Coming out of any NHL Entry Draft, front office staff and team fans are generally in an optimistic mood. Undersized teenagers will presumably fill out into rugged hockey players, big kids will develop the skills to become a great power forward, etc.
For the Nashville Predators, the draft has proved to be a reliable source of talent over the years - Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, David Legwand, Martin Erat, Patrick Hornqvist and Pekka Rinne have all become core members of a contending team as Predators selections.
But as we all know, just as any sports team's history is studded with memorable success stories, there are also those "facepalm" moments that can be looked back upon years later, in utter bewilderment as to what management was thinking at the time.
So which is the worst Nashville Predators draft pick of all time? Follow after the jump for a look at the contenders, and place your vote...Brian Finley, 1999 1st round (6th overall)
A hallmark example of why taking a goaltender in the 1st round is such a risky proposition, Finley's game was open to question just a year after being taken 6th overall in 1999. Back then, The Hockey News wrote the following: "Finley will come to training camp for the 2000-01 season with the expectation that he competes strongly in Nashville. The Predators see him as their future No. 1 for a long time. But, as has happened to many in the same situation, Finley has not played as consistently in his return to major junior the season after his draft year." Between the consistency issues Finley also struggled with groin injuries, and ended up playing only 4 games at the NHL level.
Jonas Andersson, 1999 2nd round (33rd overall)
Following up on Finley was Swedish winger Jonas Andersson, who racked up 27 goals and 28 assists in 174 games with Milwaukee (along with 5 scoreless games with Nashville) before heading back over to Europe in 2004. Oddly enough, word has it that Andersson might be coming back for another stint in the Predators organization after recent success in the Finnish Elite League and the KHL. If he can make a contribution at 29, this would be the ultimate "late blooming" draft pick.
Daniel Widing, 2000 2nd round (36th overall)
Widing, a right winger with legitimate NHL size, never came over to North America and has only recently (in 2007-8 and 2008-9) surpassed the 20-goal mark in the Swedish Elite League. Last season he moved over the Swiss League where he plays for Davos.
Konstantin Glazachev, 2003 2nd round (35th overall)
Although still listed on the Predators' website as a prospect in the system, Glazachev has never come over to play in North America, plying his trade first in the Russian Super League, and recently its successor, the KHL. Appraised as more of a perimeter player who doesn't go hard to the net, Glazachev has had some success the last two seasons with Barys Astana in the KHL, but doesn't appear likely to contribute anything to the Predators.
Any other contenders?
Do you have any other contenders as to the worst Preds draft pick ever? I limited myself to 1st- or 2nd-round selections which failed to provide any value to the Predators organization. So, for example, I excluded Timofei Shishkanov (2001 2nd-round) because at least he brought back Mike Sillinger in trade.
Browse through Nashville's draft history over at Hockey-Reference.com (very handy site indeed) and sound off below!