Wednesday, August 1, 2018

31 Teams in 31 Days - Nashville Predators

Even though they have only drafted one OHL player in the last seven years, Nashville does have a few prospects to talk about.

1. Jacob Paquette - Kingston Frontenacs
While his offensive game certainly didn't really progress much, Paquette did rediscover his defensive abilities this past season as part of a top notch defensive unit in Kingston. As a draft eligible player, Paquette seemed to lose his way and had a bit of an identity crisis. This year, he established himself as one of the better stay at home defenders in the OHL. He can match up against the OHL's best and use his size and mobility to shut them down. At 6'3, 200lbs, Paquette has the size that you look for in a shutdown defender at the NHL level and he's really learned to use his size to help him be a bit more menacing. While he's certainly not a brute, he does use his size effectively in the corners and in front of the net to tie up forwards. He's a hard guy to get loose from. Next year, hopefully we see him continue to explore his physicality and become an even better defensive player. And hopefully, with his roots grounded defensively, he can take a few more chances offensively and look to improve his ability to start the breakout and play with the puck. Kingston may be looking at a rebuild next year and if he continues to play well, Paquette would be one of the more coveted defenders at the deadline, heading into the playoffs. To earn a contract from the Predators, he'll probably need to double his offensive production in the 25-30 point range, while maintaining his defensive dominance.

2. Zach Magwood - Barrie Colts
Was great to see Magwood earn an NHL contract from Nashville after an excellent development camp performance. This kid is one of the more underrated players in the OHL. As part of a Barrie team that got some great unheralded performances, Magwood improved drastically as a player this past season. Transformed himself from being a high energy, penalty killer to a top 6 forward who could be relied upon offensively. Magwood plays without fear on the ice and a lot bigger than his 5'10 frame. He does the majority of his work within a few feet of the crease, attacking the net and displaying good hands in tight to finish off second chances/tip pucks/wreck havoc. Magwood likely profiles as a solid 3rd/4th liner at the NHL level who can use his speed and excel without the puck. Obviously with a contract now and as a 20 year old, the Predators can have Magwood play in the AHL. But I'd actually like to see Magwood return to the OHL as an overager to gain even more confidence in his game offensively. I feel like he's capable of even more and he'd get a ton of ice time in Barrie in all situations. If he's in the OHL, I think he could be a 35/35 guy. But if he's in the AHL, he probably gets 4th line duty and gets eased into the lineup.

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