As dawn breaks on Day 4 of the SB Nation NHL Mock Draft, I'm happy to say that we're able to select Jordan Schroeder for the Nashville Predators. While a number of interesting prospects are available at this point (including, for example, Scott Glennie of the Brandon Wheat Kings), Schroeder is a prolific two-way performer for the University of Minnesota, and in our reader poll, Schroeder is the runaway favorite with more than three times as many votes as his next closest competitor.
As a freshman, Schroeder was the 2nd leading scorer on the Golden Gophers, and played alongside Nashville's 1st-round pick from last year, Colin Wilson, at the World Juniors where he stood out as a team leader. So after the jump, let's check out some opinions and video of our next "mock" Nashville Predator...
At just 5' 9" tall one might be worried about whether Schroeder can physically handle the NHL game, but scouts don't seem too concerned there. This comes from NHL Central Scouting's Jack Barzee:
"He’s a dynamic player, a leader and a type of player that has developed into a complete offensive and defensive threat every time he is on the ice. He has a rocket of a wrist shot and he can beat you by putting the puck in the net, going around a defender, or freezing the goaltender and passing it off to one of his wingers. The concern is going to be his overall size, like there was with Scott Gomez, with Brian Gionta and with Patrick Kane, but at the same age he is probably a little thicker and a little bit more compact than they were. He’s a great hockey player."
From The Copper And Blue, we have the following:
Jordan Schroeder is an incredible talent, a player whose only real weakness is the fact that he stands 5'9". He's a dynamic offensive producer, but he's also reasonably competent in his own end, playing on the penalty kill. He can shoot or pass and his shot is generally described as "underrated" because he tends to be a pass-first player.
Hockey's Future has a VERY thorough look at Schroeder's game and background. I'll quote a couple paragraphs here, but I highly recommend heading over to read the whole thing:
While some may feel that Schroeder’s lack of size could hinder his chances of being a top ten selection at the upcoming NHL Entry Draft, he has proven time and again that he is more than capable of competing against bigger and stronger players. Schroeder is remarkably strong on his skates and while he is still growing into his body, the strength that he now has he uses to great advantage. This can be seen in areas such as protecting the puck and his play along the boards. Schroeder has also demonstrated that he can handle the physically punishing aspects of the game as well.
Schroeder is an excellent skater with tremendous speed who is also very good in transition. He is versatile in that he can play both center and wing equally well. He is a superb playmaker with passing skills that are among the best in college hockey today. One aspect that sets him apart from many collegiate rookies is his great patience and poise with the puck.
He also spent some time in Ann Arbor at the US National Team Development Program. Having a guy on the team that I can reminisce with about Blimpy Burger or Mr. Spot's sounds like a fine idea to me, so by all means, Mr. Poile, pull the trigger on this guy!
Actually, given the predominance of NCAA experience among the Predators front office staff, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Preds zero in on Schroeder as a prime target. Last year they dealt the 9th and 40th overall picks to move up to #7 where they grabbed Wilson. With two picks each in the 2nd & 3rd rounds, and three picks in the 4th, Nashville has plenty of ammo available if they want to take a similar step in Montreal.
Lastly, here's his profile video from NHL.com: