NHL Draft War Room: Nashville Predators

by Eldon MacDonald

Aleksander Barkov
Aleksander Barkov: destined for Nashville? (Photo:
Jarno Hietanen)

Potential Nashville Predators Picks

The purpose of this article is to give readers a feel for what the Nashville Predators might be looking for in the upcoming 2013 NHL Draft in New Jersey and to provide some idea as to who may be available and picked with each draft selection. Even if you don’t agree with all of my suggestions, this article should be able to provide you with most of the information needed to make your own selections. To give the reader a fairly wide range of information, we have provided the following:

  • Major Needs
  • Likely Draft Positions and Potential Picks
  • The Major Team Decision Makers
  • The Big Club – Current Roster
  • Top 10 Prospects
  • The Last Three Drafts

The reader should be aware that the suggested picks may or may not be available at the team’s turn at the draft. They are indicative, however, indicative of the types of players that will be available and the types of choices that David Poile will have to make come June 30th in New Jersey.

Other Posts in This Series (War Room Final Rankings – Top 120)

  • Round 1 – Prospects ranked 1 to 30
  • Round 2 – Prospects ranked 31 to 60
  • Round 3 – Prospects ranked 61 to 90
  • Round 4 – Prospects ranked 91 to 120

You can use these posts to get more information on a player ranked 1 to 120 including the following on most prospects:

  • Audio
  • Video
  • Quotes
  • Twitter
  • Stats


Major Needs

1 – Number one centre – All the teams that go anywhere in the playoffs have one; time for Nashville to grab one as they are very scarce.

2 – Solid defenseman  – It seems strange to say that the Nashville Predators require a defenseman since they always seem to be able to draft a good defenseman but the departure of Ryan Suter left a very big void, not likely to be filled by one player alone .

3 – Gritty forward– A little more grit would go a long way in making Nashville more difficult to play against – BPA all the way – Best Pest Available.

4 – Best player available (BPA) – Best player available is always a good draft strategy. However, when there are many players of similar value, it is usually the one who has the qualities your team values the most that comes out on top. However, the team may lean towards defensemen in latter picks because their d-men inventory has been depleted and you are more likely to get lucky with a d-man in the latter picks as they take longer to develop and may not show their true potential as early as forwards.

Likely Draft Positions and Potential Picks

Round 1; pick 4 (The numbers in brackets are my rankings)

  • Preference 1 – AleksanderBarkov (#4)
  • Preference 2 – Elias Lindholm (#6)
  • Preference 3 – Sean Monahan (#7)

For me, Aleksander Barkov, all the way; a 6’2½, 207 lb. (combine measurements) big-time centreman who has already proved he is ready to play against men by being the number one centre for his team in the top Finnish professional league (SM-liiga). Lindholm and Monahan are both good players in their own right but you can’t pass up on the size and skills of Barkov. He gives Nashville the potential of becoming a real contender in a few years.

Round 3: Pick 64 – Historical success rate = 24%

  • Preference 1 – Linus Arnesson(#63)
  • Preference 2 – Michael Downing (#66)
  • Preference 3 –GustavOlofsson (#70)

Potential picks in the 61 to 70 range are: Phillipe Desrosiers, Eric Roy, Linus Arnesson, Nick Sorensen, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Michael Downing, Jan Kostalek, Pavel Buchnevich and Gustav Olofsson.

This is a very good draft year and Nashville would help their cause if they selected any of the three defensive prospects noted above. All are solid defensemen with decent size. I have not included Eric Roy as he is more an offenseman type who needs to improve his defensive hockey game and I think Nashville’s needs would be better suited with a solid defensive type. Jan Kostalek from Rimouski is also a potential pick but he doesn’t have the size of the other three.

Round 4: Pick 95 – Historical success rate = 19%

  • Preference 1 – Jackson Houck (#95)
  • Preference 2 – Mason Geertsen (#100)
  • Preference 3 – Emile Djuse (#101)
  • Preference 4 –Tyler Hill (#99)

Potentially available starting at 92 and ending at 101 are: Teemu Kivilhalme, Juuse Saros, Jackson Houck, Niklas Hansson, Peter Trainor, Brendan Harms, Tyler Hill, Will Butcher, Mason Geertsen and Emile Djuse.

The two Vancouver Giants, Jackson Houck and Mason Geertesn, would look good in a Nashville uniform. Houck brings that BPA outlook (Best Pest Available) night after night and Geertsen brings that so-valued big-time belligerence and truculence. Emile Djuse is a smooth skating Swedish defender who may be close to being ready and Tyler Hill is a 6’6 project on left wing. Tyler could be a major impact player or a bust.

Round 4: Pick 112 – Historical success rate = 19%

  • Preference 1 – Remi Elie (#110)
  • Preference 2 – Jérémy Grégoire (#108)
  • Preference 3 – Miro Aaltonen (#114)

Potentially available starting at 108 and ending at 117 are: Jérémy Grégoire, Jesse Lees, Remi Elie, Wilhelm Westlund, Sean Malone, Eamon McAdam, Miro Aaltonen, Patrik Bartosak, Taylor Cammarata and JC Lipon.

Remi Elie just screams Nashville Predator – not the most skilled but size, speed, work ethic, crash and bang, Nashville Predator. Jérémy Grégoire was supposed to be that big time name but it took him almost to the playoffs to find that big time game – has the potential that you may not want to pass up on. Miro Aaltonen is a player that is much valued in his homeland but has not caught a break on this side of the water – passed up twice in the NHL draft. Was Finland’s best player at the U20’s until he came down with a major injury in, “ouch”, game one. Returned just in time to star in the SM-liiga playoffs – was very, very productive with thirteen points in just eight games.

Round 5: Pick 125 – Historical success rate = 11%

Potentially available starting at 120 and ending at 130 are: Carter Verhaeghe, Tyler Lewington, Alexandre Colombe, Marcus Högberg, Connor Rankin, Cole Cassels, Mitchell Theoret, Spencer Jensen and Ben Harpur.

The Predators have had a lot of success with large-sized European goaltenders and Marcus Högberg fits that bill. Carter Verhaeghe, a player I watched closely in the OHL playoffs, may be better than his numbers indicate. He will likely get every chance to show what he can do next year with Ryan Strome gone. Mitchell Theoret, I also watched very closely in the OHL playoffs for Barrie. He not only played a big man game but showed quite a bit of offense. It was a puzzle to me as to why he was not signed by the Islanders as he was drafted by them in 2011.

Round 5: Pick 140 – Historical success rate = 11%

Round 6: Pick 155 – Historical success rate = 9%

Round 6: Pick 171 – Historical success rate = 9%

Round 7: Pick 185 – Historical success rate = 10%

  • Me 90 – NHL 156 – Matt Murphy
  • Me 97 – NHL 211 – Peter Trainor(3rd time available)
  • Me 109 – NHL unranked – Jesse Lees
  • Me 114 – NHL 230 – MiroAaltonen(3rd time available)
  • Me 119 – NHL >290 – MarkusSøberg
  • Me 124 – NHL 200 – Marcus Högberg
  • Me 125 – NHL 165 – Cole Cassels
  • Me 131 – NHL 175 – Steven Harpur
  • Me 136 – NHL 216 – Evan Allen
  • Me 137 – NHL 289 – Joose Antonen
  • Me 139 – NHL 153 – Evan Cowley
  • Me unranked – NHL unranked – Albert Yarullin (3rd time available)
  • Me unranked – NHL unranked – Mitchell Theoret (re-entry prospect)
  • Me unranked – NHL unranked – Brenden Kichton(re-entry prospect)

It is virtually impossible to tell who might be available from 140 on  so what I did was list those personnel who I have ranked in the 3rd and 4th rounds and the 5th round up to 145 which the NHL has ranked 140 or greaterthat still have a decent chance of still being available. As this is as good time as any to make sure you take the best player available, I have listed the prospects in ranking order. I have also added Albert Yarullinwho has a big shot on the power play,  Mitchell Theoret (6’2, 212) who looked very good for Barrie in the OHL playoffs and BrendenKichton, a power-play quarterback with Spokane.

The Major Team Decision Makers

1 –President of Hockey Operations and General Manager: David Poile

2– Director of Hockey Operations: Brian Poile

3 – Head Scout: Jeff Kealty

4 – Coach: Barry Trotz

The Big Club – Current Roster

Shea Weber
Shea Weber: one of the Nashvillie Predators’ NHL draft day gems. (Icon: SMI)

*One Last Look Before The Craziness of Summer (from NHL.com)


Left Wing


Right Wing


Sergei Kostitsyn

Colin Wilson

Patric Hornqvist


Gabriel Bourque

Mike Fisher

Filip Forsberg


Rich Clune

David Legwand

Brandon YIP


Taylor Beck

Paul Gaustad

Matt Halischuk


Kevin Henderson

Craig Smith

Nick Spaling






Pontus Aberg

Austin Watson

Zach Budish


Brendan Leipsic

Zach Stepan



Jimmy Vesey

Colton Sissons








Roman Josi

Shea Weber

Pekka Rinne


Hal Gill

Kevin Klein

Chris Mason


Victor Bartley

Jonathan Blum


TJ Brennan






Mattias Ekholm

Magnus Hellberg


Jeremy Smith


Top 10 Prospects – My Rankings

1 – 2010 – 018 – Austin Watson

2 –2012 – 037 – Pontus Aberg

3 – 2009 – 041 – Zach Budish

4 – 2009 – 102 – Mattias Ekholm

5– 2011 – 038 – Magnus Hellberg

6 – 2012 – 089 – Brendan Leipsic

7 – 2012 – 066 – Jimmy Vesey

8 – 2012 – 112 – Zach Stepan

9– 2012– 050 – Colton Sissons

10 – 2007 – 054 – Jeremy Smith

The Last Three Drafts

(From The NHL Official Guide & Record Book 2013)






037 Pontus Aberg 038 Magnus Hellberg 018 Austin Watson


050 Colton Sissons 052 Miika Salomaki 078 Taylor Aronson


066 Jimmy Vesey 094 Josh Shalla 126 Patrick Cehlin


089 Brendan Leipsic 112 Garrett Noonan 168 Anthony Bitetto


112 Zachary Stepan 142 Simon Karlsson 198 Joonas Rask


118 Mikko Vainonen 170 Chase Balisy


164Simon Fernholm 202 Brent Andrews


172 Max Gotz


179 Merek Mazanec