Kealty, now in his 13th season with the organization, has been managing the club’s amateur scouting operation as the Predators Chief Amateur Scout since July 25, 2007. In addition to monitoring the best draft-eligible talent around the globe, Kealty keeps an eye on the CHL, NCAA and other junior leagues in North America and Europe. Reporting to Assistant General Manager Paul Fenton, Kealty also spearheads the team’s annual efforts at the NHL Entry Draft.
Chief Amateur Scout
The Boston native has overseen Nashville’s past six drafts, helping to bolster the club’s depth across the board, selecting 29 forwards, 14 defensemen and six goalies since his first year running Nashville’s draft table in 2008. In 2013, Kealty and his staff were elated to choose the top player on their draft list for the first time in franchise history after seeing potential future superstar defenseman Seth Jones slip to them at the fourth overall. The 2013 Draft class was rounded out with a collection of size, grit, and potential steals from overseas, further bolstering a deep prospect pool.
Three more Predators prospects, in addition to 2012 first-round pick Filip Forsberg – who the amateur scouting staff had ranked third his draft year and was acquired from Washington on April 3, 2013 – made their NHL debuts with the team in 2012-13. Several more, like 2011 second-round selection Magnus Hellberg, 2012 third rounder Brendan Leipsic and 2012 sixth-round choice Marek Mazanec, broke out in various leagues around the world. Hellberg ranked among the AHL’s top four goaltenders in league goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts during his rookie season with the Milwaukee Admirals, Leipsic won the major junior scoring title, and Mazanec led his Czech League team to its first championship.
While 2008 selections Colin Wilson and Roman Josi continue to emerge as integral components of the Predators present and future, the 2009 draft class might be the most well-rounded to date. Third-round selec¬tion Taylor Beck (70th overall) was the latest to emerge of the class, leading Milwaukee in scoring and spending the final six weeks of the 2012-13 season with the Predators, while Ryan Ellis (11th overall, first round), Craig Smith (98th overall, fourth round), Mattias Ekholm (102nd overall, fourth round) and Gabriel Bourque (132nd overall, fifth round) are all expected to be part of the Predators’ lineup for years to come.
A former first-round pick (22nd overall) of the Quebec Nordiques in 1994, Kealty was signed by Nashville as a free agent in 1998 following a four-year college career at Boston University. The former defenseman played one pro season for the Milwaukee Admirals (International Hockey League) before his playing career was cut short due to injury.
Kealty, his wife Lynn, daughter Lydia and son James (twins) reside in Norfolk, Mass.