Nashville Predators: Early 2023 NHL Entry Draft Predictions

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JULY 07: David Poile of the Nashville Predators attends the 2022 NHL Draft at the Bell Centre on July 07, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JULY 07: David Poile of the Nashville Predators attends the 2022 NHL Draft at the Bell Centre on July 07, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The 2023 NHL Entry Draft is less than six months away and will be held on July 28 – 29 in Nashville, Tennessee. As Nashville Predators fans look forward to the coming months of hockey, it can be assured that management have these dates circled on their calendar.

With the draft being held in Nashville, it is sure to have glitz, glamour, never before seen action, and a star-studded Country Music presence. But let’s be honest, we aren’t here to talk about all that, we want to talk about hockey.

Take a look with me at the picks that the Nashville Predators have, who would be a suitable fit to be in the Predators organization, and what this team needs to be more successful on the ice. Let’s get right to it.

Drafts of Nashville Predators past

For all of the criticism, General Manager David Poile has had some recent success in his draft picks going back to his 2019 pick of Philip Tomasino, and especially his 2020 picks of Yaroslav Askarov, Luke Evangelista and Juuso Parssinen.

The Predators have taken a forward in three of their last four drafts with their first round pick. It looks likely they’ll do that again in 2023. 

Looking back to the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, the Nashville Predators have not had a lot of success in developing the young players they have drafted.

The Nashville Predators have had 52 total draft picks from 2015-2022. Of those 52 picks, only 13 players drafted by the Predators have hit the ice in the NHL for the organization. Those 13 players have skated in a total of 863 games with the majority of those games have come from players like Yakov Trenin (189), Thomas Novak (46), Alexandre Carrier (141), Dante Fabbro (219), Eeli Tolvanen (135), Philip Tomasino (76), and Juuso Parssinen (35).

With those seven players making up 841 games played, the remaining six players have only played in 22 NHL games. This type of statistic does not bode well for a team developing players.

Nashville Predators draft numbers

As of right now, the Nashville Predators have eight picks in the 2023 NHL Draft. Six of those picks are originally theirs, and they acquired a third-round pick from San Jose and a fourth-round pick from Toronto.

Sending Luke Kunin to San Jose is one of those picks they acquired, which also included prospect John Leonard who has 24 points in 42 games in the AHL for the Milwaukee Admirals.

Depending on the Nashville Predators play the rest of the season will determine where they fall into line in the draft order.

Also, if the Predators make trades as the trade deadline quickly approaches, they could improve their draft picks or they could lose some depending on the trades made.

Nashville Predators draft predictions

Looking at the prospect pool for the upcoming draft, I think there are a couple different routes the Predators could take.

The Predators should try to add more firepower to this team with their first-round pick. This team lacks in goals for, and an addition of a first round draft pick forward would give them the ability to add more goals to the scoresheet.

Looking at forwards that should be available in the middle to end of the first round, a few that stick out are Ryan Leonard, Daniil But, and Calum Ritchie.

Leonard is an 18-year-old Massachusetts native playing in the USHL and on the U.S. National U18 team this season. In 34 games played on the National team, Leonard had an impressive 25 goals and 27 assists.

For the USHL, Leonard has three goals and seven assists in eight games. Leonard is a fast young player with a great future ahead of him.

Daniil But and Calum Ritchie are similar in their statistics. But has played in 38 games for the MHL and KHL this season and has 18 goals and 10 assists.

Ritchie has played in 43 games in the OHL and has 19 goals and 25 assists. While But plays a left-wing position, Ritchie is a big center that would provide stabilization to a top-six line.

Either one of these three young players would be a great addition and provide more goal scoring ability to the Predators down the road. I think they should have these three players circled, if they are still available when the Predators are put on the clock in the first round of the draft.

Looking at the blue line, other than Dante Fabbro and Alexandre Carrier, the back end is pretty solid for at least the next three seasons.

At this point, it is unknown if Fabbro will be with the team past the trade deadline as he has been in trade rumors for the last few weeks. The Predators should try to lock up Carrier to a long-term extension as he is a young, talented player that has shown he can play big minutes.

If the Predators wanted to add more depth in front of their goaltender, they should look to pick up a defenseman in the second round. Caden Price, Cameron Allen, and Mikhail Gulyayev are three that stick out to me the most.

It is likely however that Gulyayev goes in the first round. The 17-year-old has two goals and 16 assists in 16 games played in the MHL this season. If he does go as a first round pick the Predators should have Price and Allen as potentials to pick up in the second round.

Allen is currently playing in the OHL, skating in 39 games this season, he has put up six goals and 24 assists. One statistic that sticks out about Allen, with the Predators having penalty issues already, is that he has 54 penalty minutes in those 39 games.

Price, on the other hand, does not score as much but is a more disciplined defenseman.

In 44 games played in the WHL, Price has five goals and 19 assists but has only amassed 29 penalty minutes. He feeds to puck well to those on the ice around him and has the mindset to not take penalties while doing.

The Predators are pretty solid in the crease at this point and if they are going to draft a goaltender, it is likely to come in the last couple rounds of the draft.

Four Games to Circle on Preds Schedule for February. dark. Next

Nashville Predators draft summary

The Nashville Predators need more scoring, and they need it bad. They should look at drafting a forward in the first round, followed by a defenseman, and then a few more forwards in the later stages of the draft.

This is a pretty loaded draft in terms of talent at the forward position in the first round, so regardless of where the Predators pick, they should have plenty to choose from to fill a need this organization has.

With the number of picks that the Nashville Predators have currently before any trades happen, there is no reason for them to not be able to add some very talented players to this organization.

No matter what route the front office takes when that time comes, they need to ensure that they are developing these players properly, in order to maximize their talents.