Notes From This Week's Scouting Meetings
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.