Connor Zary, C, Kamloops Blazers (WHL)
The value of a dynamic centerman can never be overlooked, and Connor Zary has high potential to eventually become a top-six center in the NHL. This young man does so many things very well on both ends of the ice.
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Zary will likely be there for the taking at the 11th pick in the first round. It’s a matter of which direction the Predators want to go in terms of rebuilding their prospect pool. Building up your depth at the center position is usually a wise choice.
The Predators already have Philip Tomasino, last year’s first-round draft selection, waiting in the wings to become Nashville’s next big centerman. After that, the position is full of uncertainty.
I really want the Predators to take a high-scoring winger first, but Zary looks to be a low-risk and conservative choice, even if it might be somewhat of a reach taking him so far up in the first round.
Zary has a strong forechecking game, knows how to effectively control possession and can find open players for scoring chances. All the the things you want in a center, and he could definitely end up becoming a vital piece of the Predators’ bottom-six in a couple years.
With 48 assists this past season, Zary has a ton of potential to be a quality point producer in the NHL. It’s a matter of if the Predators are willing to make that big of a reach for him as many mock drafts have him projected later in the first round.