TORONTO CANADA - JANUARY 19: Phillip Danault #21 of Team Cherry tries to check Jonathan Huberdeau #11 of Team Orr in the 2011 Home Hardware Top Prospects game on January 19 2011 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto Canada. Team Orr defeated Team Cherry 7-1. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Over at the SB Nation NHL hub, they've been conducting a 2011 NHL Mock Draft, and while we didn't get to participate in that portion due to the Preds not having a 1st-round pick this year, we did dig into Round 2, where the Predators will select at the #38 overall spot (originally New Jersey's, but obtained in the Jason Arnott trade).
Now, I'm not a huge draft and prospect guy, so I roped in a special guest star to make our pick...
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Just recently, Patten Fuqua launched PuckScene.com, a Preds-related blog which aims to place the focus on minor leaguers and other prospects working their way up to Nashville and the NHL. It's a ripe opportunity for coverage, and he's already hit the ground running with 10 different potential draftees profiled over the last week or so. Patten's made the trip up to Minnesota for this weekend's NHL Entry Draft, bringing the Nashville contingent to 3 along with Buddy Oakes of Preds On The Glass and Jeremy Gover of Section 303.
Here then, is Patten's selection for the Nashville Predators....
With the 38th pick of the 2011 SB Nation NHL Mock Draft, the Nashville Predators select Phillip Danault from the QMJHL's Victoriaville Tigres.
A physical, hard-working defensive forward, Danault, the Tigres Captain, impressed voters enough to take home the QMJHL's Guy Carbonneau Award as the league's best defensive forward. He is also a deadly penalty killer - his 8 shorthanded points in 2010-11 ranked second among all players in the league. His 67 points (23 G, 44 A) in 64 games were good enough for fourth on his team. Not bad for a "defensive specialist".
The best asset Danault brings to the table, however, is his work ethic.
"The thing about Danault is he's a tremendous worker. He's dedicated to the game, but now he's taking more and more leadership and it's contagious. He has the admiration of every single one of his teammates just on how hard he works. He'll bring work ethic, dedication and leadership. His passion for the game is unique because he's the most passionate kid I've ever coached. He plays with pride; he's not the type of kid who thinks he's better than the next guy, but he challenges himself to be as good if not better."
The Victoriaville native is ranked #27 among North America skaters by Central Scouting. In addition, The Hockey News ranks him as #31 and two of NHL.com's Mock Drafts have him being selected in the first round. Meanwhile, International Scouting Service has him ranked all the way down at #54.
Earlier this week, he was invited to Team Canada's summer development camp - a major step towards landing on a World Juniors roster.
At 6'0" and just 178 pounds, Phillip has a little bit of filling out before he makes the trip down to Nashville, but once he packs on some muscle, there's no telling how good he could get. With two-way players like Pavel Datsyuk and Ryan Kesler frequently giving Nashville trouble, Danault has the tools to develop into the same kind of dynamic two-way player.