So the draft happened. And much to the public dismay of some bloggers and web savvy fans, the Predators took defenseman Seth Jones with the 4th overall pick. I get it…everyone wanted some offensive skill. But it isn’t everyday that a team in the #4 slot is able to pick the guy they thought was the best player in the draft. It has been interesting to watch the fans on twitter be disappointed, while many of the media outlets seem to want to classify the Predators as one of the winners of the draft. But what’s done is done. Now they have to sign him.
David Poile and Paul Fenton held court today at a press conference, and indicated that they think Jones will be breaking training camp with the Preds this year. So as a Milwaukee fan, this will rouse up a chorus questioning the phrase that pays that plays for days….”The road to Nashville goes through Milwaukee.” But a 4th overall pick? He gets a special road. An HOV lane maybe. Access to a bypass that gets him from Portland to Nashville without having to navigate around the Mars Cheese Castle and adult video stores in Kenosha, and the agonizing traffic in Chicago. Yeah, we may not get to see him in Milwaukee. But I don’t think we should have expected to.
The rest of the draft class? Don’t expect them this year either right now. Not since our old buddy Andreas Thuresson has a Predator been drafted, and then played in Milwaukee starting that year. But the European players should be eligible, in case it is determined that their North American style education should begin immediately. Canadian junior players? Still a pesky age limit before they can play in the A.
But this page on the Predators website has a nice overview of the draft class, with commentary from some of the scouts that actually spent some time watching them. (which is why I link to this page….instead of the Hockey’s Future site). In short….they kind of flipped our world a bit…..large defensemen, short goalies.
Preds prospect camp will start next Tuesday….but the official roster hasn’t been announced yet. You’ll want to keep an eye on the Nashville blogs for updates on how the new guys look, and how some of our guys have improved. This will be their first close up with Magnus Hellberg after we’ve spent the last 6 months gushing about him….hope he lives up to the pretty pictures we painted…
Poile also talked about free agents at the press conference today. Doesn’t sound like Jon Blum and Matt Halischuk were sent qualifying offers, so they’ll be unrestricted free agents on Friday. I know some readers will be bummed and some will be throwing parades with that news about Blum. Me? I’m sorry it didn’t work out.
There were previous reports that Jeremy Smith wasn’t sent a qualifying offer either. Tough to find info about whether or not Daniel Bang was sent one. I’d hope so. He got a nice audition with the Predators at the end of the season, and the critic’s reviews seemed fairly positive. Haven’t seen anything official yet about the other RFA’s, Jack MacLellan, Ben Ryan, or Chet Pickard.
Mike Moore and Scott Ford remain unrestricted free agents at this time.
And free agent frenzy begins Friday. I find twitter to be kind of annoying, but extraordinarily useful on days like Friday, to keep up to date on all the madness. I’m also usually fond of the TSN free agent tracker. So if you are off of work on Friday…kick back and enjoy watching. Or catch the Milwaukee Admirals show at Summerfest at 4pm! Maybe we’ll be able to share some news hot off the presses!