NHL Draft 2023: Nashville Predators Top-5 Draft Board and Strategy

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - APRIL 30: Gabe Perreault of United States in action during final of U18 Ice Hockey World Championship match between United States and Sweden at St. Jakob-Park at St. Jakob-Park on April 30, 2023 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jari Pestelacci/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)
BASEL, SWITZERLAND - APRIL 30: Gabe Perreault of United States in action during final of U18 Ice Hockey World Championship match between United States and Sweden at St. Jakob-Park at St. Jakob-Park on April 30, 2023 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jari Pestelacci/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images) /
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Gabe Perreault
(Photo by Jari Pestelacci/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images) /

#1: Gabe Perreault, Left Wing, Team USA U-18

Gabe Perreault looks very likely to be available to the Predators if they stay at No.15, but it would still be a solid pick to be excited about.

Perreault is a fiery forward who plays with tenacity, hits hard but still has tons of offensive upside. His one downside according to scouts is his skating and maybe a little undersized at 5’11”. But he makes up for it with his energy and physical game.

And back to Perreault’s offensive upside; he has piled up 132 points for the Team USA U-18 National Development Team. He’s a player who plays a fearless style and can also end up being a power play weapon down the road with his passing abilities.

Check out the stickhandling, aggressiveness on the rush and passing skills in this highlight clip for Perreault:

With the Nashville Predators quickly elevating a lot of dynamic forwards through their system like Luke Evangelista, Egor Afanasyev and possibly even Joakim Kemell, they’ll need to reload the system with another offensively dynamic prospect like Gabe Perreault. And he’ll likely slip to No.15 on draft day in Nashville.

What draws me to Perreault more so than Yager is his playing style that fits exactly what Trotz is looking to stockpile in the draft class. An offensive edge and a gritty combination of physicality and offensive skill.

It’s downright hard to wrap your head around 132 points in 68 games at any level, and that’s what Perreault accomplished this past year in junior development hockey with Team USA. He is a prototypical point guard on the ice, finding teammates and making offensive happen.

I’ve got Perreault at the top of my Nashville Predators draft board because I think he’s most realistic, a bit safer of a pick than Benson, but still absolutely has a high upside.