Jeff Kealty enters his ninth season as the Nashville Predators Chief Amateur Scout and 15th campaign with the organization in 2015-16. While his primary responsibility is monitoring the best draft-eligible talent around the globe and spearheading the team’s annual efforts at the NHL Entry Draft, Kealty also keeps an eye on the development of prospects in the CHL, NCAA and other junior leagues across North America and Europe.
Chief Amateur Scout
The Boston native has overseen Nashville’s past seven drafts, helping to bolster the club’s depth across the board, selecting 37 forwards, 18 defensemen and eight goalies since his first year running Nashville’s draft table in 2008.
Nashville continued to reap the benefits of Kealty and his staff’s astute drafting in 2014-15. Of the seven 2014 draftees to appear in the NHL last season, Nashville had two of them – Kevin Fiala – the 11th overall selection who also dressed for a 2015 Stanley Cup Playoff game – and Viktor Arvidsson – selected 112th overall. Seth Jones, selected fourth overall in 2013, has played more games than any other player from his draft class, while Filip Forsberg – who led the Preds in points in 2014-15 and is an emerging superstar for the club – was ranked third by Nashville’s scouting staff for the 2012 Entry Draft, an integral component in his acquisition from Washington.
Other homegrown selections selected early in the Kealty era such as Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, Craig Smith, Colin Wilson and Gabriel Bourque have developed into core pieces of the Predators. Further down the organizational depth chart, Nashville is bullish on the development of Colton Sissons, Marek Mazanec, Miikka Salomaki, Anthony Bitetto and Austin Watson – all of whom have made their NHL debuts – as well as goaltender Juuse Saros and power forward Vladislav Kamenev, who are expected to play their rookie AHL seasons in 2015-16, and 2012 third rounder and rising Harvard senior Jimmy Vesey, a 2015 Hobey Baker Finalist.
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), and daughter Hannah reside in Norfolk, Mass.