Predators News & Rumors: Draft Lottery, Borowiecki & Svechkov

Silence is consuming the Nashville Predators‘ media landscape. With the 2023 NHL Draft in Nashville this summer, fans should expect the team to relish the opportunity to become a fascinating story through whichever means they see fit. In the meantime, fans can view this next month as the calm before the storm, with retirements and signings taking center stage before the Predators take to the podium at the draft.  

Mark Borowiecki Announces Retirement

Veteran defenseman Mark Borowiecki announced his retirement on May 3, marking the end of his 12-year career. Most of it saw him in an Ottawa Senators uniform; however, he ended his career with the Predators. He signed a two-year, $4 million contract before the 2020-21 season started and eventually re-signed for the 2022-23 campaign. 

Mark Borowiecki Nashville Predators
Mark Borowiecki, Nashville Predators (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

In Borowiecki’s three-year tenure with the Predators, he played 83 regular season games, scoring zero goals and five assists. He also squeaked into two postseason matches in the Preds’ eventual sweep at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche in 2022. He had no points in those games. His scoring does not jump off the stat sheet. He plays a physically dominating game, imposing his will on any player who dares cross his blue line. Borowiecki led the NHL in penalty minutes twice, notably accumulating 151 in just 57 games for the Predators in the 2021-22 season. 

Borowiecki suffered an injury after playing four games for the Predators in the 2022-23 season, sidelining him for the year. He became a leader off the ice, helping other players in the weight room through his time recovering. Along with being a leader in the locker room, he proved to be a leader in his local communities in Nashville and Ottawa, such as supporting causes like ‘Hockey is for Everyone.’ He is a true role model in hockey. His on-ice play may not be as mesmerizing as Auston Matthews or Connor McDavid, but his willingness to touch on topics players in the NHL typically avoid is refreshing and honorable. 

Predators Sign Fedor Svechkov

On May 5, the Predators signed 2021 first-round draft pick Fedor Svechkov to an entry-level deal. This signing was met with mass approval from the fanbase, as another draft pick from the organization is beginning to materialize into an NHL player. In 27 Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) games, he had two goals and two assists for four points playing on Spartak Moskva. The KHL is a much harder hockey league for young players to excel points-wise, so his four points are much more impressive than at first glance. 

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The Predators look to benefit from Svechkov’s notable defensive instincts. His ability to create space for himself while keeping a defensive stick at the ready is why the team’s scouts felt comfortable drafting him 19th overall in the 2021 NHL Draft. He will likely spend most of next season with the Milwaukee Admirals, their American Hockey League affiliate, working on transitioning from European to North American ice. Spurts of playing time in the NHL may pressure the coaching staff to play Svechkov, but expectations for the upcoming season should be limited. Not due to his talent but because of the surge of youth already within the organization, making securing a roster spot and, by default, ice time much more challenging for the 20-year-old.

Predators’ Long Odds in 2023 NHL Draft Lottery

The 2023 NHL Draft Lottery falls on May 8, and for the first time since 2020, the Predators have a chance to move up. The last time they were in the lottery, they had a one-in-eight shot at selecting Alexis Lafreniere, being bunched with the other COVID-19 bubble play-in losers. The New York Rangers won the right to select the then-perceived phenom. This time around, their luck is not as illustrious. 

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The Predators have the 15th-best odds at moving up, sharing a 0.5% chance with the Calgary Flames. Lottery teams can only move up a maximum of 10 spots, a change that came into effect for the 2021 Lottery. If the balls bounce the right way, that small percentage acquitted to the Predators will only yield the fifth overall pick. In a deep draft, that pick should prove to be an impact player, but not Connor Bedard. If they do not move up, Brayden Yager, Colby Barlow, and Matthew Wood are key names that may be available when they select. Regardless, it will be the first must-watch hockey event for fans in the Nashville area since early April. 

2022 NHL Draft Lottery Montreal Canadiens First Overall
Bill Daly announces the Montreal Canadiens’ #1 overall draft position during the 2022 NHL Draft Lottery (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

Borowiecki joins the list of fan favourites to end their career in a Predators jersey, joining goaltender Pekka Rinne in recent years. Fedor Svechkov looks to join the long list of fan favourites, and the social media reaction to his signing makes this a possibility. He has a long way to go before becoming a regular on the team, but he will push everyone to be better at training camp in the fall. As for the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery, it is nothing but wishful thinking, but still an enticing watch.