Dmitri Simashev, D, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (KHL)
Projected Pick: 10 to 15
I’m extremely torn on Dmitr Simashev and his potential match with the Nashville Predators. One side says to me that the Predators need to pass on taking one-way players who don’t projected to bring much offense, especially with their 15th pick.
However, another side of me is a reminder that Simashev is high-regarded as the best defensive defenseman in this draft and has all the tools to be lockdown blueline defender in the NHL. At 6’4″ and the rare combination of effective skating and ability to defend the ice against fast opponents is tantalizing.
The situation for the Nashville Predators is obviously the dire need of offense, but you can’t put all of your eggs into that basket. It might be a situation of drafting the best player available regardless of position, and I’m not sold on the Predators defensive core in the long-term future.
“Simashev combines great size at 6’4″ wth outstanding skating ability. He has a long and powerful stride. This helps him to generate excellent speed and acceleration in both directions. Simashev also has very good edgework and agility.”- Kyle Pereira of Last Word on Sports
Sure, going into 2023-24 the starting six on defense looks pretty set. However, I’m still very unsure about Dante Fabbro’s extended future past this upcoming season, Tyson Barrie might be trade bait at the 2024 deadline, Alexandre Carrier has RFA negotiations coming up, and Mark Borowiecki just retired.
There is also the unfortunate outside factors of the Russia-Ukraine war. Simashev is reportedly signed to 2025 in the KHL, so there is that mitigating factor that might cause Simashev to plummet down the draft boards even past the Predators’ initial pick.
So yeah, drafting a stalwart defensive defenseman isn’t the worst idea in the world. In fact, it could end up being rather brilliant. I remain torn, but I’m debuting Simashev on my final Predators draft board.