Preds Take Six in Draft
Chicago (June 24, 2017) – The Predators made five more selections in Rounds Two through Seven to conclude the 2017 NHL Draft from the United Center on Saturday in Chicago, taking two forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender. Those selections come in addition to the team’s pick of forward Eeli Tolvanen with the 30th selection on Friday night.
“It was a nice feeling to be in that back row, a good reflection of a good year,” Predators General Manager David Poile said. “[Adding scoring through the Draft], that’s been a theme we’ve been trying to stay consistent on is to build up our forwards and our offensive game… The emphasis is pretty clear, just speed and skill, not trying to vary too much from that. I don’t think it was anything extraordinary that we did to go off page, just pretty consistent with the type of players we’re looking for.”
First up on Saturday for the Preds in Round Two was Grant Mismash, a center from Edina, Minnesota. Mismash skated predominantly for the U.S. National Team Development Program during the 2016-17 season, recording 26 goals and 61 points to go along with 106 penalty minutes in 56 games, with his 61 points tying for the team lead.
Internationally, the 6-foot, 181-pound center helped the United States win a gold medal at the 2017 Under-18 World Championship with three goals and eight points in seven games. He also represented his country at the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge with two goals and five points in five games.
Mismash has committed to the University of North Dakota for the 2017-18 season.
“He’s a good-sized kid who can skate, really knows how to protect and move the puck, makes others around him better – just a good all-around, two-way offensive forward that can play in your top nine,” Predators North American Amateur Scout Tom Nolan said. “We just think he’s going to take off going to school here and we’re looking forward to it.”
In Round Three, it was a teammate of Mismash’s from the U.S. NTDP, defenseman David Farrance, who heard his name called by the Preds.
Farrance, who called Preds defenseman P.K. Subban one of his favorite players, posted seven goals and 37 points in 64 contests for the U.S. NTDP in 2016-17, and like Mismash, also helped the United States win a gold medal at the 2017 Under-18 World Championship with two goals and three points in seven games.
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound blueliner is a product of the Syracuse Jr. Stars system, being named most valuable player and defenseman of the year in 2014-15 with the under-16 team. A native of Rochester, New York, Farrance already knew Predators Director of Player Development and fellow Rochester resident, Scott Nichol, and says he has skated with Nichol’s children on occasion.
Farrance is committed to Boston University for the 2017-18 season.
“He’s a great skating, puck-moving defenseman and he’s savvy with the puck,” Nolan, who compared Farrance to Caroline defenseman Justin Faulk, said. “We feel the way the games going in the NHL right now, this is a great pick for us.”
Without a selection in Round Four, the Preds went to the crease in the Fifth Round and selected goaltender Tomas Vomacka, a Czech Republic native who skated for Corpus Christi in the North American Hockey League during the 2016-17 season.
After posting a .923 save percentage during his first season in North America, the 6-foot-3 netminder was named NAHL South Division Goaltender of the Year, as well as the All-South Division Team and USHL All-Rookie Team.
Vomacka, who says he looked up to former Preds goaltender Tomas Vokoun and models his game after current Preds goaltender Pekka Rinne, plans on playing for Sioux City of the United States Hockey League next season before attending the University of Connecticut.
“He’s super athletic, super flexible, loves to the play the position, has a lot of flair for the position but hasn’t had a lot of structure and guidance, and that’s what excites you about him for the upside,” Predators North American Amateur Scout Ryan Rezmierski said of Vomacka. “You hope maybe there’s an ounce of Pekka in him, but he does play with that activeness and competes and comes up with saves that he has no business making at times.”
Round Six saw the Preds select Russian center Pavel Koltygin from Drummondville of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with the 176th overall pick.
The 6-foot center produced 22 goals and 47 points in 65 games during his first season in North America, a player that has plenty of skill and potential on the offensive side of the puck.
“He’s an offensive player, natural skater, talented with the puck and has good vision,” Predators North American Amateur Scout J-P Glaude said. “For that type of player, Russian, speaking no French or English and playing in Quebec, first time on the smaller North American ice, he had great production and I’m very excited.
With their final selection of the 2017 Draft, Nashville went with defenseman Jacob Paquette with the 216th overall selection in the seventh round.
Paquette has patrolled the blue line for Kingston of the Ontario Hockey League for the past two seasons, posting a total of 23 points in 115 games.
“He’s a very good defensive defenseman,” Predators Chief Amateur Scout Jeff Kealty said of Paquette. “He’s a big, strong kid, very good defensive detail in the sense that his positioning and reads are always very solid. There’s not a ton of flash to him, but if you look at some of the skilled puck movers we’ve taken the last couple years…this is a guy that really balances those guys out quite well.”
The Nashville Predators’ top prospects, including several of this year’s picks, are expected to participate in the club’s 2017 Development Camp, officially opening on Monday, June 26 in Nashville. The 2017 Development Camp will conclude on Friday, June 30 when the prospects participate in a Future Stars Game at Bridgestone Arena. For more information on Predators Development Camp, visit NashvillePredators.com.