Nashville Predators Strengthen Center Group with Fedor Svechkov

With the 19th pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the Nashville Predators select Fedor Svechkov during the first round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft at the NHL Network studios on July 23, 2021 in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
With the 19th pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the Nashville Predators select Fedor Svechkov during the first round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft at the NHL Network studios on July 23, 2021 in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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The NHL Draft always brings a sense of new hope for a lot of teams, and the Nashville Predators are certainly one of those teams as they navigate through an uncertain offseason.

Normally the Predators are in a position of strength and optimism every offseason, just looking to keep their NHL core strong and trying to get over the hump in the postseason. However, currently the team has a more long-term future type of feel.

The Predators made a lot of people happy by selecting center Fedor Svechkov out of Russia. A promising young player who has a 90 percent certainty rating to become an NHL regular according to Dobber Prospects.

Nashville Predators seem to have gotten their top choice in 19th Pick

You would’ve had a hard time finding anyone who thought the Predators should go a different direction with their first round pick than taking a center. It’s their biggest position of need in terms of depth in their prospect pool.

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Svechkov is slated to play in the KHL this season for SKA St. Petersburg, while most recently spending time with the Russian junior teams and for Ladia Togliatta of the MHL in Russia.

You can’t help but get enthusiastic about the Svechkov pick when you see his scouting reports. Tony Ferrari of Dobber Prospects had this to say about him in his scouting report back in February:

"“One of the best two-way forwards in the draft. Svechkov is great in transition, excellent in his own end, and has some offensive tools that are on the verge of really popping”."

Sign me up for all of that. It’s what the Predators have always lacked is centers who can drive the offensive possessions and create for their linemates on a highly efficient level.

Svechkov is 18-years-old and was ranked the No.13 overall prospect by Elite Prospects, citing “he’s always scanning the ice for threats and options when he’s off the puck, maintaining a mental map of the ice”.

Check out Svechkov’s highlight reel courtesy of Prospect Film Room, with the opening highlight showing him skate effectively without the puck, receive the pass and find an open teammates for an easy goal:

Judging by a lot of what I’ve seen in scouting reports, Svechkov carries a high hockey IQ that you can’t really teach. You expect smart players like this to keep developing as they get older and get more experience in the more competitive leagues.

Svechkov had a pretty busy 2020-21 season by playing in Russia and combine for 60 games played and 40 points across three different leagues, including the Russia U-18 national team.

Predators General Manager David Poile seems to be very pleased with the selection of Svechkov as being a player they all wanted, and not having to settle for maybe a player that was a Plan B or Plan C, per a quote from the Nashville Predators official website:

"“Svechkov…you’re talking about getting a center iceman as offensive and as defensive in the way he’s always been described to me, and what I’ve seen on the video is he looks like that complete type of player that can really play with top players.”"

You’re always going to see general managers verbally say they’re happy with their picks, but I really genuinely think Poile is very happy with this draft pick of Svechkov, and also moving back into the first round via trade for the feisty and energetic forward Zachary L’Heureux.

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Just as I opened up this article, the Predators should have a sense of satisfaction and hope regarding yesterday’s first round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. They accomplished what they wanted to by filling some areas of weakness.

It’s likely going to be a long climb back up to Stanley Cup contention, but the future continues to look bright down the road as they’re adding a lot of promising young pieces, including players that already saw the NHL ice last season and players that could be NHL ready right now as we speak from the last couple of draft classes.