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NHL Mock Draft 2016: Nashville Predators select Dante Fabbro with No. 17 pick

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This pick was taken due to hockey reasons, and not because he said he wants to be here.

But the latter didn't hurt, even if he did elect to play college hockey.

Garrett James Photography

By the time it was our turn to pick, this is what the board looked like:

1. Toronto: Auston Matthews
2. Winnipeg: Patrik Laine
3. Columbus: Jesse Puljujarvi
4. Edmonton: Pierre-Luc Dubois
5. Vancouver: Olli Juolevi
6. Calgary: Matthew Tkachuk
7. Arizona: Jakob Chychrun
8. Buffalo: Alexander Nylander
9. Montreal: Tyson Jost
10. Colorado: Logan Brown
11. New Jersey: Clayton Keller
12. Ottawa: Mikhail Sergachev
13. Carolina: Kieffer Bellows
14. St. Louis: Luke Kunin
15. Minnesota: Michael McLeod
16. Detroit: German Rubtsov

With Jake Bean, Max Jones, and Dante Fabbro all among the players left on the board, the decision came down to which player would fill the Preds' biggest need.

Jake Bean might be a fine player. He also might be Jonathon Blum 2.0. His build may translate into being one-dimensional defenseman, that's my worry. He might turn into The Thing and gain a bunch of mass, but that's not likely. We're still waiting on Calle Jarnkrok to bulk up more.  And there's already decent depth on the left side for a while. Roman Josi and Mattias Ekholm are going to be in Nashville for a while.

I really like Max Jones. He's big. And this team does indeed need a big guy to play near the net. But his numbers in junior weren't that exciting. I also considered trading back for Alex DeBrincat, but there's plenty of depth he would have to climb through to get to the lineup.

Dante Fabbro is a right-handed defenseman who has a better build than Bean, and the depth is pretty shallow on the right side. By having Fabbro in the fold, the expansion draft doesn't look as scary. Let's say the team does something bold like expose Shea Weber to the expansion draft, due to his enormous contract and age. Fabbro might be ready for the lineup by then (assuming Las Vegas calls David Poile's bluff and takes Weber). Then there's Ryan Ellis, who won't be paid $2.5 million AAV all his career and could also be exposed in the expansion draft. It's important to have a succession plan in place.

There will be other holes in the organizational depth, but if this team is trying to win now... free agency should be a higher priority than in other years to address the immediate needs.

Here's what Craig Button had to say about Fabbro and his style of play:

Dante Fabbro (#12) will never pull you out of your seat, but when you measure high-end efficiency in the game, he stands out. The Penticton Vees defender always makes the right play, is always in the right position and doesn’t break down under the challenges, which makes it very difficult to play versus him. I see so many similarities to Brent Seabrook of the Chicago Blackhawks. Like Seabrook, Fabbro’s contributions lead to winning.

Also, this guy actually seemed open to coming to Nashville (from Yahoo):

2. Do you look up to a defenceman in the NHL?
"Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators. He’s a physical defenceman who can jump up into the rush and has a good shot. I try to implement parts of his game into mine and model some parts of my game after his."

3. Who is your favourite NHL team?
"Nashville. My sisters go to school just 20 minutes north of Nashville, and also because I like Weber and guys like Roman Josi."

That's a first. But there's been a small pipeline developing between B.C. and Tennessee as of late. And who knows, maybe Fabbro will top Jack Dougherty for the best draft day interview we've heard.

Now let's enjoy some highlights.