2021 NHL Entry Draft: Instant Grades for Nashville

The team put together a solid draft class.

The Nashville Predators went into this NHL draft weekend with eight picks and left making just six selections after a few trades. Here are my instant grades of the organization’s newest prospects. Of course, in the next couple of days, I’ll have a full video breakdown of each new player.

#19 - Fyodor Svechkov | F | Lada Togliatti [VHL]

Grade: A

Svechkov is a really excellent first-round pick for this franchise. There were some other players available that have higher offensive ceilings, but Nashville is gaining a near-guaranteed second-line center who’s already excelling on defense and has some of the best passing skills in this draft class.

Nashville selects Fyodor Svechkov 19th overall in round one

#27 - Zachary L’Heureux | F | Halifax Mooseheads [QMJHL]

Grade: B

I love L’Heureux’s game and had him at 28th on my final draft board, so on the surface, this should be an “A”. I docked Nashville a letter grade because I’m not sure I would’ve sacrificed both second-round picks to move up here. Nevertheless, the organization should be excited about the puck skills, tenacity, and attitude L’Heureux brings.

Nashville selects Zachary L’Heureux 27th overall in round one

#72 - Anton Olsson | D | Malmö Redhawks [SHL]

Grade: B

Like several other players in this range of the draft class, you know exactly what you get with Anton Olsson. I had him ranked at 51st on my draft board, so this is good value. At the pro level, Olsson will provide nearly all of his value in the defensive zone.

Nashville selects Anton Olsson 72nd overall in round three

#115 - Ryan Ufko | D | Chicago Steel [USHL]

Grade: A

I’m surprised Ufko fell this far but glad to see Nashville make this pick. He was firmly a second-round talent on my board, and I think the organization may have found a gem on the blue line here. Ufko will have every opportunity to smooth out his flaws at UMass on his way to becoming a puck-moving NHL defender.

Nashville selects Ryan Ufko 115th overall in round four

#124 - Jack Matier | D | Ottawa 67s [OHL]

Grade: D

This one is a head-scratcher. I’m not automatically against project picks, and I see the value Nashville finds in Matier’s game. For his size, he moves all right, and he has a surprisingly good set of hands. But there was much more offensive upside still on the board at pick 124, and I think Matier is a long shot to make the NHL.

Nashville selects Jack Matier 124th overall in round four

#179 - Simon Knak | F | Portland Winterhawks [WHL]

Grade: C

Knak was Nashville’s only overage pick made this season, but I’m fine with them taking a swing on him. He used his DY+1 season to improve his skating and gained valuable experience in Switzerland’s pro league, but I don’t think he’s more than a fourth-line forward if he gets to the NHL.

Nashville selects Simon Knak 179th overall in round six