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Predators draft: NCAA

The Predators have been drafting heavily in the past years into the NCAA circuit through selections from eligible leagues (USHL, BCHL, USHS, NAHL, etc). This year Nashville still picked a good number of players that should go through the NCAA but in a lower proportion to previous years with 5 selections (5/18 = 28%). They mostly used later picks in 2015 to make their selections from the NCAA.

The first NCAA bound player to be selected was Brent Gates Jr in the 4th round. An injury cut his USHL season short which hurt his stock for draft day. At 6'1", he plays a robust style of game. He likes to camp the crease where he can use his skills on rebounds and deflections. He is also defensively responsible, disrupting passing lanes. Every team needs power forwards in his style to succeed.

Near the end of the 4th round, the Predators also selected Troy Terry from the USNTDP program. Only one day from being a 2016 draft eligible prospect, Terry's game may not be as evolved as some other prospects. Yet, he plays a versatile game, contributing both on offense or defense as required by the team. He has good offensive instincts, does the little things with or without the puck and can really press the defense on the forecheck.

With the last pick of the 4th round, Nashville selected a defenseman in Will Borgen from Moorhead HS. A tall defender with even more room to grow, Borgen shines with good hockey sense and poise with the puck. Rock solid on defense, he plays the kind of game that suits today's NHL by being in the right spot at the right time, physical when needed and making great outlet passes to the forwards.

In the sixth, the Predators selected their second goaltender of the draft in Ryan Bednard from the NAHL. At 6'4" and 179 pounds, he is tall and lanky. A very athletic goaltender, he worked hard last year to improve his technique. He has the tools to improve his game and become a wall between the posts but will need time.

The last selection heading to NCAA was Will Reilly in the seventh round. Playing in the OJHL, he suffered both from a lack of exposure and weaker competition. He has the frame to contain forwards at 6'2" combined with excellent speed and swift feet. He sees the ice well and can jump into the play to support the offense.