Last night, Nashville’s offseason officially started as the NHL Draft Lottery came and went with the Predators locking up the fourth pick in the 2013 Draft, their second highest pick in franchise history. Now, with just about two months remaining until the actual draft itself, all that’s left is wait and speculation.
So, what will David Poile and Nashville’s management end up doing with the pick? Realistically there are only two options: use it or trade it. That being said, let’s break down what could possibly happen.
Trading away the Number 4 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft:
The prospect of trading away a top five pick in a draft is a little disconcerting or a little exciting, depending on which direction the team is going and what’s coming back in return for it. Nashville has a definite unique opportunity to be able to present offers to teams in the three draft picks ahead of them and to field offers from the 26 teams below them trying to pry a top five pick away.
Will they, though? Talking with Josh Cooper of The Tennessean yesterday, David Poile dropped this quote:
“You don’t know what’s going to come your way in terms of options with trades or what have you because you have such a low pick, but if we do draft, I would be 90 percent sure we’re going to take a forward”
That leaves every possibility for Nashville to perhaps trade away their current first round pick. Would they be fools to do so? Absolutely not. Poile is a magician when it comes to trades and acquisitions, he wouldn’t be in the role he’s in now for so long unless he was. Plus, the possibilities are endless as to what Nashville could package together to move up in the draft and what they could get in return to move down.
If a package was offered to David Poile to move down one, two, five, or even ten spots down in the draft that was just too good to say no, would he take it? Absolutely he would. Poile knows and understand how this game is played, that sometimes you need to sacrifice a little to gain a little.
In my personal opinion, I really don’t believe that a package is going to come along that will be so enticing as to move the Predators down from the fourth pick (or vice-versa seeing the Predators put together a package to move up), however anything can and does happen at the NHL Entry Draft.
You could even see a trade made while the Predators are on the clock.
Keeping the Number 4 pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft:
This is, in my opinion, the most logical course of action and what will probably happen. The last time the Predators had a pick this high was in their inaugural year where they drafted David Legwand second overall in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.
While Predatorial columnist James Nelson will go into more detail soon on the best draft picks the Predators could choose and the possibilities of each, people who keep their eyes on the Nashville Predators need to remember one very important thing when it comes to this draft pick: It is, by far, the most important draft pick since David Legwand was selected.
Nashville could take the safe route and draft whoever is left between Jones/MacKinnon/Drouin/Barkov. They could be a little risky and choose Valeri Nichushkin, a player who appears to have other-worldly talent but with it comes the scare of leaving for the KHL as he remains under the umbrella of a current two-year contract. Yet, in the end, what Nashville will be drafting is an immediate game-changer.
Yes, it’s going to take a little time for them to develop fully, however the drafted players impact to the team will be immediate, this is almost a guarantee. The Predators have not seen a truly elite talent on forward since the days of Paul Kariya, and those were by far the best seasons in the history of the franchise.
This is an incredibly exciting and nerve-racking time for the organization and it’s fanbase. It signals the start of a new era, one that could (and should) bring the franchise back to the playoffs next season and possibly lead ownership/management to the Stanley Cup-winning hockey team centerpiece they’ve been hoping for.