Recently, I’ve been diving into David Poile’s draft history as general manager of the Nashville Predators. Since he’s been the franchise’s only GM, he’s been at the helm for every draft since 1998. Beginning with that first draft, I’m working forward to the present, with this installment covering the 2005 Draft. For reference, here are the drafts I’ve covered so far:
- 1998: Franchise’s Inaugural Draft
- 1999: Erat Leads to Forsberg
- 2000: Scott Hartnell and Nothing Else
- 2001: Hamhuis and Tootoo
- 2002: What was Poile Thinking?
- 2003: The Suter and Weber Draft
- 2004: Predators Get Franchise Goaltender
The 2005 Draft was another great one league-wide, even if it was a weird one. For starters, the draft only had seven rounds, dropping from the nine in previous years. But more than that, due to the 2004-05 season being canceled, the draft lottery had to be changed, as there was no previous season to use to impact lottery odds. Instead, the league took into account teams’ playoff appearances and the first-overall picks over the previous three years. Each team was guaranteed one lottery ball, with the teams with the highest odds receiving three balls each. In the end, the Pittsburgh Penguins won the lottery, and as pretty much every hockey fan knows by now, picked Sidney Crosby first overall.
A generational talent alone does a lot to improve a draft, but the 2005 Draft was about much more than Crosby. Of the 230 players picked, 111 reached the NHL, or 48.3 percent. As of the 2018-19 season, the draft produced 30 players who played in at least 500 regular-season games, seven who scored more than 200 goals or 500 points, and four goaltenders who won 200 or more games. The first round alone produced eight Stanley Cups, three Hart Trophies, two Vezina Trophies, and two Selke Trophies.
For the Predators, the 2005 Draft wasn’t as good as the 2004 Draft, but was still productive. They had seven selections and five reached the NHL, including four who played in at least 100 games. One of their two seventh-rounders even went on to win two Stanley Cups, but more about him later. First up, is the team’s first-round pick, which could have went a lot better.
Early Rounds (1-2)
Round 1, 18th Overall – Ryan Parent, D (Guelph Storm, OHL)
With the 18th pick of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, the Predators selected defenseman Ryan Parent from the OHL’s Guelph Storm. In 66 games his draft season he had two goals and 19 points. He also captained Team Canada to a U18 World Championship silver medal. He played two more seasons with the Storm, one as an alternate captain and one as the captain, before turning pro. He also played for Canada at the World Junior Championship both years. In Feb. 2007, before he turned pro, the Predators traded him to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for Peter Forsberg.
He made his professional debut with the Flyers at the end of the 2006-07 season. He played parts of three seasons with the Flyers before they traded him back to the Predators in June 2010. The Predators again traded him, this time to the Vancouver Canucks, in Oct. 2010 without playing any games with Nashville. After four NHL games with the Canucks in 2010-11, he played in the AHL and ECHL from 2011-12 through 2015-16 before he retired. For his career he played in 106 NHL games, scored one goal and seven points, and was worth 0.9 point shares. He was an assistant coach for the New Jersey Devils’ AHL affiliate in 2018-19.
Missed Opportunity: Paul Stastny, C – Drafted 44th overall by the Colorado Avalanche
With the Predators already having a strong blue line but needing a center, they should have drafted Paul Stastny instead of Parent. The Avalanche drafted Stastny, son of Hall-of-Famer Peter, out of the University of Denver. He reached the NHL in 2006-07 and finished second in Calder Trophy voting. Through 2018-19 he had played 13 seasons split among the Avalanche, St. Louis Blues, Winnipeg Jets, and Vegas Golden Knights. He had played in 874 NHL games, scored 233 goals and 688 points, and had been worth 71.6 point shares. He also represented the United States at two Winter Olympics and three World Championships.
Middle Rounds (3-5)
Round 3, 78th Overall – Teemu Laakso, D (HIFK, Liiga)
The first of two third-round picks came from the Phoenix Coyotes by way of the Carolina Hurricanes. The Predators used it on Finnish defenseman Teemu Laakso, drafting him out of Liiga’s HIFK. He had two assists in 15 games in Finland’s highest professional league. He also represented Finland at the U18 and U20 Tournaments. He stayed in Finland through 2008-09, when he left for North America, playing the 2008-09 season with the Milwaukee Admirals, the Predators’ AHL affiliate.
He reached the NHL in 2009-10 and stayed with the Predators through 2011-12, never playing in more than nine NHL games in a season. In 2012-13, he left North America for the KHL and finished his NHL career with 17 games played, zero points, and minus-0.1 point shares. He played two seasons in the KHL, three in Sweden’s SHL, and the 2017-18 season with HIFK before retiring. In addition to junior tournaments, he represented Finland at one World Championship.
Missed Opportunity: None
Round 3, 79th Overall – Cody Franson, D (Vancouver Giants, WHL)
With their own third-round pick, the Predators picked another defenseman, this time Cody Franson from the WHL’s Vancouver Giants. He had two goals and 13 points in 64 games his draft season. He played two more seasons with the Giants, both as an alternate captain, before turning pro with the Admirals in 2007-08. He also represented Canada at the World Junior Championship in 2007. He spent the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons in the AHL before debuting and becoming a regular NHLer in 2009-10. In July 2011, the Predators traded him to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
He played parts of four seasons with Toronto before they traded him back to the Predators in a Feb. 2015 deal for Olli Jokinen and a first-round pick. He played the remainder of the 2014-15 season with the Predators before hitting free agency that offseason. He ended his Predators tenure with 164 games, 15 goals, 54 points, and 12.2 point shares. Franson signed with the Buffalo Sabres in Sep. 2015, playing two seasons with them before joining the Chicago Blackhawks for the 2017-18 campaign. He left North America at season’s end and played 2018-19 with Avangard Omsk of the KHL. As of 2018-19, his NHL totals were 550 games played, 43 goals, 212 points, and 37.0 point shares.
Missed Opportunity: Keith Yandle, D – Drafted 105th overall by the Phoenix Coyotes
If the Predators wanted to draft a defenseman, they should have picked Keith Yandle, who was drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes. They picked him from Cushing Academy, a Massachusetts high school. He played the 2005-06 season with the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats before turning pro in 2006-07. He made his NHL debut that season and spent eight-plus seasons with the Coyotes. In March 2015, the Coyotes traded him to the New York Rangers, who dealt him to the Florida Panthers in June 2016. As of 2018-19, he was still with the Panthers and hadn’t missed a game since the 2008-09 season. For his career he had accumulated 907 games, 94 goals, 528 points, and 81.9 point shares. He’d also represented the United States at one World Championship.
Round 5, 150th Overall – Cal O’Reilly, C (Windsor Spitfires, OHL)
In the fifth round, the Predators went with center Cal O’Reilly, Ryan’s older brother. They drafted him from the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires, where he had 23 goals and 73 points in 68 games his draft season. He played one more season in the OHL before he turned pro with the Admirals in 2005-06. He reached the NHL in 2008-09, but didn’t become a consistent NHLer until the 2010-11 season. In Oct. 2011, the Predators traded him to the Coyotes, and his Predators tenure ended with 85 games played, 11 goals, 35 points, and 3.0 point shares. He also played for the Penguins, Sabres, and Minnesota Wild, and as of 2018-19 was captaining the Wild’s AHL team. For his NHL career, he had totaled 145 games, 16 goals, 49 points, and 3.4 point shares.
Missed Opportunity: Mark Fayne, D – Drafted 155th overall by the New Jersey Devils
O’Reilly may have reached the NHL, which is a good outcome for a fifth-round pick, but the Predators should have drafted defenseman Mark Fayne. The Devils picked him out of Noble & Greenough, a Massachusetts high school. He played one more prep season before spending four seasons at Providence College before turning pro and reaching the NHL in 2010-11. He played four seasons with the Devils before he signed as a free agent with the Edmonton Oilers in July 2014. He spent four seasons with the Oilers, including all of 2017-18 in the AHL, before retiring at season’s end. He ended his NHL career with 389 games, 17 goals, 65 points, and 17.0 point shares.
Late Rounds (6-7)
Round 6, 176th Overall – Ryan Maki, RW (Harvard University, NCAA)
In the sixth round the Predators drafted winger Ryan Maki from Harvard University. As a sophomore, he had 10 goals and 19 points in 30 games his draft season. He played two more seasons of college hockey before turning pro with the Admirals in 2006-07. He spent the next three seasons in Nashville’s system, never reaching the NHL, before leaving for Germany in 2010-11. He played that season and the next one with the DEL’s Hannover Scorpions before retiring after the 2011-12 season.
Missed Opportunity: Sergei Kostitsyn, LW – Drafted 200th overall by the Montreal Canadiens
The Predators should have drafted Sergei Kostitsyn instead of Maki. The Montreal Canadiens drafted Kostitsyn from HK Gomel in the Belarusian league. He played the next two seasons in the OHL before reaching the NHL in 2007-08. He played three seasons with the Canadiens before the Predators signed him as a free agent in July 2010. He played three seasons with the Predators before leaving the NHL for the KHL in 2012-13. He finished his NHL career with 353 games, 67 goals, 176 points, and 18.3 point shares. Kostitsyn stayed in the KHL for the duration of his career and captained Dinamo Minsk in 2018-19. He’d also represented Belarus at six World Championships and one Winter Olympics.
Round 7, 213th Overall – Scott Todd, D (Windsor Spitfires, OHL)
With their first of two seventh-round picks, the Predators drafted defenseman Scott Todd from the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires. He had two assists in 44 games with the Spitfires his draft season after being traded to them from the Oshawa Generals during the season. He played two more OHL seasons before playing five seasons for the University of Windsor. The Predators never signed him, but he did play the 2012-13 season in the ECHL with the Idaho Steelheads, after which he retired.
Missed Opportunity: Anton Strålman, D – Drafted 216th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs
The Predators should have drafted another defenseman, Anton Strålman, instead of Todd. The Maple Leafs drafted Strålman three spots after the Predators took Todd. Strålman was drafted from Skövde IK out of Sweden’s Allsvenskan league, the nation’s junior league. He reached the NHL in 2007-08 and also played for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Rangers, and Tampa Bay Lightning, where he played in 2018-19. As of 2018-19, he’d played 12 seasons and had accumulated 749 games, 47 goals, 242 points, and 48.8 point shares. He’s represented Sweden at four World Championships and the World Cup of Hockey in 2016.
Round 7, 230th Overall – Patric Hörnqvist, RW (Väsby IK, Hockeyettan)
The Predators have really good luck with compensatory picks. In 2004, they used one on Pekka Rinne. In 2005, they used one, the last pick of the entire draft, on Swede Patric Hörnqvist. They took him from Väsby IK of Sweden’s third-tier league, where he had 12 goals and 24 points in 28 games his draft season. He stayed in Sweden through 2007-08 and reached the NHL in 2008-09. He became a full-time NHLer in 2009-10, scoring 30 goals and 51 points in 80 games. He stayed with the Predators through 2013-14, totaling 363 games, 106 goals, 216 points, and 27.4 point shares across six seasons. He scored 20 or more goals in every full season.
In June 2014, the Predators traded him, along with Nick Spaling, to the Penguins for James Neal. As of 2018-19, Hörnqvist had played five seasons with the Penguins, winning two Stanley Cups with them. For his career he’d accumulated 718 games, 221 goals, 448 points, and 56.0 point shares. He’d also played at five World Championships, one Olympics, and the World Cup of Hockey. Not bad for the last overall pick.
Missed Opportunity: None
Overall Grade: C+
Five of the Predators’ seven draft picks reached the NHL, although only four did so with Nashville. That’s a good deal of success, but they could have done better with their first-round pick. Hörnqvist saved this draft by becoming a very good NHL winger. Again, the 2005 Draft wasn’t as good as 2004, but it was better than the franchise’s early drafts.
My name is Kyle, and although I’m from Pennsylvania and grew up a Penguins fan, I cover the Predators here at The Hockey Writers. And while I would consider myself a Predators fan, I really enjoy watching all hockey and try to always take an objective approach to things. In addition to covering the Preds, I write hockey history and some statistical analysis pieces as well as book reviews.