Austin Watson, the Predators’ first round pick in 2009, discusses the improvements he’s made to his game.
The defending CHL Player of the Year is attempting to crack Nashville’s roster.
Mattias Ekholm won Sweden’s 2011 rookie of the year award. Now, he tries to crack Nashville’s roster.
Chet Pickard was once considered the Predators’ goalie of the future. This season, he will attempt to get back on course.
The Predators drafted Ryan Ellis, Taylor Beck, Michael Latta, Mattias Ekholm, Craig Smith and Gabriel Bourque in the first five rounds of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
Could it become David Poile’s masterpiece?
The last time David Poile lured a Wisconsin player out of school was when Ryan Suter left the Badgers to join the Predators organization.
Craig Smith, a Madison native like Suter, is the next, foregoing his last two years of eligibility to sign a with Nashville. Drafted in the fourth round in 2009 behind Ryan Ellis, Zach Budish, Charles-Olivier Roussel, Taylor Beck, and Michael Latta, Smith has spent the last two seasons at the University of Wisconsin. During those two seasons, including a freshman season where he was teammate to Hobey Baker winner and current Nashville Predator Blake Geoffrion, he scored 76 points (27 G – 49 A) in 82 games. In addition, Smith earned a spot on Team USA during the 2011 IIHF World Championship, where he scored 6 points (3 G – 3 A) in 7 games, ranking him as the #2 scorer for Team USA in the tournament.
While he isn’t the answer to the Predators’ goal scoring conundrum – he’s more of an assist guy – Smith is the type of playmaker that simply makes things happen. A good all-around player, Smith should be able to compete for a spot in the NHL coming straight out of camp.
Press release after the jump.
The Saint Johns Sea Dogs’ Tomas Jurco is so adept with his stickhandling that he might be a witch.
Lightning-fast Daniel Catenacci from the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds could be a younger Steve Sullivan.
Could another Windsor Spitfire wind up in the Predators organization in the form of Alexander Khokhlachev?
Could the London Knights’ Vladislav Namestnikov become the first second-generation Predator in franchise history?
The Portland Winterhawks’ Ty Rattie has quick hands but slow feet. Still, could he be the elusive scorer that the Predators are always on the hunt for?
The Victoriaville Tigres captain is one of the best defensive forwards in the draft.
Oshawa’s Boone Jenner evokes comparisons to Ryan Kesler and may be the best fit for Nashville’s system in the 2011 NHL Draft, but will he still be on the board?
Could the Plymouth Whalers’ Stefan Noesen fall into David Poile’s lap?
The Seattle Thunderbirds’ Colin Jacobs could exemplify the “Predator way”.