The Nashville Predators elected to split their draft picks among defensemen and forwards, taking three of each in this summer’s draft. After finishing fourth in the division last season, The music city looks to bounce back in the upcoming 2021-2022 campaign.
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Fyodor (Fedor) Svechkov, C, HC Lada Togliatti of the VHL (Round 1, Pick 19)
Zachary L’Heuruex, F, Halifax Mooseheads (Round 1, Pick 27)
Anton Olsson, D, Malmö of the SHL (Round 3, Pick 72)
Ryan Ufko, D, USHL’s Chicago Steel (Round 4, Pick 115)
Jack Matier, D, Ottawa 67’s of the OHL (Round 4, Pick 124)
Simon Knak, F, HC Davos of National League (Round 6, Pick 179)
Aside from Knak, the Predators did an average job at selecting solid talent at the available slot in the draft. Getting a cluster of three defensemen in their middle rounds indicates Nashville’s buy-in on a new defensive foundation. Analysts consider Svechkov and Olsson to be two of the most NHL-ready players out of the Predators selections and could possibly get ice time as a taxi player’s in the coming season if Covid plays as big a role as it did in last years playoffs.
Best Pick: Fyodor Svechkov
Highly touted as the best Russian forward in this year’s draft, Svechkov has the potential to make an impact on this Predators roster sooner than later. In 26 games with Russia’s U18 team, he tallied 43 points in 26 games to help carry his squad to the playoffs, as well as posting three goals and six assists in the following eight post-season games. Svechkov has shown plenty of scoring ability, and with the prowess he possesses on the ice, it’s reasonable to assume he can crack a top-six forward spot on The Predators roster in the next few seasons.
Worst Pick: Simon Knak
Although he has posted favorable stats in two seasons with the Portland Winterhawks, Knak hasn’t provided enough sufficient production to be considered a prospect with top-line potential in the Predators organization. As a late-rounder, Knak is a safe gamble, and the front office in Nashville will remain confident they selected a promising forward with their final pick, although many have predicted otherwise.
Sleeper Pick: Anton Olsson
Considered a workhorse, Olsson is known as being a solid defender with an innate ability to predict his opponent’s gameplan, as well as disrupt any offensive fluidity thru his physicality and aggression on the boards. Nashville is in the market for a cerebral defender and Olsson could quite possibly be their chance at nailing that target.
The Predators did well with the few picks they had in addressing vital needs throughout this hockey club. Acquiring players like Scvechkov and L’Heuruex will inject this organization with needed speed and goal-scoring, while a solid pick in Olsson and security pick in Ufko provide some backup on the blueline. Overall, Nashville should be happy with their first three picks, as they all seem to provide the youth and production necessary to get this Predators team back in the mix.
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