Predators draft 2018 – Round 2
The second part of this series will look at the six 2nd round picks made by Nashville. Overall, the 2nd round was a let-down for the Predators since most prime targets were gone.
Pick #33 – Jesse Ylonen
Consensus ranking: 40
Predators ranking: 23
NHL Selection: 35
While the #33 selection was just 8 ranks after the previous selection at #25, there was a bigger gap in the rankings with Ylonen being 23rd, a good 14 ranks behind Dellandrea. Despite being a tier down in terms of upside, Ylonen still showed some good offensive abilities at playing in the 2nd hardest men’s league in Finland:
Plays at a high pace, skates well with the puck and is elusive in the offensive zone.
Doesn’t always take the best decisions with the puck. Needs to bulk up.
“Ylonen is player that you like to watch. Excellent mobility with the puck. Unpredictable moves. Very patient player, especially on the PP. Explosive first three steps. Claude Giroux type of player. Excellent small space movement. Not scared to drive the net hard. Shot is very accurate.”
“With his combination of speed and puck skills, he’s really tough to defend against for opposing defensemen.”
“Finesse player with soft hands and good vision, displays creativity and is a very good passer”
Potential – High: 2nd line offensive contributor
Potential – Low: 4th line energy player that can occasionally fill in higher lines
Pick #38 – Bulat Shafigullin
Consensus ranking: 93
Predators ranking: 19
NHL Selection: 82
Admittedly a reach at 38, Shafigullin was the only player remaining from my top 20 at that point. I would have kicked myself if I had waited and another GM would have picked him up. With 20 goals in 22 games in the MHL, he has shown a goal scorers’ touch:
Shafigullin has great offensive tools: speed, vision and shot. He goes to the dirty areas and uses his frame to protect the puck.
Sometimes he makes dubious decisions with the puck. He also needs to increase his strength.
“The main factor behind his numbers is his terrific offensive awareness, inside the offensive zone he’s able to figure out his options quickly and he understands how to make himself available without the puck, consistently working his way into dangerous areas.”
“In limited viewing we’ve loved his soft hands and deadly shot with laser accuracy.”
“He’s a possession player who likes to drive play with the puck on his stick and instinctively cuts to the net regardless of the traffic in-front of him.”
Potential – High: 1st line scoring forward
Potential – Low: Offensive player… in the KHL.
Pick #45 –Jan Jenik
Consensus ranking: 56
Predators ranking: 31
NHL Selection: 65
The first of many Czech players drafted by Nashville in 2018, Jenik is one of the youngest player in the draft, being born the last day of eligibility. He was good in international play (both Ivan Hlinka and U20) and played in a men’s league despite his young age:
High compete that has shown good hands and high hockey IQ.
Leg strength needs to improve as skating is average at best. Needs to bulk up to sustain his physical style of play.
“He’s a multi-faceted forward who likes to drive possession and he accomplishes this by using his excellent puck-protection skills, poise, and offensive awareness.”
“Very quick, soft hands and makes slick moves to set up chances; is especially dangerous coming out from behind net.”
“The Czech center brings a rare blend of fire and hockey IQ, with enough skills to potentially make the most out of those traits down the road.”
Potential – High: 2nd line two-way center that plays a complete game (offensive, defensive, physical)
Potential – Low: 4th line high energy and physical center.
Pick #50 – Jakub Lauko
Consensus ranking: 45
Predators ranking: 23
NHL Selection: 77
Lauko played in the top Czech league where he had a depth role. Still, he was able to showcase his speed and skill with the puck on occasion:
World class speed, great hands plus a high compete level.
Needs to use teammates more in the offensive zone, to make better reads in the offensive zone.
“It would be fair to say that in a straight line Lauko is already a better skater than most professional players.”
“He’s a threat to score every shift and likes to shoot the puck from all angles.”
“There’s few players who can make highlight reel level plays like he can.”
Potential – High: Blazing fast 2nd line scoring winger
Potential – Low: Blazing fast 4th line energy player.
Pick #56 – Philipp Kurashev
Consensus ranking: 73
Predators ranking: 41
NHL Selection: 120
Playing for a second year in the QMJHL, Kurashev didn’t improve his output but still showcased his high skill level :
Excellent combination of vision, poise with the puck, IQ on the ice and positioning to generate offensive opportunities.
Tends to play on the perimeter. Compete level can waver from game to game.
“Able to hold onto puck that extra split second to give linemates time to break for open ice, then is able to place delicate saucers through traffic.”
“Good performance this year; always around the puck and creating scoring opportunities. Skating looks quicker and stronger, shows good edge use and speed through the middle of the ice. Shifty with the puck, has quick hands, good vision and passing.”
“On the rush Kurashev has pretty good speed and is able to make full length carries, but can also move laterally in the neutral zone if the path ahead is mucked up”
Potential – High: 2nd line center that can feed offensive wingers
Potential – Low: Offensive player in the NLA (Swiss League)
Pick #62 – Matej Pekar
Consensus ranking: 80
Predators ranking: 47
NHL Selection: 94
Pekar was already the third Czech selected by Nashville. After playing lower level hockey, Pekar made the transition to the USHL seamlessly, earning the USHL rookie of the year title with 54 points in 56 games. His good hand-eye coordination is displayed on the second goal of this game with Muskegon:
High motor, plays with an edge. Complete game but can distribute the puck.
Looks too much to pass the puck, generates decent speed but ugly skating stride.
“Love his combination of skill and competitiveness.”
“Really versatile, deceptively skilled, and he plays with grit. Never gives up regardless of the score. Teammates love him. Willing to go through the wall. Better than people think.”
“A good passer/playmaker who makes linemates better with his vision and creativity”
Potential – High: Gritty 2nd line playmaking center
Potential – Low: Gritty 4th line energy center