Should the Nashville Predators Keep Both 1st-Round Picks in NHL Draft?

Dec 27, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Nashville Predators head coach Barry Trotz watches his team take on the Dallas Stars during the game at the American Airlines Center. The Stars defeated the Predators 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 27, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Nashville Predators head coach Barry Trotz watches his team take on the Dallas Stars during the game at the American Airlines Center. The Stars defeated the Predators 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

A major theme for the Nashville Predators heading into the offseason is a changing of the guard. This for a franchise that just hired only it’s fourth head coach in its history, and now bringing in just its second General Manager.

Barry Trotz will officially take over for David Poile at the end of the month as the new General Manager, while Andrew Brunette takes over for John Hynes behind the bench. A gradual, but evident shift in philosophies are now expected, and it starts in just over a week with the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.

The trade deadline was widely viewed as a success for the Nashville Predators as they acquired so many draft picks, including the enormous haul of picks from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for fan-favorite Tanner Jeannot.

So this begs the question; how will the Nashville Predators manage all of these 13 picks? Surely they’re going to move around the draft and maybe even try to facilitate a draft day trade for a big time free agent, like Alex DeBrincat.

Should Trotz hold serve with the 15th & 24th picks or look to deal?

The Predators are currently holding the 15th and 24th overall picks in next week’s draft, which is being held right in their cozy confines of Bridgestone Arena. I expect to see them be active as soon as the first round and possibly try to move up, or dangle that 24th pick as part of a trade package.

Trotz has already hinted that the trade market is where the Predators are going to be looking to make some moves, as well as swinging for players who can “get fans out of their seats”, per Alex Daugherty of Penalty Box Radio. 

I don’t know about you, but this gives me the notion that Trotz might try to move up from 15 if the opportunity presents itself. Furthermore, if the Predators are able to get someone they really want with their initial first-round pick, they might be more willing to deal the 24th-overall pick for a trade of a veteran from a team that’s looking to shed some salary cap.

As you can see, a lot of moving parts here, and Trotz holds a lot of cards. Maybe more so than any other team in the first round, the Nashville Predators are going to have a microscope on them to see if they makes some moves.

However, the other thought process of keeping both first-round picks is certainly the more long-term approach. With this being such a deep draft class, you have the opportunity to draft two franchise caliber players at picks 15 and 24. This is one of the deeper draft classes we’ve seen in quite a while.

Updated Nashville Predators Draft Board for both 1st-Round Picks

First off, I’m going to drop Zach Benson off my list from last week. Not that I don’t hope with everything in me that teams pass on him and he falls back, but I just don’t see it happening. The offensive upside and two-way game cancels out any concerns you might have due to his smaller size, so unless you’re trading up for him, I don’t see it happening.

Related Story. Zach Benson Falling to Preds Would be So Perfect. light

Looking at the draft class and first round caliber players, here’s my short list of prospects on my radar for both the 15th pick and at the 24th pick:

  •  Axel Sandin Pellikka (D), 11 to 15 range, could be Top-10. 

Mike Morreale in’s latest mock draft projects Pellikka to the Nashville Predators. This would be a potential steal at 15 due to Pellikka’s chance at being the best defenseman in the draft class and high offensive traits, especially on the power play.

  •  Gabriel Perrault (RW), 15 to 20 range, should be available for Preds

Perrault has been all over mock drafts recently. Some scouts love his upside and offensive IQ, while others aren’t as high on him and have him falling to late first round. Either way, there’s a solid chance he’ll be on the board if the Predators stay at the 15th pick.

  • Andrew Cristall (LW), 15 to 20 range, dynamic offensive winger

Cristall has really started peaking my interest as of late. Another example of how deep this draft class is with offensive talent, and you don’t have to frantically try to trade up to the top-10 to acquire it. Much like Perrault, Cristall is mocked right in the neighborhood of where the Predators are selecting at 15, but it’s highly unlikely he’ll fall back to 24.

  • Colby Barlow (LW), 15 to outside top-20, might be in play at 24th

You know what would be a perfect scenario with both the 15th and 24th picks? If the Predators get Pellikka at 15 and Barlow at 24. It’s a long shot because both could drop off the board before those picks come around, but we’re talking about a very unpredictable and fluid first round outside of the top-5.

Barlow has a wicked shot and piles up the goals. He’s not shy about finding ways to get shots on goal. The Predators undeniably could use more of that in their system.

  • Gavin Brindley (C, RW), Underrated in this Draft Class, possible target at 24th

Looking more at the 24th pick, I love the thought of Brindley still being available at this point. The University of Michigan product was overshadowed by his teammate Adam Fantilli, but don’t let that steer you away from how aggressive Brindley plays on both ends. A major steal is possible here if the Predators take him at 24.

Brindley is projected in Daily Faceoff’s latest mock draft of going all the way back No.29. He’s listed as the No.23 prospect in the draft class by The Hockey Writers. 

Bottom Line: Nashville Predators have tons of options and your guess is as good as mine on what they do.

This is going to be such an entertaining draft for many reasons with all of the talent and all of the unknows once you get past Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli and Leo Carlsson.

There’s no right or wrong answer here on what Trotz and the Predators should do in the first round. It’s all going to be about if their scouting department is set on getting a certain player and what the trade market looks like as the draft unfolds.

In the 2022 NHL Draft the Predators decided to part ways with Luke Kunin and acquired John Leonard in return from the San Jose Sharks along with a third round pick in this upcoming draft.

The 2023 NHL Entry Draft begins on Wednesday June 28 from Nashville at 7 P.M. EST and will be televised on ESPN and Sportsnet.