#1: Axel Sandin-Pellikka, D, Sweden/SHL
Projected Pick: 10 to 15
With this draft class being so deep, the requirement for the Predators to have to trade up isn’t as high as a draft with a steep talent drop off outside of the top-10. Axel Sandin-Pellikka is a prime example of that.
Sandin-Pellikka is probably the best offensive defenseman in the draft class. A potential power play quarterback style player in his NHL future. He also uses his strong skating to get into transition and make plays off the rush.
Yes, please. The Predators need another defenseman in their prospect pool who has those traits.
“He’s great at manoeuvring along the offensive blue line to find holes in which to get pucks to the net. He plays with great poise, and is smart enough to know what to do with the puck, managing it well in all zones.”- Sam Consentino of Sportsnet
Sandin-Pellikka actually has two-way skills to his game. Although not his strong suite, Sandin-Pellikka can be a worthy defender as well, but will need to round out his game with the right coaching once getting to the NHL.
One of the biggest risers over the past year in this draft class is Sandin-Pellikka. He really got scouts’ attention by playing in the top pro league in Sweden and not looking bad at all. Not an easy task for a player who just turned 18.
Unlike Simashev, Sandin-Pellikka isn’t a heavy hitting defenseman. But in an evolving NHL game that rewards offensively aggressive players, Sandin-Pellikka has the higher upside than Simashev if he can just improve a bit on the physical part of his game.
Sandin-Pellikka may get taken as high as the 10th pick, which is why if the Predators have him circled, don’t completely discount a trade up by Trotz.
Sandin-Pellikka would fill a major need for the Predators’ prospect pool and that’s another offensive driver for their blueline that can eventually become a power play specialist.