After surprising many with their first pick of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft Swedish goaltender Magnus Hellberg and then staying across the pond to pickup gritty Finnish forward Miikka Salomaki with their second pick, the Nashville Predators decided to move their 3rd round selection (#82) to the Los Angeles Kings for LA's 6th round pick (#170) and Toronto's 3rd round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and also moved their first 6th round pick to the New York Rangers for the Rangers 2012 6th round pick.
Following the jump we'll take a look at the rest of the Predators 2011 draft class which featured the selections of three forwards and two defensemen complete with quotes and videos to go along with a brief analysis of each pick.
4th round, 94th overall - LW, Josh Shalla
With the 94th overall selection, acquired from Florida in the Mike Santorelli deal last summer, the Predators selected Saginaw Spirit (OHL) power forward Josh Shalla. After going undrafted in 2010, Shalla returned to Saginaw this past season where he scored 55 goals in 80 games overall for the Spirit.
"Josh is a goal scorer with size and vision. He wins battles on the boards and does a great job using his body to protect the puck. He can be a finesse player or a hard nosed player, whatever the situations requires. He often makes extraordinary passes and finishes with highlight goals." - Saginaw Spirit director of scouting James Paliafito
Brock Otten at OHL Prospects had Shalla rated as the 4th best re-entry player from the OHL this season:
4. Josh Shalla - Saginaw Spirit
After scoring 32 goals last year in his inaugural draft year (late birth date 1991), many expected Shalla to be a mid round pick in 2010. But he went through the draft unselected, probably due to concerns over his skating and play without the puck. This year, he came back with conviction and scored 47 goals (5th in the OHL). I'm really not sure he's done a lot to improve the areas that kept him undrafted last year. But as a pure goal scorer, there aren't many better in the OHL. He's got a deceptively fast release on his shot and doesn't need a lot of room to put the puck in the net. He's also got great scoring instincts. Shalla is one of those guys who always seems to find the garbage in front of the net. While the skating might hamper his ability to find space at the NHL level, his size (at 6'2) definitely helps to counter that. He's really not afraid to take punishment in front of the net and has the strength to have success in that area. Most promising was probably Shalla's playoff performance this year. He had a very disappointing playoffs last year, but was easily Saginaw's best forward this time around and showed a lot of leadership in trying to guide the Spirit deep into the playoffs. Bottom line; you can't teach goal scoring.
And a YouTube clip of Shalla (#25 white) scoring 4 goals against the Windsor Spitfires:
Saginaw Spirit vs Windsor Spitfires 11/27/10 (via Spiritvideoclip)
The Predators drafted Josh Shalla to score goals. He is not a two-way forward, nor is he fleet of foot. If you watch any of the YouTube clips of his goals they are all the same, Shalla has a quick release and a nose for the net that allows him to either get lost in coverage or simply pounce on any rebound that's given up. Shalla has the size to play a similar game in the professional ranks and due to his birth date, he is eligible to play in the AHL next season.
4th round, 112th overall - D, Garrett Noonan
With the 112th overall position the Predators selected Boston University defenseman Garrett Noonan. Noonan, 6'1", 205 lbs, is known as a steady two-way defenseman that takes care of things at his own end and can handle things at the other. Noonan scored 15 points (4g, 11a) and racked up 89 PIM's in 38 games as a freshman for the Terriers this past season.
You can send Garrett Noonan a welcome message via Twitter at @GarrettNoonan13
From The Terrier Hockey Blog Spot:
Vernon Morning Star reporter Graeme Noonan notes that:
"Noonan was one of the players that stood out for me at the Viper training camp last August, and he has had a solid rookie season. This won't sound like a compliment, but the thing about Noonan is you don't always notice him. While he doesn't always turn up on the scoresheet, he rarely gets caught making bad decisions. He's not flashy, but he is effective and always seems to make the smart play."
#3 Garrett Noonan (via abro2000)
A favorite of Massachusetts based Predators scout Jeff Kealty, the scouting report on Garrett Noonan appears to be that of a guy you will either notice for his offensive contributions or not notice at all on any given night. While that might raise some concern regarding consistency issues with a forward, not being noticed is a good thing for a defenseman and something to take note of if it becomes a consistent pattern. Heading into his sophomore year at Boston University, Noonan will continue to develop under the watchful eyes of Kealty and legendary BU coach Jack Parker. Looking at this selection from an organizational five-year plan, Noonan replaces Jeff Foss who just turned pro after completing his collegiate career at RPI.
5th round, 142th overall - D, Simon Karlsson
The Predators went back overseas again for their 5th round selection picking up defenseman Simon Karlsson from the Malmo Junior program in Sweden. Karlsson has experienced a major growth spurt over the past year going from 5'11' to 6'3" and Predators European scout Lucas Bergman compares his game to that of current Predators defenseman Cody Franson.
Karlsson finished the season with 13 goals, 21 assists, and 68 PIM's overall in 55 games playing on several different levels of the Malmo Junior program and also appeared in 4 games going scoreless with the Malmo Redhawks (former team of Anders Lindback) in the Allsvenskan - which is the SEL's equivalent to the AHL.
A brief scouting report on Karlsson from Eliteprospects.com
A very smart defenseman with good hockey sense and solid puck skills. Contributes both ways. Decent mobility.
A selection that has the markings of Lucas Bergman all over it, Karlsson underwent a growth spurt in the past year that when added to his offensive game made him a pick this year. Karlsson is an offensive defenseman that will have to continue to fill out his frame to advance up the ranks in Sweden before making the leap across the pond. Compared more to Cody Franson for his frame and puck-moving abilities than to fellow countryman Mattias Ekholm, Karlsson will be one to keep an eye on over the next couple of seasons to gauge his development.
6th round, 172nd overall - C, Chase Balisy
In the 6th round the Predators dove into another familiar territory selecting California native Chase Balisy from Western Michigan University. Balisy, 5'11" and 198 lbs, scored 30 points in 42 games as a freshman for the Broncos last season earning him a spot on the 2011 CCHA All-Rookie Team.
You can send Chase Balisy a welcome to the organization message via Twitter at @chaser9216
Fellow California native, Preds defenseman Jonathon Blum just tweeted:
chase lives on the same street as me in california pretty crazy stuff
A great interview with Balisy from Chris Peters at The United States of Hockey lets Balisy describe himself as:
USofH: For anybody that’s never seen you play, could you give yourself a scouting report as far as what you bring to the table?
Balisy: I’d say I’m a smart player. I mostly play with my brain and try to make plays. I’m not the fastest guy, but I protect the puck well and just try and move the puck. When I play with some smart players, I think I can put some points up.
USofH: Your smarts are your biggest attribute, but what are you working on most this season to round out your game?
Balisy: Definitely my overall strength and speed. Those are two of the most important that I’m trying to improve on this year. I think I’ve done that so far, but I still need to improve a lot though.
A more in-depth scouting report on Balisy courtesy of Hockey's Future:
Talent AnalysisBalisy is an intelligent, playmaking center that is really fun to watch. Two attributes that separate Balisy from many other freshmen are his ability to control the tempo of the game and the fact that he can make other players around him better. He possesses great hands and excellent puck-moving ability. He can make some of the prettiest tape-to-tape passes too. Balisy has great vision and follows plays exceedingly well. He is a very good skater that does a good job of consistently keeping his feet moving. He is also quite good in transition as well. Balisy's elusiveness and ability to move effectively through traffic makes him a difficult player to contain. As good as Balisy is offensively, he is equally good defensively. At Western Michigan this season, he proved to be an outstanding penalty killer who isn't afraid to block shots or deliver checks when necessary. He's not one to give up easily in battles for pucks either. Balisy is also very good on face-offs and supports plays really well too. Like most freshmen in college hockey, adding size and strength will be crucial to his future success.
WMU Hockey - Highlights vs. Ohio State 1/14/2011 (via wmuathletics) - Balisy (#16 white) assists on the 2nd goal and scores the 3rd. He also makes a good clear on a PK in the video as well.
The selection of Chase Balisy adds depth to the organization adding an all-around forward with developing offensive talent. Looking again at the organizational depth chart, Balisy looks to replace Ben Ryan in the five-year plan as Ryan recently completed his NCAA career at Notre Dame. Balisy has good offensive instincts and was one of the top freshman in the CCHA last season. He will definitely be a guy to keep an eye on as he continues developing under Broncos head coach Jeff Blashill.
7th round, 202nd overall - LW, Brent Andrews
With their final pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft the Predators selected left wing Brent Andrews from Halifax of the QMJHL. Andrews (6'2", 200 lbs), considered to be one of the top defensive centers in the Q, had 29 points in 68 games this season with the Mooseheads.
Interesting article regarding Andrews draft prospects courtesy of The Chronicle Herald:
Brent Andrews will never score 50 goals in the NHL but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a valuable pro player.
The hard-working centre from Hunter River, P.E.I., is an excellent two-way player who is terrific on faceoffs and is regarded as one of the best defensive players in the QMJHL. His general manager with the Halifax Mooseheads believes that should be enough to get him drafted by an NHL team this weekend in Minnesota.
"He’s one of those guys who could be a prototypical third-line centre in the NHL," said Cam Russell. "He’s big — six-foot-two, 200 pounds — he skates well, he’s strong and he showed signs of playing a more physical game in the second half last season. He scored 12 goals at 17 but if you look at other good hockey players in our league, (Etienne) Brodeur scored 54 goals at 19 last year but only had 10 when he was 17.
Andrews dryland (via 7johnmoore)
Reading scouting reports on Brent Andrews reminds me a lot of Jerred Smithson. Andrews is not going to put up great offensive numbers at any level, but he will earn a roster spot based on his contributions at the other end of the ice. It'll be a much more difficult road to the NHL for Brent Andrews than others due to his lack of offensive talents, but if there's one team that will not look for him to change his game and allow him to develop at his own pace that would be the Predators. Will be a guy that stats won't do any justice to when tracking his this season, your best bet to get a read on Andrews will likely come in person at prospect camps and during rookie training camp sessions.