Predators draft preview: Five potential targets for Round 1
JUN 03, 2014 6:26p ET
Last year, Nashville Predators general manager David Poile went into the NHL draft adamant he would take a forward.
And then Seth Jones -- the highest-rated prospect on the Predators' draft board -- fell to the club at No. 4 overall. As such, Nashville grabbed the high-end blueliner.
With the Predators parting ways with Barry Trotz -- the only coach in the organization's first 15 seasons -- and hiring Peter Laviolette as the new coach, offense has now become the order of the day.
In fact, for a few months already, going beyond the NHL trade deadline, Poile has had plans on giving the Predators a "new look."
Filip Forsberg and Calle Jarnkrok -- the center that Nashville received from Detroit in exchange for longtime Pred David Legwand -- are part of that offensive reconstruction. Jarnkrok had a very successful debut with Nashville this season, totaling nine points in 12 games and a plus-7 rating.
As they look to add skill at forward, the Predators could be in luck come draft time (June 27 in Philadelphia). At the top end, the draft is chock-full of forwards.
The Predators own the 11th overall selection in Round 1: Here are some potential prospects at that slot:
Jared McCann, C, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL
Here is something that could be music to the Predators' ears: The 6-foot, 175-pound McCann wears No. 19 and models his game after Chicago's Jonathan Toews, according to his draft profile on NHL.com.
With the Predators in the same division as Toews, there's nothing like having one of your own to try and battle with him.
McCann finished as the No. 10-ranked skater in NHL Central Scouting's final North American rankings. McCann scored 27 goals and had 35 assists for 62 points in 64 games. He also earned a plus-9 rating.
Alex Tuch, RW/C, U.S. National Team Development Program
With the Predators' top center, Fisher, edging closer to retirement, a player like Tuch -- at least physically at 6-4, 213 -- would resemble former Predators center Jason Arnott. Between Poile and Laviolette, the Predators have deep ties to USA Hockey.
(Don't forget that Seth Jones came out of this program.)
Tuch tied for the U.S. under-18 team's lead with seven game-winning goals and a plus-35 rating. He also ranked third on the team with 64 points in 61 games (29 goals and 35 assists).
Tuch shot up during the mid-term ratings, improving from the 21st-ranked North American skater to No. 12.
He will play at Boston College. One of his neighbors growing up in Syracuse, N.Y., was former NHL-er Tim Connolly, who is 15 years older.
William Nylander, C/RW, Sodertalje (Sweden)
Nylander is the son of former NHL center Michael Nylander, who totaled 679 points in 920 NHL games with Chicago, Washington, Boston and New York Rangers.
The Predators have loaded up on Swedes in recent years (Hornqvist, Viktor Stalberg, Jarnkrok, Mattias Ekholm and Forsberg, among others).
However, in terms of what they want down the middle, Nylander could be a bit small at 5-9, especially with Jarnkrok at 5-11.
Still, there's no denying Nylander's skill. He was named the best forward at the 2014 Under-18 World Championship after leading all players in assists (10) and points (16) in seven games.
Nylander is the No. 2-ranked European skater by Central Scouting.
He played with four different teams last season: An elite-league team, a junior team and two second-division teams, one on loan.
Brendan Perlini, LW, Niagara (OHL)
The 6-2 1/2, 205-pounder had a breakout season with 34 goals and 37 assists in 58 games. In his previous two seasons, he totaled just eight goals in 59 games. Perlini is rated as the No. 8 North American skater.
Perlini would give the Predators some size and skill on the wing -- a combination they don't necessarily have in one player.
David Pastrnak, LW, Sodertalje (Sweden)
A Czech native, Patrnak plays on a second-division team in Sweden where he led it in assists (16) and points (24) in 36 games.
At 5-10, 165 pounds, he sounds a bit like former Predator Martin Erat, although he plays the opposite wing. Pastrnak is the No. 5-ranked European skater.