Archive for June 24, 2012
PITTSBURGH, Pa. (June 23, 2012) – The Nashville Predators made nine selections on Day Two of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa., taking six forwards, two defensemen and a goaltender. Sweden, the United States a
nd Finland were once again on the Predators draft radar – the franchise has now selected at least one Swede in seven consecutive drafts, at least two U.S.-born players in each of the last seven drafts, and a Finn in nine of the last 10.
“We took a variety of different players and different styles from scorers, to power guys, to a guy we have talked about for three years, in addition to a couple big defensemen,” Predators Assistant General Manager Paul Fenton said. “We were trying to fill in the slots that we have more-or-less lost the last couple of years making trades with our draft picks. To be able to pick up nine players and fill the cupboard back up, we feel really good about things.”
The Predators used their first selection (37th overall) of Day Two to select, Pontus Aberg from Djurgarden of the Swedish Elite League (Elitserien). After being slowed by injuries in 2011-12, the Stockholm, Sweden native finished the season rated sixth among European skaters on Central Scouting’s final list. Aberg posted 15 points (8g-7a) in 47 games with Djurgarden this past season, earning an Elitserien Rookie of the Year Nomination. The 5-11, 189-pound forward also saw time with Djurgarden’s junior club in 2011-12, amassing six points (4g-2a) in six games. Aberg becomes the Pred in the system to hone his skills with Djurgarden – current Predator Patric Hornqvist and prospect Patrick Cehlin both played with the club.
“He plays a two-way game, but looking at him he is probably more offensive than anything,” Predators European Scout Lucas Bergman said of Aberg. “He has one-on-one ability, he can challenge the defense, he gets pucks off of his stick quick and all of those things are very attractive.”
The Predators stayed on the offensive side with their second pick (50th overall), selecting Colton Sissons of the Western Hockey League’s Kelowna Rockets, the same junior club that produced Predators Captain Shea Weber (selected 49th overall in the 2003 NHL Draft).
The Rockets captain and 14th-rated North American skater notched 41 points (26g-15a) for the second consecutive season in 2011-12. Sissons’ 26 goals – including a team-high 13 power-play tallies – ranked second on the team. The dynamic, hard-working forward – who models his game after current Predator Mike Fisher – posted two points (1g-1a) in four WHL playoff games after being injured during the 2012 CHL Top Prospects Game.
“Colton Sissons is a hard-playing forward, who played both center and winger with Kelowna,” Predators North American amateur scout Glen Sanders said. “He is a bit of a grinder, he can score goals and we liked the fact that he plays a lot like Mike Fisher. They made him the captain of the Kelowna Rockets at 17 years old; that was a big step and it shows the character that he plays with.”
Nashville selected U.S.-born Jimmy Vesey with its first pick of the third round (66th overall). The Reading, Mass., native played in his first season with South Shore of Eastern Junior Hockey League in 2011-12. He finished the season as the EJHL’s Most Valuable Player and earned Offensive Player of the Year honors after leading the League in points (91) and goals (48). The 6-1, 194-pound winger led his team to the EJHL’s semifinals, posting eight points (5g-3a) in six playoff games. Vesey’s performance late in the season saw him move from the 164th-rated player at the mid-term to the 77th ranked player on Central Scouting’s final rankings. He is expected to return to Boston to play for Harvard University in 2012-13. (more…)