With the 11th pick, the Nashville Predators select…

Predators PA announcer Paul McCann, HockeyBuzz.com blogger Brandon Felder and 100+ fans at the O’Charley’s in Franklin collectively held their breath as Assitant GM Paul Fenton stood at the podium.

A small chant of “Schroeder… Schroeder… Schroeder…” broke out in one corner of the bar. McCann had made it clear earlier in the night that he’d love to see Zack Kassian holding a Preds sweater on the stage.  Everyone in the house at least expected a scoring forward to be the pick as that’s the undisputed need right now.

On the stage we heard: “The Nashville Predators select, from the Memorial Cup Champion Windsor Spitfires, (defenseman) Ryan Ellis.”

At the draft partry we heard: “Oh no.”

Then we heard: “Oh my God!”

(We also heard some explitives but we won’t get into that.)

The Predators kept with their odd-numbered-year tradition of selecting a defenseman by picking Ryan Ellis. Dan Hamhuis in ’01, Ryan Suter in ’03, Ryan Parent in ’05, Jonathan Blum in ’07 and now Ellis in ’09.

Obviously not on purpose but pretty interesting, eh?

Whatever the reason for picking Ellis, and not Schreoder or Kassian, Predators fans will be happy to know that the scouting report on him is a puck-moving defenseman that, truth be told, the Preds don’t have right now. Plus, most scouts agree that Ellis has the hardest slapshot in this draft class so think of this power play scenario: Weber on one point, Ellis on the other.

Of course, Nashville has a hard enough time getting one of their guys to stand in front of the net so that wouldn’t help matters any. But that’s another discussion for another day.

Another noteable Preds draft pick was Edina High School right wing Zach Budish, a two-sport athlete that was forced to miss his entire senior season of hockey due to a torn ACL injury suffered during football season. A lot of scouts were still high on Budish coming into the draft; the Columbus Blue Jackets even having brought him in for an interview just a day before the draft to possibly take him with their 1st round pick. If Budish bounces back from the injury without a hitch, he very well could be the steal of the draft.

Ellis, Budish and the rest of the Predators draft picks will all get together July 6 at Centennial Sportsplex for rookie camp.

Other Nashville Predators selections (so far) are as follows:
#42 overall – Charles-Oliver Roussel, D, Shawinigan, QMJHL
#70 overall – Tyler Beck, LW, Guelph, OHL
#72 overall – Michael Latta, C, Guelph, OHL
#98 overall – Craig Smith, C, Waterloo, USHL
#102 overall – Mattias Ekholm, D, Mora, Swe Jr.
#110 overall – Nick Oliver, C, Roseau High, USHS
#132 overall – Gabriel Bourque, LW, Baie-Comeau, QMJHL
#148 overall – TRADED TO TAMPA
#192 overall – Cameron Reid, C, Westside, BCHL
#202 overall – TRADED TO ST. LOUIS