Nashville Predators 2016 Entry Draft Needs

Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) . Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) . Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

The Nashville Predators have the #17 overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft.  What will they be looking for?

Nashville Predators GM David Poile has said that he will both look for the best player available but might look extra hard at a defenseman in the first couple of rounds.

There are some needs for the Predators though and with eight picks now available to them, they should be able to fill the pipeline unless they end up trading a pick or two.

Related Story: Reasons For a Draft Day Trade

Here is a look at where they currently have picks and what number they are in the upcoming Entry Draft courtesy of this Tweet by Jeremy Gover:

Thanks to Jimmy Vesey, we now have a pick in each round and two in the third.  Here are a couple of things that the Predators need to look for:

Skilled Forwards

If you’ve been reading our draft reports, you know that there are a wealth of big, fast forwards in this draft.  At least a couple of them look to fall to the Predators.  Guys like Keiffer Bellows, Julien Gauthier, Mike McLeod, the list goes on. (Check out our Draft Prospect Reports below).  There are some really talented guys.

Right now, there are some good prospects in Milwaukee.  Pontus Aberg, Kevin Fiala, Vlad Kamenev are all close and a couple could possibly make it to the Predators this season.

Yakov Trenin is a center that played in Juniors last season after looking great in prospect camp.  He didn’t do quite as well as hoped.  Tyler Moy is at Boston University and also looks like a work in progress.  And we all know what happened to Jimmy Vesey.

With that in mind, we need a couple of good, young forwards. We know that it is near the end of the line for Mike Fisher and Mike Ribeiro.  It looks like a stronger upfront draft at forward than at defense.

Strong Defensemen

It is no secret that the Nashville Predators have lost a couple of good young defensemen recently in their pipeline.  Right now the Preds top two, who will probably both play at Milwaukee this season are Jack Dougherty and Alexandre Carrier.  Both are very promising but aren’t near ready to play in Nashville.

Related Story: Preds Losing Defensive Prospects

Prospects like Jake Bean, (What if I stick a Bean in my ear?), Dante Fabbro and Charlie McAvoy all look like great defensive players in the future.

It sure looks like the Nashville Predators are not going to be able to protect all four of their top defensemen in the upcoming Expansion Draft.  Shea Weber isn’t getting any younger and this may be near the end for Barett Jackman.  The Preds are going to be needing some good defenseman unless Anthony Bitetto and Petter Granberg make huge steps forward.

Future Goaltender

We all know that Pekka Rinne is getting up there in years too.  He may have two or three years or more left but it might take that long to get a draftee ready.  We have Juuse Saros in Milwaukee who looks to be the goaltender of the future.  There are no guarantees that he translates well from minors to Nashville but he looks like a good one.

More from Predlines

The Predators just signed Jonas Gunnarsson from the Swedish League.  They like him and we will see what happens with him in Milwaukee next season.  The Preds also signed Marek Mazanec to a two-way contract.  All in all, there are no sure things.

There is not a lot of goaltender depth in the draft either.  USA Today had an article that only named 10 goalies that might go in the top four rounds.   That is not a lot to go around for 30 teams.  Filip Gustavsson and Carter Hart are the top two and they may not even go in the First Round.

This could be a tough year to pick up a good goaltender, but you never know.  After all, Pekka Rinne was chosen #258 in the eight round back in 2004 by the Nashville Predators. He turned out to be pretty darn good.

Check out our other Prospect Reports:

Max Jones               Julien Gauthier     Kieffer Bellows

Dante Fabbro         Riley Tufte             Jake Bean

Michael McLeod   Luke Kunin            German Rubtsov  

 Charlie McAvoy     Clayton Keller     Lucas Johansen

Next: Three Questions on Draft Day

It is going to be interesting to see which way the Predators go.  We can’t wait to see who they choose.