Nashville Predators get tremendous value out of their 2012 draft class…

2012 NHL Draft logo (revised)

Despite not having a first round pick for the second straight summer, the Nashville Predators fared well at the annual event. The following are the picks, in the order they were made:

Round 2 / 37 overall || Pontus Åberg || LW || Djurgarden (Elitserien)
Round 2 / 50 overall || Colton Sissons || C || Kelowna (WHL)
Round 3 / 66 overall || Jimmy Vesey || LW || South Shore (EJHL)
Round 3 / 89 overall || Brendan Leipsic || LW || Portland (WHL)
Round 4 / 112 overall || Zachary Stepan || C || Shattuck-St. Mary’s (USHS)
Round 4 / 118 overall || Mikko Vainonen || D || HIFK Jr. (Jr. A SM-liiga)
Round 6 / 164 overall || Simon Fernholm || D || Huddinge IK (SuperElit)
Round 6 / 172 overall || Max Görtz || RW || Färjestad (SuperElit)
Round 6 / 179 overall || Marek Mazanec || HC Plzen (Czech)

Of the nine newest Predators, Åberg was ranked #22 overall in The Hockey News’ draft mag, the #15 skater by the International Scouting Service and The Scouting Report‘s 24th ranked player. Not bad for the 37th pick in the draft.

Sissons is another guy whom Nashville “stole” in the second round. They took him at #50 but THN had him slotted as their 40th best prospect while International Scouting had him as first-round caliber at #26.

The Preds didn’t stop there when it came to great value. Finnish blueliner Vainonen was considered the 69th best available player in this years draft by THN and fell all the way to #118 before Nashville scooped him up. Likewise for Zach Stepan, cousin of New York Rangers future star (and Team USA World Juniors hero) Derek Stepan. The Fairbault, Minnesota native comes out of the hockey factory that is Shattuck-St. Mary’s Prep School. Shattuck has produced NHL names such as Sidney Crosby, Jack Johnson, Zach Parise and the aforementioned Stepan cousin Derek, along with many others.

Just about the only “reach” Poile made on this day — at least on paper — was Leipsic. And we use the word “reach” very loosely, that’s how much value Nashville got out of their choices. They traded their 2013 third rounder in order to jump up grab the Portland Winterhawks center in the third round. THN ranked him #94 but the Preds took him at #89. Not exactly a reach but when just about every other pick you made fell in your lap, it’s a noticeable contrast.

Most — if not all — of the newest Predators will be on display here in Music City next week as the annual Development Camp gets underway. You can watch all the action at Centennial SportsPlex located at 222 25th Avenue North.

On-ice sessions open to the public are scheduled for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 9:00am-noon Central as well as Sunday, July 1, from 2:00pm-4:00pm. If you can’t make it out, keep it locked to section303.com for all updates, news and notes.

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