Three Minutes With: goaltending prospect Chet Pickard…

This is the eighth in a multi-part series leading up to the 2010-11 regular season.

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To help bridge the gap between now and the regular season, we will be doing a series called Three Minutes With. Every installment will be with a different member of the Nashville Predators family. Could be players. Could be coaches. Could even be fans.

In the eighth installment we have Nashville goaltending prospect Chet Pickard. Pickard went 14-16-3 and one shutout in his first professional season with the Milwaukee Admirals this past year. Much is expected from the 2008 first round pick this upcoming year and he appears poised to battle for the back-up role with the big club. What’s working against him, however, is the fact that Pekka Rinne is a workhorse. If he were to win the back-up NHL gig, his development might be stunted due to the fact he’d probably only see 15-20 games. In Milwaukee, he could become the starter or, worst case scenario, split starting duties with either Mark Dekanich, Anders Lindback or Jeremy Smith (i.e. whoever doesn’t get the Preds back-up job). Splitting time on the AHL level might do wonders for his confidence and, as we mentioned, should further his development. Meanwhile, back at Development Camp in July, Chet sat down with section303.com and talked about the thrill and excitement that was his brother, Calvin Pickard, being drafted by the Colorado Avalanche this past June.

Jeremy K. Gover: Talk a little bit about what it was like to be sitting at the NHL Draft this year and watching your brother get drafted.
Chet Pickard: It was awesome. I’m very proud of him. Obviously, he’s a great goalie. We tried to prepare him for all the stressful times the draft is and he handled it really good and I was proud of him. For me, it was great to be there and have no stress on me.

JG: You weren’t the one drafted so you don’t have to give a diplomatic answer. Jack Campbell was expected to be the first goaltender chosen but when Phoenix chose Mark Visentin over Calvin at #27, was that tough on him? Basically, how difficult was it to see a guy who wasn’t projected to be a first round pick be chosen before your brother, who was ranked much higher?
CP: Uh, it’s hard to answer that. Obviously, you get all dressed up, you get a new suit and tie and all that, and you want to go in the first round because that’s what it is. It’s upsetting. Not the fact that Visentin went (higher) but the fact that he didn’t go in the first round. You know, my brother’s a big competitor so, if he wasn’t upset that he didn’t go in the first round, we’d have thought something was wrong. So yeah, he was upset but he got over it. The fact that he got picked there, in the second round, was great and kids would kill for that opportunity so he was thrilled and we’re thrilled for him. I told him “once you get through draft day, everybody’s on an equal playing field.” For me, I had to learn that. I thought because I was a first rounder I could step in and everything would be given to me. But no. It’s just a first step. From there, it’s what you do from there.

JG: How tough is it watching a loved one have to wait the extra day? You guys are in the building, most have him projected as a first rounder but then, all of a sudden, pick 30 comes and goes and you’re still waiting. How did he handle the whole waiting-through-the-night aspect of it?
CP: You know, even though it wasn’t my draft year, I felt like I was big part of it. He’s my younger brother. I’ve been there for him whenever I can and he’s been there for me. I mean, we’re family. Obviously, it’s upsetting in a way but you can’t look at it that way. I told him “I was a first rounder and I’m not in the NHL today so it’s not like it’s a big deal.” Like I said, when you get drafted, it’s the first step. Yeah it’s great to go in the first round. You get to go up on stage and all that but, you know, come training camp and after all the glory days of the draft are over, you’re all on the same playing field and you’ve got to earn that spot.

JG: You now officially have one professional season under your belt. Do you ever look back and say “Wow. I got to stand on that stage and get my picture taken” and all of the formality stuff that the fans get to see? Do you ever relish that you had that opportunity?
CP: Oh I think it’s great. When I got drafted in the first round, it was a dream come true. Obviously, only 30 kids a year get to do that and it’s amazing. But, for my brother, he got to go down to the table and put the jersey on and I saw the smile on his face and he was pumped. He was pumped for the next few days and he’s still excited. He’s already been to Colorado now so I’ll be excited to see how he does. So, you know, for me it was a great moment. One of the best moments of my life. One of the best moments for my family. So, it’s not about going in the first round, it’s about being drafted and what you do from there.

JG: So how do two brothers, so close in age, grow up both to be goalies. Doesn’t one need to be shooting on the other?
CP: Ah, I think it’s because we both push each other and we learn from each other. But I think it’s a great deal with our parents. Our parents have really helped us along the way. They’ve given us the best resources and the best stuff and so I think we owe it to them.

JG: You were childhood friends with Colin Wilson. When you guys are doing the goalie drills and Wilson’s right in front of the net, does he give you crap when you allow a soft goal? Is he in your face about it?
CP: Oh yeah. But it’s the same with me. I’m all over him when I stop him so it’s just a good friendly battle there. He’s a good player so, when I stop him, I’ve got to brag about it.

JG: Does that take some of the pressure off, having a guy who you’re that close to working with you?
CP: Yeah I think so. Obviously, Colin’s a pretty funny and he’s got a pretty good personality so it was great (last) year playing with him in Milwaukee. It was fun. We hadn’t played together on a team in a while so it was a lot of fun.

JG: Thank you.
CP: No problem.