Preds Draft Day Smart, but not Sexy

By Brian Roe

With the 12th pick in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft the Nashville Predators
select defensemen Dan Hamhuis…the often goal-less Predators used the 12th
pick in the draft to select a defensemen.

Why, you ask? Well, he was the second best defensemen available in the
draft, the Preds do not have a blue chip defensemen in their system, and
finally all the top 10 forwards were all taken … in the top 10. So the Preds
grabbed the next best thing … Dan Hamhuis.

Dan Hamhuis is a solid two-way player. He is an offensive defensemen,
and should be a force in the near future (but not next fall near future).
Hamhuis was eight in the WHL in scoring last season scoring 13 goals and 46
assists in 62 games. Hamhuis is known as a quarterback on the power play,
with above average speed, and solid leadership skills. I would say Dan
Hamhuis could be on the Predators Pro Roster as early as 2002, but as always
the Preds won’t rush him.

Three of the next four picks for the Predators were all forwards.
Timofei Shiskanov (Russia), Tomas Slovak (Slovakia), Denis Platonov (Russia),
and Oliver Setzinger (Finland). The Preds then made an interesting move in
trading their 4th, 5th and 7th round draft choices to the Flyers for their
4th round selection. They used that pick to grab 5’8 Jordan Tootoo
(TOO-too), the 17 year old had 20 goals and 28 assists last season for
Brandon Wheat Kings. He also won the hardest shot contest at this year’s Top
Prospects Evaluation (96 MPH). Nashville had been scouting Tootoo for a
while now and must think very highly of him in giving a 3 for 1 deal to the
Flyers.

Anton Lavrentiev (Russia), Gustav Grasberg (Sweden) and Mikko Lehtonen
(Finland) completed the 2001 Draft for the Predators. The Predators drafted
5 defensemen, 4 forwards and 0 goaltenders. One 22-year old, one 19-year
old, two 17-year olds and five 18-year olds are now members of the Nashville
organization.

Now that all of you are asleep, let me ask you this question … how many of
you would have rather seen a name like Yashin or Peca at the top of this
article instead of a Slovak or Tootoo? Be honest. The Predators could have
acquired Alexei Yashin from the Senators, no doubt. Especially if we would
have put goalie Mike Dunham in the deal, then Yashin would be all over the
Tennessee newspapers instead of the Island papers. But, did we really want
Yashin?

The answer is no…Yashin is the type of player that the Predators do not want
in their organization – self-centered, egotistical, and cannot help a team in
the playoffs. Yashin is also a Restricted Free Agent as of next week. Quick
– name the highest paid player on the Predators and his salary (starts with a
Cliff and ends with an under 2.5 million per season).
Sure, it would have been more interesting to write an article on how Yashin
and Legwand will center the Predators to their first playoff berth, but that
is not how the Nashville Predators want to build. Will their plan work?
Sure it will…will the Predators make the playoffs this season? Stranger
things have happened, I guess it mostly depends on if all of the big free
agents go to the Western Conference or not.

Never the less, the Preds are sticking to their plan and that is to build
through the draft. Excited yet? Well be patient and remember that we still
got a Dan Hamhuis out of the deal!