Predators: Retrospective on the 1998 draft

By Brian Roe

The Nashville Predators logo
appeared on the NHL Draft board for the first time ever on June 27, 1998, in
Buffalo, New York. 

The expansion Predators were slated in the third spot in the 1998 NHL Entry
Draft and were expected to take highly touted defensemen Brad Stuart with their
first ever draft pick.  However,
general manager David Poile decided if Nashville had a chance to acquire one of
the top two players in the draft, he should jump on that opportunity. 


When that opportunity became
a reality, Nashville made a draft-day trade that sent the third overall pick and
a second round pick to the San Jose Sharks for the second overall pick in the
draft.  The rest became history when
OHL superstar David Legwand was selected as the first ever Nashville
Predators entry draft choice. Defensemen Brad Stuart was selected number three
after all, by the Sharks.

More foundational pieces were to come.  In
the third round, the Predators selected a Russian winger by the name of Denis
Arkhipov
.  Arkhipov, now a
center for the Predators, scored 20 goals and 42 points in the 2001-2002 season. 
Even though Arkhipov dropped in points total last season, he is still
considered a top young player for the Predators and will factor in the team’s
future.

The next two picks for the
Predators came from the college ranks when left winger Greg Koch from
University of Michigan was chosen in the late third round and defenseman Kent
Sauer
from Northern Iowa came in the fourth round. 
Neither Koch nor Sauer panned out for the Predators and both have been
released from the organization. 

In the fifth round,
Nashville went back to the blueline in selecting defenseman
Martin Beauchesne. 
The 138th overall selection is also no longer on in the
Nashville system. 

In the sixth and eighth rounds, the
Predators selected wingers Craig Brunel from Prince Albert of the WHL and
Martin Bartek from the QMJHL.  Neither
player is with the organization.

Finally, in what might be Poile’s best
round in the draft, the Predators selected a defenseman from Finland with the
230th overall pick.  That defenseman, who has now played in over 200 games with
Nashville, was Karlis Skrastins. 

The 1998 draft has already been deemed a
success by many in and out of the organization.  And with the expected development of Arkhipov and the
maturing Legwand getting better every year, the first ever Nashville draft in
Buffalo may go down as one of the best for the Predators.  


1998 NHL
Entry Draft

1st round, 2nd overall – David Legwand,C

3rd round, 60th overall – Denis Arkhipov, LW

3rd round, 85th overall – Greg Koch, LW

4th round, 88th overall – Kent Sauer, D

5th round, 138th overall – Martin Beauchesne, D

6th round, 147th overall – Craig Brunel, RW

8th round, 202nd overall – Martin Bartek, RW

9th round, 230th overall – Karlis Skrastins, D