2006 Draft underwhelming for Nashville Predators

By Connor Jennings
Photo: Drafted in the 5th round of 2006, Mark Dekanich is among the many promising goaltenders the Predators have unearthed in the middle and later rounds of the draft. (Photo Courtesy of Holly Gunning/HF)

While Nashville’s draft in 2006 was not expected to be exceptional, one cannot help but be disappointed five years later. The Predators did not have a pick in the first or third rounds, and only one selection among the first 100 picks of the draft.

Despite the lack of early round selections, the Predators still had the opportunity to draft a few above average prospects. To this point, however, they have failed to have any of their draft picks reach the NHL. All five players have combined for a grand total of one single game to this point in their careers.

Blake Geoffrion, LW, U.S. National Under-18 Team (NAHL) – 2nd round, 56th overall
Status: Prospect
NHL Games Played: 0

Quite possibly the best hope of this draft, Geoffrion is only in his first year at the AHL level. Geoffrion went to college after being drafted, and had an adequate career, falling down the prospect rankings. However, he broke out during his senior season, moving him back up amongst the prospect elite.

Geoffrion is having a decent showing this season with Milwaukee, and will probably make an appearance in Nashville by next season. He is having the type of progression you would expect out of a college player, so there’s no reason to worry about his future. He has good NHL bloodlines, and should make a decent professional. At worst, Geoffrion will at least add a decent chunk of NHL games played to this group.

Niko Snellman, C, Ilves Tampere (Jr. A SM-Liiga) – 4th round, 105th overall
Status: Bust
NHL Games Played: 0

Drafted based on his play in the Finnish U16 league, Snellman had been posting minimal production the two years prior to being drafted; a trend that continued even after Nashville selected him. Snellman spent only a single season in North America, a lackluster 10 point effort for the Regina Pats of the WHL.

He spent a few other seasons in Finland, never providing more than minimal production. He has not played in a game since 2009, and had clearly established himself as an NHL bust. Snellman is nothing short of a severe disappointment for the second pick of a team that usually executes the draft to perfection.

Mark Dekanich, G, Colgate University (ECAC) – 5th round, 146th overall
Status: Prospect
NHL Games Played: 1

The only player on this list to ever appear in an NHL game, Dekanich has been absolutely spectacular this season, carrying the Admirals on his back. Dekanich was consistently good in college, and has gotten even better as a professional. He has refused to relinquish his hold on the AHL starting goaltender position, despite challenges from higher pedigree prospects such as Chet Pickard.

However, it hasn’t been all positive for Dekanich. This summer, he at long last had a shot at the NHL roster, but he lost the backup goalie position to fellow prospect Atte Engren. Despite the setback, Dekanich has been flawless in Milwaukee, and only continues to prove he deserves a shot in the NHL.

Ryan Flynn, RW, U.S. National Under-18 Team (NAHL) – 6th round, 176th overall
Status: Prospect
NHL Games Played: 0

A player who was teetering on the edge of failure with only a single assist through the entire season, Flynn has since edged a bit back towards the prospect side of things. However, the movement is minimal, since three points in the month of January is hardly enough to divert the production concerns that have plagued him throughout his career. Flynn was a disappointment throughout his college career, never managing to muster more than six goals or 19 points in a season. That lack of production has unfortunately carried over into his professional career so far. There is a silver lining, since Flynn has always been seen as a primarily defensive player. But defense aside, if he can’t produce at even a marginal level in college or the AHL, he will never be able to be marginal in the NHL.

Viktor Sjodin, LW, Västerås J20 (SuperElit) – 7th round, 206th overall
Status: Bust
NHL Games Played: 0

Similar to Niko Snellman, Sjodin was taken in an attempt to build organizational toughness. The problem with that plan is that neither of the European players taken to rectify that had much in the way of skill.

Sjodin was coming off of a solid year in SuperElit league, and immediately made the jump to North America. However, he was somewhat of a disappointment in his first year in Portland, something that didn’t change in his second year with the team. Sjodin then returned to Sweden, where he is still playing today. Despite the fact that he is still active, it seems doubtful that Sjodin could ever work his way to the NHL.

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