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
Preds GM David Poile spoke with the media after Friday's Round 1 of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, discussing the team's trade interest during Round 1 and how the draft board sets up for Saturday's Rounds 2-7.
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