NASHVILLE, TN – The Nashville Predators will head into the 2013 NHL Entry Draft with one major goal in mind: Offense. All you need to know in Nashville these days is that the Preds were tied with the Florida Panthers with the NHL’s worst offense scoring only 2.27 goals per game, and scored a league low 111 goals all season. Patience is running out on a team that needs to win in order to stay relevant in a tough market. In fact, when players such as Martin Erat beg to be traded, it’s time to get with the program.
You know you are in trouble offensively when a defenseman, Shea Weber, leads your team in points with 28. Only three players had double digits in goals. You can bet that David Poile will be all hands on deck when it comes to making trades come draft day.
As far as the Preds go with their first round pick, 4th overall, beyond the big three in Seth Jones, Nathan MacKinnon, and Jonathan Drouin, Nashville will have the pick of the litter to grab a very good, if not great offensive player. The names have already been thrown out there, but some of them are European. With the Alexander Radulov fresh in the team’s mind, the question of will the Preds pursue another Euro should be answered with a resounding, YES! The team can’t feel slighted every time a situation doesn’t go well.
In the system, Filip Forsberg leads the way thanks to an impatient Washington Capitals organization. You can bet Forsberg will be wearing a Predators jersey come October. In fact, anyone with an ounce of offensive talent will be on the roster, ready or not.
Defense and goaltending are in pretty decent shape but someone will be trade bait if the right trade offer comes along. Still, the Predators missed Ryan Sutter and filling his shoes will be second on the list of priorities.
The list of options come draft day will come down to three Euros (Alexander Barkov, Elias Lindholm, and Valeri Nichushkin) several North Americans (Sean Monahan, Hunter Shinkaruk, and Anthony Mantha). The Preds can only pick one unless they can trade for another top 10 pick (Edmonton?). On draft day, expect to hear the following announcement.
“The Nashville Predators select, with the 4th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Alexander Barkov.”