With USA Hockey College Player of the Year and national champion Colin Wilson coming on board next year, the Nashville Predators are sure to have a star in the making join their roster. However, one star does not a champion make, as the Pittsburgh Penguins can attest.
The Predators have a bit of talent on the front end of their roster, but the majority of their talent comes from players over 30—many of whom may not last too long.
Captain Jason Arnott turns 35 at the beginning of the 2009-10 season, while J.P. Dumont recently turned 31. Radek Bonk and Steve Sullivan are 33 and 34, respectively, and both are unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.
On the back end, the Predators are not looking too bad. Superstar Shea Weber is just 23 years old, and the roster includes other such other young defensemen as Ville Koistinen, Dan Hamhuis, and Ryan Suter.
The Predators have a good, potential-laden top four on the blueline. Out of those four, only Koistinen is a free agent this summer, and he will most likely be re-signed.
Pekka Rinne is one of the best young goaltenders in the game. With Chet Pickard developing in the wings, the Predators most likely have a future franchise goalie in their system.
So, basically, the conclusion is this: The Preds need forwards!
The 2009 NHL Entry Draft is filled with a great deal of talent, especially in the top 10 or 15 spots. The Predators, picking 11th overall, will be in an almost perfect position to grab a piece of the pie that is the Class of 2009.
Top forwards John Tavares, Matt Duchene, and Evander Kane most likely will be taken in the top 10 or even the top five. Therefore, don’t be shocked to hear these words out of Predators GM David Poile’s mouth on draft day:
“With the 11th pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, the Nashville Predators select, from the London Knights of the OHL, center Nazem Kadri.”
Kadri is a talented player who put up 25 goals and 78 points in just 56 games this season with London. He also added 21 points in 14 playoff games.
He has great speed, which he is able to use almost perfectly in order to get in position for an open shot. His shot is also incredible, and he has seen more success ever since shooting the puck more in the 2008-09 season.
Kadri’s soft hands are most likely the best aspect of his game—they contribute to his great stick skills and deking ability. He has great hockey sense, which includes the ability to read the play around him and see what is happening before it happens.
In a year or two, Kadri will be a great complement to Colin Wilson on a top line in Nashville.
Alan Bass is a Senior Writer for Bleacher Report, the Community Leader for the NHL and Philadelphia Flyers’ section, and a writer for Prohockeynews.com, Insidehockey.com, and Hockey54.com. You can contact him at ALN424@aol.com.