2015 NHL Draft: Unwrapping the Predators' Draft Picks
It's hard to call any teams' draft a roaring success when they don't have a first round pick. While the 2015 Draft was not overwhelming, the Predators were able to get players they thought presented great value where they got them.
Predators' Cheif Amateur Scout Jeff Kealty called a "nearly perfect" draft.
Even without a pick in the first round, the Predators were able to walk away with many of the players they had been eyeing, and added players they believe have great value and potential.
Now that we've gotten past the draft and seen who all the players are, the question becomes how do these players fit into Nashville's system? The Predators seemed elated with their first pick, and they were certainly targeting centers all Saturday morning. Let's unwrap the seven newest members of the Predators.
55th Overall - IAKOV (YAKOV) TRENIN, Chelyabinsk, Russia- Center from Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL) 6'2", 194 lbs.
With their first pick in the draft, the Nashville Predators drafted their favorite option possible for that pick in center Iakov Trenin. Trenin plays a smart, physical game, who possesses both offensive and defensive skillsets. He stands at 6'2" right now, but he's expected to get a little bigger..
Trenin has intriguing upside offensively, improving significantly as the season went along, and is expected to be a fairly safe bet as a middle-six player in the NHL. The Predators liked him so much they were even willing to trade up for him if need be.
All smiles from #Preds draftee Iakov Trenin. #NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/p9MDOIdfuE— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) June 27, 2015
85th Overall - THOMAS NOVAK, River Falls, Wisconsin -Center from Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL) 6'0", 179 lbs. Committed to the University of Minnesota for 2015-2016
Projected as a second round pick (even a first round pick at times) Thomas Novak slipped right into the Predators clutches at 85th overall. Novak is a very good skating playmaking center with fantastic hands (compared to that of Patrick Kane's on NHL.com) and a solid scoring touch. Craig Button rated his hockey IQ 5/5, and his coach in Waterloo corroborated that, saying Novak reads plays two or even three steps ahead. He does need to work on the defensive parts of his game, though.
Tom Novak will join former St. Southeast Academy teammate, Jack Dougherty, at training camp and then will take his talents to the University of Minnesota next season and continue to grow. He is said to have a lot of offensive upside, and could eventually be an offensive top six playmaking center for the Predators.
Couldn't be happier to be a part of the @PredsNHL ! Thanks to everyone who has helped me! #tswift— Thomas Novak (@paraloschicos15) June 27, 2015
100th Overall - ANTHONY RICHARD, Trois-Riveires, Quebec, Canada - Center from Val-d'Or Foreurs (QMJHL) 5'9" 163lbs.
With the first of their two picks in the fourth round, the Preds chose speedy, feisty, and highly skilled center Anthony Richard, whom they targeted as a player they really wanted to get 100th overall. Richard was the tenth most productive player in all of the Q last season and played on both the power play and penalty kill; though this is not a role he is expected to play beyond the QMJHL. If he makes it to the NHL he should be a top nine agitating scoring forward.
Nashville picks Val-d'Or F Anthony Richard 100th overall. Nice sleeper. Might be the fastest skater in the Q.— Willy Palov (@WillyPalov) June 27, 2015
115th Overall - ALEXANDRE CARRIER, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada - Defense from Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL) 5'11", 174 lbs.
For the second time in the draft (Trenin was the first,) the Predators pulled a player from the Gatineau Olympiques in Alexander Carrier. This also marked the third player they took from the Q. Carrier is a puck-moving defenseman with great skating, a intelligence, and defensive ability. He also has a great work ethic and is a big gym-rat. The Predators think he has very high end potential and love his leadership ability.
Like Trenin and Richard before him, Carrier was a player the Predators targeted at the point where they got him. This really speaks to the success the Predators had in this draft even though that success is dampened by the fact they did not have a first rounder.
C'est connu. Benoît Groulx a la critique facile envers ses joueurs. Alexandre Carrier, rarement source de critiques. Il l'adore. #olympiques— jf plante (@jfplante_Droit) June 27, 2015
Rough Translation: This is known. Genoit Groulx easily criticizes players. Alexandre Carrier, rarely a source of criticism. He adores him.
New #Preds Yakov Trenin (2nd round) and Alex Carrier (4th round). pic.twitter.com/gpSGz4qZPF— Brooks Bratten (@brooksbratten) June 27, 2015
145th Overall - KAREL VEJMELKA, Trebic, Czech Republic -Goaltender from HC Dynamo Pardubice (Czech U20) 6'3", 202 lbs.
Choosing a goalie and a European for the first time in the draft, the Predators picked up Karel Vejmelka from the Czech Republic. He is a big goalie with very good precise movement who has a solid glove hand. He went undrafted last season but with help from legend and fellow-Czech, Dominik Hasek, he was able to develop into a goalie the Predators feel has a ton of upside.
175th Overall - TYLER MOY, San Diego, California - Center from Harvard University (NCAA) 6'0", 195 lbs.
The drafting of Tyler Moy marks the fourth time the Predators took a center in the 2015 draft. Moy is a good skating, defensive minded player who showed significant offensive potential in his third draft-eligible season. He played up and down Harvard's lineup and even a little defense when the Crimson was going through a rough patch with injuries. Moy will have to spend at least another one or two years at Harvard before making any kind of move towards the AHL.
Congrats to my teammate @tymoy2 the newest member of the @PredsNHL. See ya at dev camp!— Jimmy Vesey (@19Vesey) June 27, 2015
205th - EVAN SMITH, Parker, Colorado - Goaltender from Austin Bruins (NAHL) 6'6", 174 lbs.
With their final pick in the draft, the Predators took the extremely tall Evan Smith, who is expected to play in the WHL for the Victoria Royals next season. As more of a project goalie, Evan Smith has the size and the athleticism to become a great goalie but he needs to put it all together in the WHL and beyond in the coming seasons. Even though he isn't as far along the development curve as other goalies his age taken at the draft, he has shown success at the lower NAHL level.