out the other side to Josi was blocked by the back-checking defenseman in the goal crease. On Nashville's next power-play -- with 9:01 left in the frame -- Weber teed up a shot from the center point which beat Smith to the glove side, but caught the post flush; the rebound attempt by Andrei Kostitsyn was pushed into Smith's pads low.
Fisher centering Erat and Wilson
Legwand centering Bourque and Hornqvist
Spaling centering A. Kostitsyn and Radulov
Gaustad centering S. Kostitsyn and Yip
Suter and Weber
Josi and Gill
Bouillon and Klein
Strong 1-on-1 -- The Predators were very good in one-on-one battles during the first period, especially along the boards, winning the majority of one-on-ones during the first period. Radulov was strong, winning back pucks on a couple of occasions in the offensive zone to extend zone time.
Rolling Four -- The Preds got solid shifts from all four lines during the period, allowing the coaches to spred the even strength ice time farily equally during the opening frame. Fisher was high among team forwards with 5:32 ice time in the period; Sergei Kostitsyn was low with 2:25. The other 10 forwards were all over 3:00 of ice time with four others drawing more than 5:00 in the frame.
Good Start -- That was a very good road period for the Preds. Nashville played a disciplined --- what Coach Trotz likes to call "detailed" --- first period. In doing so, the Preds limited Phoenix's scoring chances to only two or three high quality opportunities. As a result, the crowd, which was buzzing at puck drop had quieted noticeably by around four minutes into the game.