The Nashville Predators work at the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas is done. For the first time in Predators franchise history the organization didn’t select in either the first, second, or third round. The Predators traded what would have been their first selection of the draft, third round (eighty-ninth overall) pick, to the Florida Panthers in exchange for their third round pick in next year’s draft. The end result sees the smallest draft class in franchise history with only four selections taken.
Jáchym Kondelík was the first selection of the Predators at the 2018 NHL Draft. The 18-year old Czech forward was taken in the fourth round with the 111th overall pick in the draft.
4th Round, 111th Overall
5th Round, 131st Overall
5th Round, 151st Overall
7th Round, 213th Overall
Kondelík is the defacto headliner of the Nashville Predators 2018 NHL Draft Class. This might come across badly with so few picks and all coming late -but- this is an organization and scouting department that is able to get the likes of Viktor Arvidsson, Mattias Ekholm, Juuse Saros, and Craig Smith in the fourth round. Kondelík could well develop into that group and make the scouts look as sharp as they often are.
What stands out instantly for me with Kondelík right away are two things. Firstly, he is 6’6″ and one of the tallest players in this draft class. Secondly, he is due for the University of Connecticut this Fall where he will join a fellow Czech native that was drafted by the Predators last year: Tomáš Vomáčka. Adapting to the ice in North America, for both, isn’t much of an issue as both were products of the USHL. Kondelík is coming off of his second full-season with the Muskegon Lumberjacks where he produced 34 points (16 goals, 18 assists) in 44 games. The USHL is also where last year’s first round selection by the Predators, Eeli Tolvanen, played while with the Sioux City Musketeers. It’s neat to see the Predators going towards that route in scouting and tapping into the USHL’s talent pool.
In the fifth round the Predators had two picks and used both to select defensemen: Spencer Stastney and Vladislav Yeryomenko.
Stastney is a Mequon, Wisconsin native that has been working under the United States National Team Development Program. He is a 5’10” left shooting defenseman that will be due to arrive at Notre Dame in the Fall. Yeryomenko is a Belarus native that has been playing with the Calgary Hitmen in the WHL the past two seasons. He stands at 6’0″ and is a right shot. In his major juniors career with Calgary he has 66 points (19 goals, 47 assists) in 125 games.
With the Predators final selection in the 2018 NHL Draft they turned their attention towards the net and selected Milan Klouček. The addition of Klouček adds yet another Czech goaltender in the system which already has Vomáčka, Karel Vejmelka, and Miroslav Svoboda. Klouček has pretty good size in net as a 6’3″ goaltender and is 20-years old playing out of HC Dynamo Pardubice in the Czech league. He spent his 2017-18 season bouncing around Czech and on loan to Czech2 league teams HC Stadion Litomerice and Rytiri Kladno.
Overall, this was a short and sweet NHL Draft as far as the Predators are concerned.
The Predators trading with the Florida Panthers and out to get another pick in 2019 sort of tells me the scouting staff felt comfortable from the mid-rounds to the finish of getting numerous players of like-talent levels that would work just as well as any other round. They get a -big- sized center. They add more defense on the off-chance some of the youngsters in Milwaukee right now don’t develop much further in the coming season or two. And, hey, why not another Czech goaltender? We can’t all have Evan Smith, right? This was a compact draft class that added parts to all positions. For now, not sure you can ask for much more that that.
What do you think of the 2018 NHL Draft Class of the Nashville Predators? Are you disappointed in the lack of picks or satisfied in how those picks were utilized? With how thin the prospect pool currently is, and with how marginally it grew today, are your in Milwaukee at all worried for the short-term repercussions that the Milwaukee Admirals will face in the AHL as the likes of the Grand Rapids Griffins and Rockford IceHogs grew a ton through this draft over the next handful of seasons?
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