The 2019 NHL Entry Draft is in the books. In total, Nashville walked away with eight new prospects from the draft floor, but Day 2 was dominated by bigger news: the departure of star defender P.K. Subban.
In the coming days, I will provide a full breakdown of each of Nashville’s picks from this weekend. But, in the meantime, I want to provide instant analysis of their Friday and Saturday moves ranging from trades to picks.
Day 1: Friday, June 21st
After a significant amount of chatter leading up to the draft about the future of P.K. Subban and the involvement of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Nashville avoided making a drastic move at the time and picked an excellent prospect.
Yes, Suzuki, Lavoie and Kaliyev were still on the board, but David Poile grabbed Tomasino, who might have the highest ceiling of the bunch and instantly becomes one of their top prospects. Additionally, Nashville was lucky to fall behind some questionable picks and not sacrifice anything to move up.
Day 2: Saturday, June 22nd
- Nashville sends P.K. Subban (D) to the New Jersey Devils for Steve Santini (D), Jérémy Davies (D), the 34th overall pick in 2019, and a 2nd round pick in 2020
With many fans’ sights set on the likes of William Nylander or Mitch Marner, suspense increased as a Subban deal was officially announced without a known return for some time. I had a hard time evaluating this move, so I will break down my entire thought process.
On return alone, this gets an F. Santini is one of the worst defenders in the NHL, Davies is a good prospect but not a world-beater, and the two draft picks have value but nothing near Subban’s worth.
I’m not certain Santini is on the roster at the start of next season, but I like the acquisition of Davies; I will break down his game next week. Some speculated that the 34th pick would be used to target Arthur Kaliyev, but he was selected at 33 overall, and Nashville moved back, acquiring two picks later on. Usually, I’m in favor of acquiring more assets like this, which bumps up the grade a bit—let’s say to a D. I will break down those selections later in this post.
After the trade buzz had died down, it was made clear that New Jersey was the only team offering to take on the entirety of Subban’s contract and allowing Nashville not to retain salary. I think that’s fairly key; $2 or $3 million for the next three seasons can be a big impediment. The key here is what that cap space is used for. Obviously Josi needs an extension and Duchene seems to be Plan A. I won’t litigate his merits here; the key for me is how the forward group shakes out behind him. I think the third line needs major work, but cap space is an excellent asset—hence the C grade, for now.
- Nashville trades the 34th overall pick to Philadelphia for the 45th and 65th overall picks
When you can acquire more picks, it’s usually a good move. There were some players I would have taken at 34 even with Kaliyev gone (i.e. Hoglander), but it’s not an awful move.
I like Afanasyev and think he is an underrated member of this draft class. There’s only one player picked later this round that I could have liked instead: Nicholas Robertson. Otherwise, this is a solid selection.
I’m not as high on Campbell as some, but he has more than enough supporters certain that his impressive season wasn’t just a byproduct of linemate Alex Newhook. Clarkson is an interesting program, and I’m curious to watch him there. I would have been happy with Albin Grewe, Patrik Puistola or Nathan Legare—potentially someone who won’t need two or three NCAA seasons.
- Nashville trades the 75th overall pick to Minnesota for a 3rd round pick in 2020
I really can’t fathom the necessity to make this move with players like Alex Beaucage, Pavel Dorofeyev, Mikko Kokkonen, and Maxim Cajkovic still on the board. It just seems mindless.
It’s weird seeing players drafted out of the NCAA, but Del Gaizo had an impressive rookie season at UMass playing alongside Cale Makar. The plus here is that he’ll have big minutes next season with Makar in Colorado. The downside is I would have liked to see them chase more skill here, like Mikhail Abramov, Lucas Feuk, or Tuukka Tieksola.
I am a big fan of this pick and don’t think Chistyakov is getting his due. With Jordan Spence on the board, I was happy to see Nashville take a chance on this kid. He’s small, but he’s a puck-carrying machine and plays with a good edge.
I wasn’t a fan of Nashville targeting any goalies this draft. This might be a lonely opinion, but I’m quite content with their depth in net in the pipeline right now. I would have likely gone with Dustin Wolf over someone like Haider, or else someone like Martin Hugo Has—who went five picks later to Washington—but we’ll see how he pans out.
- Nashville selects forward Isak Walther of Sodertalje SK [J18 Elit/ Allsvenskan]
Taking a timeout at this point in the sixth round will not win you many fans, but it seems like Walther wasn’t even in the NHL’s registry, which forced Nashville’s hand. That never sounds like good news, but I’m actually quite intrigued by this pick. There weren’t many sixth rounders left that I would have liked; both Marshall Warren and Luka Burzan were snagged just before. I’ll spend considerable time this week with Walther’s game tape, but I’ve heard he has serious untapped talent.
- Nashville selects forward Juuso Pärssinen of TPS U20 [Jr. A SM-liiga]
Pärssinen was a player I identified a few weeks ago as a potential fifth round move for Nashville. I profiled him earlier this week and was surprised to see him fall this late. With just a few picks left in the draft, I think Nashville may have hit this one out of the park. He already has a cup of coffee in the Liiga and will play full-time there next season; Pärssinen was easily the best player available, to me, at pick #210.