Photo: The Predators landed defenseman Seth Jones, thought to be a potential first overall pick, with the fourth selection. Jones is expected to step into a top-pairing role alongside Shea Weber for Nashville next season (courtesy of Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
The Nashville Predators held the fourth overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, and found themselves the consensus “luckiest team in the draft.” Considered by many to be the best prospect available in the draft, Seth Jones fell from a potential first overall pick right into the hands of David Poile at fourth overall. The Preds entered the day with 10 draft picks and picked 10 players, but only after trading the 112th overall pick to St. Louis for 203rd overall and a pick in next year’s fourth round.
Photo: Owner of the fouth overall pick in 2013, Nashville has not made a pick in the first round since selecting Austin Watson 18th overall in 2010 (courtesy of Warren Wimmer/Icon SMI)
After missing out on the playoffs this season, the Nashville Predators are in a precarious situation heading into this weekend’s NHL Draft. General Manager David Poile and the Preds hold the fourth overall pick and with a number of options for picks. Last year the Predators appeared to be a team that could contend for a cup title, but heading into next season, the Predators look like a team in a mini-rebuild. The Preds have only had one general manager in the history of their franchise, and the club is putting their faith in Poile to make the right choice with the highest pick since the franchise's first draft in 1998.
Photo: Swedish forward Filip Forsberg made his NHL debut with Nashville late in 2012-13, less than two weeks after he was acquired from the Washington Capitals (courtesy of Danny Murphy/Icon SMI)
With the hockey season coming to a close, Hockey’s Future has begun awarding our “Prospect Awards” for each franchise. Each team has had its share of standouts, surprises – both good and bad, as well as players who find themselves excelling in a particular facet of the game. While the Nashville Predators do not find themselves in the playoffs this year, they have a crop of prospects that combine skill, speed, and physicality that promises to provide an exciting future for the club.
Photo: Detroit’s signing of Western Michigan defenseman Dan DeKeyser has improved the team’s breakout and transition game (courtesy of Steven King/Icon SMI)
Below is the middle section of the Hockey's Future Spring NHL Team Rankings, the staff's ranking of each NHL team's system based on the strength of the entire prospect pool. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The ranking is done twice a year, with this edition being an update to the Fall ranking.
Photo: Miikka Salomäki ranked fourth on Team Finland in points at the WJC before finishing his third pro season with Kärpät in the SM-liiga (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The Nashville Predators have a lot of youth in various European leagues as well as the NCAA right now. Out of their 13 prospects that play either overseas or in the NCAA, eight of them have been drafted in the past two entry drafts. The presence of players like Jimmy Vesey (Harvard, ECAC) and Pontus Åberg (Djurgårdens, Hockey Allsvenskan) suggests high offensive capability down the road for the Predators; however, true to Nashville tradition their prospects are predominately two-way players, and there are no better examples of this than Kärpät Oulu’s Miikka Salomäki and Minnesota Golden Gophers’ captain Zach Budish.