Sunday, June 28, 2015

Predators Draft Fills Needs at Center

The Nashville Predators completed the 2015 Entry Draft by selecting 4 centers, 2 goalies, and 1 defenseman. The team is looking to stock the pipeline where they are the weakest, and that is at the center position.

Now the Predators have to develop these young players, especially at the center position, something that the team has been unable to do well throughout its history. The Predators 4 centers that were used in the past season all came to the organization via trade or free agency.

The talent at the pivot position in this draft is there. And the Predators have shown they can develop young talent at other positions that they have drafted into their system. They must now develop this talent and hope they mature quickly as the Predators are weak and thin at center.

Lets take a look at the players drafted:

Iakov Trenin 

Trenin is a 6'2', 194 lb. Russian that played for Benoit Groulx at Gatineau in the QMJHL. Trenin was ranked as the 36th best prospect by; and the 48th best prospect by Future Considerations and the NHL Central Scouting service. That he fell to the Predators in the 55th pick (their first pick of the draft) of the second round was fortuitous. Trenin is considered a good two way player and rates high in his hockey sense. Trenin posted 18 goals and 49 assists in 58 games as a 17 year old in his first year in North America. His biggest weakness, according to scouts, is his skating, but it is believed that this can improve significantly.

Thomas Novak

The 85th pick in the draft, the third rounder has committed to the University of Minnesota. The 6' 179 lb. center is considered to be a highly skilled play maker that plays with good vision. Novak has a reputation as a play maker first and a scorer second. Herepresented Team USA in the World Junior A Challenge and the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, and played last season for Waterloo in the USHL. Novak is rated as an excellent skater and playmaker that plays an up tempo game.

Anthony Richard

Richard, a 5'10" 163 lb. center, played for Val d'or of the QMJHL and posted 91 points (43G-48A) in 66 games. Although smallish, Richard is not afraid to go to the hard areas and mix it up physically. Richard has been compared to the Boston Bruins Brad Marchand as a similar type of player. Richard is a very fast skater that uses his speed to attack a defense. Richard was selected in the 4th round with the 100th pick.

Alexandre Carrier

Carrier was a teammate with Trenin and was the captain of the Gatineau squad. The defenseman led the Olympiques blue liners in points with 55 (12G-43A) in 68 games and was third on the team in scoring. Carrier is 5'11" and 174 lbs, and the 19 year old is a good puck moving defender. He has a hard shot that gets through to the net. He is considered an all around defenseman that has good hockey sense and can create offense.

Karel Vejmelka

In the fifth round, the Predators selected the 6'2" 202 lb. goalie from Pardubice, Czech Republic. The 19 year old is currently signed for HC Dynamo Pardabuice. He is a big goalie that moves well and shows great agility in the crease. Hw qon a silver medal for the Czech under 18 team in the World Championships in 2014.

Tyler Moy

The 6' 195 lb center will return to Harvard for his junior season with the Crimson. This past year, Moy was voted by his teammates as the most improved player on the squad. A good two way player that uses his body well to protect the puck. He is just starting to come into his own as a hockey player and will need to continue to show the progress that he has shown in the past two seasons.

Evan Smith

The 6'7" 174 lb Smith is a clone of former Predators netminder Anders Lindback- big and lanky. He will need to grow into his frame, but he moves well and covers a lot of net with his size. He will play for Victoria in the Western Hockey League next season.

The Predators have drafted some players with lots of potential. The real test will be to see if these players can develop and realize that potential and make it to the big club.