Nashville loading up on defense. Took Fabbro yesterday and get Samuel Girard today who was the top d in the QMJHL.— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) June 25, 2016
It's Day 2 of draft day and the Predators have started it all off by picking up undersized defenseman Samuel Girard out of the Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL.) At just over 5'9", defenseman Girard is a small but fast and extremely dynamic skater. Both Corey Pronman and Craig Button had him as a first round pick and it is very likely he fell due to his size issue. This is a very trendy pick for the Predators as they showed an affinity towards QMJHL players in the last draft.
The Draft Analyst:
Scouts long have projected pro-level playmaking abilities, and Girard hasn't let them down, leading rushes up the ice with speed and decisiveness. He has very good first-step quickness and excellent top-end speed. He has above-average balance for a defenseman listed at 5'10, owning a good, strong stride. His lateral movement is excellent, using a strong lower body to cover ground in a hurry if a play expands the ice on the periphery.Girard's bread and butter, however, is playmaking. He's an exceptional puck distributor with a soft set of hands, using them to corral hard or inaccurate passes. He makes crisp passes on the tape and with authority — forehand or back - and leads the man with consistency. Patient and aware, Girard does not own a good shot, and will acquiesce to the pass nine times out of 10. Moreover, he is far from physical, but his positioning is developing and his reads are excellent. A real leader who will instantly improve a team's breakout and power play capability.
Perhaps it's not just Girard's size that got in the way of him ranking among the top-30 prospects eligible for this year's draft. The QMJHL is a notoriously offensive league, and given Girard's incredible output, he obviously has scouting agencies wondering about his defensive chops.
But considering that when Girard's on the ice, the puck is almost always moving further away from his net, there's merit to the idea he's been underrated.
This isn't going to be like Day 1 where it took 2 hours to select 30 players. Expect names to start flying off the board and these posts to start coming at you at a rapid pace.