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2014 NHL Draft Central

Predators select Justin Kirkland with the 62nd overall pick


Jun 28, 2014

Originally slated to draft 72nd, the Predators continued to make some moves in the second day of the draft. Moving up ten spaces and trading away their first fourth round pick to the San Jose Sharks for the 62nd pick in the draft.

Selecting Justin Kirkland from the Kelowna Rockets, Nashville builds through a familiar location in the Western Hockey League.

“It’s all a dream come true. It’s hard to put into words, it’s all kind of a blur right now. It’s so surreal. I couldn’t be happier to going to an organization like Nashville. I’m excited for things to come,” said Kirkland as he spoke to the media after his selection in the third round of the NHL draft.

Another player chosen from a organization that the Predators have had success with in the past, selecting Colton Sissons and Shea Weber from the Rockets in 2012 and 2003 respectively.

“I’m excited, it’s obviously good when you have a few guys who can show you the ropes. Colton Sissons, when I was 15 he was the captain [in Kelowna] so I got to look up to him. Now I can look up to him again where he’s starting to make the jump to the National Hockey League. So, I’m excited for that,” said Kirkland. “It’s a first class organization. You can see what they’ve done with some of their guys: Duncan Keith, Shea Weber, Jamie Benn. I’m in good hands there, there’s nothing to worry about.”

Predators general manager David Poile and chief amateur scout Jeff Kealty both spoke highly of the winger while wrapping up the draft.

“We think that Kirkland, as a player, is really blossoming. He could be a power forward that has some good scoring ability. Hopefully we got him in a position where other teams didn’t see the same thing,” said Poile.

“In the third round we made a move to go up and get [Kirkland]. He’s a developing power forward type of guy who keeps getting better and better. He goes to the net and scores goals,” said Kealty.

Similarly to a Taylor Beck type of player, Kirkland fills the hole for a versatile forward that the Predators could use in their system.

“I’m a strong two-way forward and I have really strong offenive instincts. I pride myself on playing a 200 foot game, but also I have really good offensive abilities,” said Kirkland.

In regards to Nashville, Sissons has already had time to talk up the Music City to Kirkland and some of the personality types that Nashville has to offer.

“I know their organization is first class. Colton Sissons has said a lot of good things about it,” said Kirkland. “I know I guess Nashville has country singers, so it’ll be fun to go down there and see what it’s like.”

What I really liked from Kirkland, though, was his composure on how his emotions were as the draft continued through the rounds. Albeit a tad nervous, Kirkland noted that this is only the first step among many to make it to the NHL.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous, but it’s not in your control. You have to try to sit back and take it all in, as well as you can. That’s something I did, it wasn’t something I was going to worry about,” said Kirkland. “All it basically is is an invite to camp, so now I have to go prove myself to Nashville.”

Maintaining that attitude, Kirkland can go far in an organization like Nashville that awards hard work and dedication.

Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua ')}