The Nashville Predators have signed Jonathan Diaby, the team's 3rd round draft pick from last summer, to his entry level contract. As an entry level deal, the contract doesn't actually "begin" until he makes the pros, which could be as early as this fall (he'll be eligible to play for Milwaukee in the AHL next season).
The team's press release follows:
Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager DavidPoile announced today that the club has signed defenseman Jonathan-Ismael Diaby, the club's second selection, 64th overall (third round), in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, to a three-year entry-level contract.
Diaby, 19 (11/16/94), has appeared in nine games of the QMJHL's Victoriaville Tigres since returning from offseason shoulder surgery on Dec. 5, amassing seven points (3g-4a) and 16 penalty minutes. In 146 games with Victoriaville since 2010-11, the 6-5, 240-pound blueliner has 42 points (8g-34a) and 216 penalty minutes. A season ago, he paced the Tigres in plus/minus rating (+12) and penalty minutes (117), and was one of just three QMJHL defensemen to finish the 2012-13 season with 25 points, 100 penalty minutes, and a +10 rating.
"Jonathan is a monster, and he's not even there physically yet, so he has a lot of room for growth and strength," Predators North American Amateur Scout Tom Nolan said. "He plays hard, is a terrific skater for his size, and can move the puck. He's tough and plays physical. We see him as a shutdown-type of blueliner that takes up a lot of ice and is hard to play against."
The Blainville, Quebec native was the 37th-rated North American skater in Central Scouting's final rankings of 2013, and his father, Sékana, played soccer professionally in France and Turkey from 1986-97, and represented Ivory Coast in international competition, including the 1992 FIFA Confederations Cup and 1994 FIFA World Cup Qualifier.