Predators draft review

By Brian Roe



Nashville
played host to the 2003 NHL Entry Draft in fine form.  The Predators ended up selecting the top defenseman of the
draft in Ryan Suter.  After Suter
fell to Nashville at the number seven spot, Russian forward Konstantin Glazachev
and defenseman Kevin Klein also slid down toward the second round and into the
expecting hands of the Nashville Predators. 
All three were expected to be first round picks.           




The old
hockey cliché is the way to build a successful NHL team is to build from the
goaltender out.  The 2003 Stanley
Cup Finals presented two teams with this philosophy, with Predators’ General
Manager David Poile obviously convinced that this is how his team will be built. 

Six
defensemen and three goalies were selected by Nashville over the weekend, in a
draft deemed the most important in Nashville history.  The Predators selected 13 players total in this weekend’s
draft and also made a potentially significant trade moving defensemen Tomas
Slovak to Colorado in exchange for Russian forward Sergei Soin. 




 

Ryan Suter, Defense

Round
1, Pick 7                        


Age:
18                                    


Team:
U.S. National Under-18

Ht/Wt.
6-1, 183                        


Hometown:
Madison, Wis.



Stats:
47 GP, 8 goals, 19 assists, 27 points, 114 PIM



Comment: 
Suter was viewed by many to be the best defensemen in the 2003 draft. 
Some scouts had the defensemen going as high as no. 4 overall to the
Columbus Blue Jackets. 
The Predators expected the San Jose Sharks to select Suter after the
Buffalo Sabres picked Thomas Vanek. 
In Suter, the Predators are gaining a smooth skater that possesses both
above average abilities at both ends of the rink. 
Suter is known for his on-ice vision, his superior passing skills, his
mobility and his great character. 
The 18-year old plays the game with intensity and passion. 
Suter is a future quarterback of the power-play and should be a defensive
regular on the Nashville blueline in two to three years.


 



Konstantin
Glazachev, Left Wing


Round
2, Pick 35

Age:
18            
                       


Team:
Yaroslavl (Russia)

Ht/Wt:
6-0, 186                        


Hometown:
Yaroslavl, Russia



Stats:
13 GP, 3 goals, 4 assists, 7 points, 4 PIM



Comment:
Glazachev was actually getting some food when his name was called, so his meal
was a celebratory one. 
The Russian winger is an exciting addition to the Nashville organization. 
Glazachev is known as a speedster on the ice with good stick-handling
abilities and a natural creativity with the puck. 
One knock on Glazachev is that he is known in Russia as a diver. 
Glazachev also has room for improvement on the defensive side of hockey. 
However, the Nashville Predators are betting that those intangibles will
fall into place as the left winger matures. 
Glazachev was one of only four forwards selected by the Predators.


 



Kevin
Klein, Defense


Round
2, Pick 37

Age:
18            
                       


Team:
Toronto St. Michael’s (OHL)

Ht/Wt:
6-1, 187                        


Hometown:
Kitchener, Ontario



Stats:
67 GP, 11 goals, 33 assists, 44 points, 88 PIM



Comment:
The Predators actually compare Klein to first-round pick Ryan Suter. 
Nashville sees the two pairing up as one of Nashville’s top defensive
pairs a few years down the road. 
Klein, just like Suter, has excellent mobility and offensive skills. 
Great hockey sense and character are also positives on Klein’s resume. 
The 18-year old was considered a player with first-round potential, but
somehow fell into Nashville’s lap at the 37th selection. 
Klein is known as a complete defensive talent. 
Klein was named the Majors most outstanding defenseman in 2003 and also
played on the OHL Eastern All Star team this season.




 

Shea Weber, Defense

Round
2, Pick 49

Age:
17                                    


Team:
Kelowna

Ht/Wt:
6-3, 190                        


Hometown:
Sicamous, B.C.



Stats:
70 GP, 2 goals, 16 assists, 18 points, 167 PIM



Comment:
Weber is a tough, physical player who fills the Predators need for a big
defender.  Weber
is most noted for his strong skating ability and his no-fear approach to playing
defense.  The
6-3 defenseman has the ability to physically dominate opponents and clear out
players in front of the net. 
The Predators thought so highly of Weber that they moved defensemen Tomas
Slovak to Colorado to make room for Weber. 
Weber needs to add muscle to be successful in the NHL. 
Weber was member
of the 2003 WHL Champion Kelowna Rockets this season. 




 

Richard Stehlik, Defense

Round
3, Pick 76

Age:
18                                    


Team:
Sherbrooke (QMJHL)

Ht/Wt:
6-4, 245                        


Hometown:
Skalica, Slovakia



Stats:
43 GP, 8 goals, 16 assists, 24 points, 105 PIM



Comment:
Stehlik is a big, disciplined defensemen who again fills the need for added
defensive depth and bigger skaters. 
Stehlik was one of the biggest players in the draft, standing 6-4 and
weighing 245 pounds.  
Stehlik is another superb skating, who is noted for his agility, passing
ability and calmness while handling the puck. 
Stehlik was a member of Team Slovakia for both the 2002 and 2003 World
Championships.  


 



Paul Brown, Right Wing

Round
3, Pick 89

Age:
18                                    


Team:
Kamloops (WHL)

Ht/Wt:
6-2, 184                        


Hometown:
Prince George, B.C.



Stats:
67 GP, 21 goals, 35 assists, 56 points, 229 PIM



Comment:
Brown is a big winger with a mean streak. 
He led the Kamloops of the WHL with 229 penalty minutes this season. 
Brown is known as a physical forward who could potentially develop
offensively.  He
is a strong player, but will probably need to play smarter and take fewer
penalties as he advances through the system. Brown is a teammate of last
year’s first round pick, Scottie Upshall. 


 

Alexander Sulzer, Defense

Round
3, Pick 92

Age:
19                                    


Team:
Hamburg (Germany)

Ht/Wt:
6-2, 213
           


Hometown:
Kaufbeuren, Germany



Stats:
18 GP, 0 goals, 1 assist, 18 PIM



Comment:
Sulzer is another player who is known as having on-ice presence and off-ice
character.  Sulzer
has been praised for his attitude and work ethic, and Nashville loves the fact
that he has good hockey sense. 
Sulzer is a mature defenseman who plays an effective game on both ends of
the rink.  The
19-year old can physically dominate, usually playing his style quietly but
efficiently.  The
Predators feels they found a steal in Sulzer with the 92nd selection. 




 

Grigory
Shafigulin, Center


Round
3, Pick 98

Age:
18
           
                       


Team:
Yaroslavl (Russia)

Ht/Wt:
6-2, 185                        


Hometown:
Chelyabinsk, Russia



Stats:
11 GP, 0 goals, 1 assist, 8 PIM



Comment:
Shafigulin was a project pick, at best. 
The 18-year old is one of the big centers which NHL scouts covet, who has
the potential to be a solid player in the future. 
Shafigulin is an average skater with average speed. 
He doesn’t possess much physical presence but is offensively talented. 
The Russian  has good vision and controls the puck extremely well. 
Shafigulin possesses traits common to most of the Predators picks, in
that he is a hard worker and of sound character. 
Shafigulin and second round pick Glazachev were teammates this year on
Yaroslavl of Russian Superleague.




 

Teemu
Lassila, Goaltender


Round
4, Pick 117

Age:
20                                    


Team:
TPS Finland

Ht/Wt:
6-0, 202                        


Hometown:
Helsinki, Finland



Stats:
21 GP, 12 wins, 6 shut outs, 1.92 goals against average



Comment:
Lack of exposure may have helped the Predators land Lassila with the 117th
overall pick.  Lassila
played behind last year’s top goalie, Kari Lehtonen, in Finland and didn’t
receive much recognition until the season was halfway completed. 
Lassila was rated the second-best European goaltender available in the
draft.  The
20-year old is known for his composure under pressure and technically sound
goaltending abilities. 
He is mature and has a chance of making it to Nashville in the next few
years now that the Predators have lost a lot of confidence in former number one
pick Brian Finley. 


 



Rustam Sidikov, Goaltender

Round
4, Pick 133

Age:
17                                    


Team:
HC CSKA (Russia)

Ht/Wt:
6-1, 158                        


Hometown:
Moscow



Stats:
15 GP, 2.20 goals against average



Comment:
Sidikov’s stock rose with his strong showing at the Under-18 World Championships
this year when he won five games for Russia, posting a stunning 2.10 goals
against average and .917 save percentage. 
Sidikov is still a long way from reaching the NHL, but he is a young
player who the Predators hope can develop into a fundamentally strong goalie in
their system. 




 

Andrei
Mukhachev, Defense


Round
7, Pick 210

Age:
22                                    


Team:
HC CSKA (Russia)

Ht/Wt:
6-3, 200                        


Hometown:
Ekaterinburg, Russia



Stats:
50 GP, 3 goals, 10 assists, 13 points, 30 PIM



Comment:
Mukhachev is widely regarded as the closest to making the jump to the NHL. 
Mukhachev played in the Russian Elite League for the past three years and
is a big, strong player whom the Predators deemed highly underrated in this
draft.  Nashville
selected a defensive-minded player that the team believes can make an impact
within the next two or three years. 


 



Miroslav Hanvljak, Goaltender

Round
7, Pick 213

Age:
18            
                       


Team:
Litvinov (Czech Republic)

Ht/Wt:
5-11, 165                  


Hometown:
Litvinov, Czech Republic



Stats:
20 GP, 10 wins, 3.22 goals against average



Comment:
Hanvljak is a project at best and again re-affirms Nashville’s need for
goaltending prospects in light of Brian Finley
‘s injury problems. 
Hanvljak is a long-shot player for the Predators and was added simply for
depth purposes. 


 



Lauris
Parzins, Forward


Round
9, Pick 268

Age:
18                                    


Team:
Lukko (Finland)

Ht/Wt:
6-2, 176                        


Hometown:
Rige, Latvia



Stats:
13 GP, 6 goals, 4 assists, 10 points



Comment:
The final pick of the 2003 draft for the Predators was Latvia native Lauris
Parzins.  Parzins
is a strong skater who has shown flashes of offensive talent. 
The Predators are hoping he pans out like another ninth round pick of
old, a defenseman by the name of Karlis Skrastins. 
Parzins is well-liked by Nashville, who were happy to select him with
their 13th and final pick of the 2003 draft. 
Parzins was not well-scouted and pretty much unknown by most other NHL
clubs, so Nashville is hoping they may have found a gem that others overlooked.


 

Trade

Sergei Soin, Forward

Age:
21                                    


Team:
Soviet Wings (Russia)

Ht/Wt:
6-0, 180                        


Hometown:
Moscow



Stats:
49 GP, 8 goals, 6 assists, 14 points, 40 PIM



Comment:
The Russian winger was obtained from the Colorado Avalanche for defenseman Tomas
Slovak.  Soin
was a third round pick in the 2000 draft by the Avalanche. 
Many regard him as a top prospect in the Colorado system. 
He is a great skater with excellent speed. 
Many compare him to Edmonton’s Todd Marchant. 
Soin has great hockey sense and plays with intensity and passion.