Predators Draft Review
Jun 23, 2008
With two first-round picks for the first time in franchise history, the Nashville Predators selected Boston University forward Colin Wilson (Seventh overall) and goaltender Chet Pickard (18th overall) of the Tri-City Americans at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ont.
The Predators executed a trade prior to each of their first-round picks. The first occurred when Nashville acquired the seventh overall pick from the New York Islanders (via Toronto) for selections No. 9 and 40 – two of the three draft picks Nashville obtained from Florida for goaltender Tomas Vokoun at the 2007 Entry Draft. Then prior to the 15th selection, Nashville traded the pick to Ottawa for pick No. 18 and a third rounder in the 2009 Entry Draft.
With the seventh pick, the Preds took Wilson – the 10th-rated North American skater by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau. A native of Greenwich, Conn., Wilson is coming off his rookie season at Boston University, where he became the fifth player in school history to be named Hockey East Rookie of the Year. The 6-1, 215-pound center posted 35 points (13g-22a) in 37 games with the Terriers in 2007-08, ranking second in conference scoring among freshmen and third on the BU Terriers.
"Colin is a combination of a skilled and power forward,” Central Scouting's Gary Eggleston said. “He is very strong, has excellent hands and is a very good passer and playmaker.”
Wilson was a teammate of fellow Predator prospects Blake Geoffrion, Ryan Flynn and Jeremy Smith at the 2008 World Junior Championships, where he tied for the overall goal scoring lead with six (6-1-7) for Team USA. The power forward also comes from hockey bloodlines – his father, Carey, played 552 NHL games over 12 seasons for Calgary, Hartford and the New York Islanders.
At pick No. 18, Pickard became first goaltender selected in the 2008 Draft and just the second goaltender in Predators franchise history selected in the first round. A native of Winnipeg, Man., Pickard won the 2008 Del Wilson Trophy as the WHL's Goaltender of the Year after posting a league-high 46 wins in 2007-08 (46-12-4). He also ranked fourth among WHL goalies in save percentage (.918), and helped lead the Americans to the WHL Western Conference final, compiling an 11-3-2 record with a 1.78 goals-against average and a .937 save-percentage in the playoffs.
“He is very strong in his crease and he isn't predictable,” NHL Central Scouting's Al Jensen said. “His net coverage is very good and he reads the play well. I think he presents himself very well in the net and he has very good goalie instincts. He is very consistent, which is a big positive. The first time I saw Pickard, I saw (19-year pro) Olaf Kolzig."
The Predators filled out a balanced draft class on Day 2 of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft selecting two defensemen, a pair of forwards and a goaltender. After making five trades, which included picking up a pair of seventh round picks in addition to trading two 2008 fourth rounders for picks in the same round at next year’s draft, Nashville finished the two-day process with three forwards, two defensemen and two goaltenders.
The Predators started Day 2 of the 2008 Entry Draft the same way it kicked off the event on Friday night – with a trade. The Predators acquired the 38th pick from Phoenix for picks No. 46 (second round) and 76 (third round). With its third selection, Nashville then tabbed Roman Josi, a 6-1, 183-pound defenseman from Bern of the Swiss League.
"Roman gained valuable experience and confidence playing regularly with Bern, a top team in the senior Swiss league,” said Central Scouting in its Final Rankings. “He is a good playmaking defenseman with good decision making ability and an ability to make tape-to-tape passes.”
The sixth-rated European Skater by CSS, Josi compares himself to versatile NHLer Mark Streit, who posted 62 points (13g-49a) in 81 games for Montreal in 2007-08. Playing for his hometown team of Bern in 2007-08, Josi notched eight points (2g-6a) in 35 games and represented his nation at both the 2008 World Junior Championships and the 2008 Under-18 World Championships, posting five points (1g-4a).
The Predators chose to trade away both of their fourth rounders, picking up two seventh-round picks later in the day in addition to a pair of fourth-round selections in 2009: the 106th selection went to San Jose for pick No. 207 (seventh round) and a fourth-round selection in 2009 (originally Toronto’s pick), and pick No. 111 (acquired for Chris Mason) went back to the New York Rangers (originally the Rangers’ pick, acquired through St. Louis) for pick No. 201 and the Rangers’ fourth rounder in 2009.
With its second pick of Day 2 in the fifth round, Nashville claimed forward Taylor Stefishen. A 5-11, 170-pound left wing, Stefishen spent the 2007-08 season with the Langley Chiefs of the BCHL, where he posted 81 points (33g-48a) in 57 games. The North Vancouver, B.C., native has signed a letter of intent to play for Ohio State University in 2008-09.
"He has an overall good skill set with good puck-handling skills,” NHL Central Scouting's Blair Macdonald said. “He is a good skater with good vision."
The Predators chose defenseman Jeffrey Foss of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (ECAC) with their sixth-round pick, the third college or college-bound player chosen by the club in their first five selections. Foss, who hails from Morehead, Minn., appeared in all 38 of RPI’s games as a freshman in 2007-08, posting four points (1g-3a) and 28 penalty minutes.
Nashville took a pair of Scandinavians with its two seventh rounds, claiming Finnish center Jani Lajunen 201st overall and Swedish goalie Anders Lindback with pick No. 207. Lajunen has played the past two seasons with the Espoo Blues Junior team, a club that also produced current Preds prospect Antti Pihlstrom. The 6-1, 174-pound pivot posted 14 points (4g-10a) in 25 games in 2007-08. Lindback, the third-rated European goaltender, split time between Brynas of the Swedish Elite League and Almtuna of Sweden’s second division in 2007-08. The 6-6, 198-pounder finished third among junior goaltenders in the second division with a 3.07 goals-against average.
Through trades from this weekend’s proceedings, Nashville now holds 11 selections in next summer’s 2009 Entry Draft in Montreal.