2015 NHL Draft Targets for the Nashville Predators: The Defensemen
Leading up to draft day, we're looking at players that could be on the board when the Preds come calling. Today we are examining potential defensemen from the second round and beyond.
While the Predators are very strong on the blue line, they still could use another defenseman or two to solidify the defense, add physicality, and give the more dynamic d-men more offensive zone time.
Second Round Options
1) Vince Dunn (LD)
Niagra Ice Dogs (OHL)
Central Scouting Ranking: #32 (North American Skaters)
ISS Ranking: #51
Vince Dunn is an offensive defenseman who is a good puck-mover with great skating, good vision and shooting. His ability to jump into the play would make him very effective in Laviolette’s system.
2) Ryan Pilon (LD)
Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Central Scouting Ranking: #24 (North American Skaters)
Ryan Pilon is a solid defenseman with good physicality and positioning who makes it hard on incoming forwards big or skilled. He can make a good first pass out of the zone and has put up good numbers for the Brandon Wheat Kings this season - both in the regular season and in the playoffs. With time he could be the physical and defensively-strong defenseman the Predators need.
3) Travis Dermot (LD)
Erie Otters (OHL)
Central Scouting Ranking: #46 (North American Skaters)
Travis Dermot is a very smart player with solid skating ability, good decision-making, and great poise. Those abilities allow him to jump into the play but also be solid defensively which fits well with the Predators current blue line.
4) Sebastian Aho (LD)
Central Scouting Ranking: #13 (European Skaters)
The second of the Sebastian Ahos in this draft, this Aho is a very skilled offensive defenseman who is a great skater that can read the play and move the puck up the ice. He was passed over last draft but he definitely will hear his name called this time around. He is one of those players that could fall almost anywhere in this draft.
Later Round Options
1) Vladislav Gavrikov (LD)
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (KHL)
Central Scouting Ranking: #26 (European Skaters)
ISS Ranking: #49
Vladislav Gavrikov might not be in the mold of the puck-moving defenseman that the Predators saw so much success out of last season. The top re-entry candidate is, however, a defenseman that can play a physical brand of hockey and shut down the opposition. Captaining Russia in the World Junior Championships, Gavrikov was named the best defenseman, which heavily increased his draft stock.
2) Chris Martenet (LD)
London Knights (OHL)
Central Scouting Ranking: #81 (North American Skaters)
ISS Ranking: #99
A defenseman that is 6’7" with good skating ability is going to draw the attention of scouts and that is just what Chris Martenet has done. He makes it incredibly difficult on opposing forwards and he also has the ability to skate the puck up the ice, though he’s not a very offensive player. That size and raw ability makes him a prospect that could go in a multitude of places in the draft.
3) Rasmus Andersson (RD)
Barrie Colts (OHL)
Central Scouting Ranking: #93 (North American Skaters)
ISS Ranking: #107
At one point Rasmus Andersson was a bona fide first-round draft pick. Questions about his hockey sense and decision making, however, have led to him falling steeply down the draft rankings. On the positive, he has a great offensive skill set, can score, set up, and move the puck up the ice. He is the kind of player the Predators could view very highly that could fall in the draft; many teams could still view him as a solid second round pick.
4) Caleb Jones (LD)
USA NDTP (USHL); committed to the Portland Winterhawks
Central Scouting Ranking: #115 (North American Skaters)
Caleb Jones was recently called "the perfect pair with his brother" Seth Jones by his coach, Ted Granato. Caleb has the athleticism and skating ability of his brother but is more gritty and isn’t as offensively productive; though he does like to take the puck up the ice. It is that combination, along with a solid defensive acumen, which makes him a good option for the Predators in the third or fourth round.
(Caleb is #55)