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It’s always difficult to predict who a team will draft once you get past the top 5 in the first round. Just look at 2013 where the Predators took Seth Jones at fourth overall. Many had Barkov coming to Nashville, but Colorado drafting MacKinnon threw a few things off, and the Predators selected the best player available to them in Seth Jones. That obviously turned into a big change in the organization when they traded him for Ryan Johansen, and here we are today.

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Anyway, the reason for that long preface is that when the draft goes on, it’s more and more difficult to predict which player is going to a team. As we’ve seen time and time again, the Predators draft board doesn’t necessarily match up with what most experts say. What we’re usually told is that they go for the best player available at the time of the pick.

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This draft, with Nashville having seven total picks, is extremely important in regards to restocking the prospect pool as so many picks and prospects have been traded away with the Predators being “all-in” in the past few years. As we stated in the draft preview edition of The Road to Nashville, it’s important for the organization to add bodies to the system. They can use help in every position. Scoring help down the pipeline is certainly a priority, but they can add depth to every position as it will once again give them power to make moves in the future.

That being said, here are a few names and reports on players that may just end up in Nashville. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Robert Mastrosimone

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Position: C/LW
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 170lbs
Shoots: Left
Country: USA

Composite Rankings via EliteProspects:

Ranked #26 by THE ATHLETIC
Ranked #27 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #53 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)
Ranked #51 by TSN/McKenzie

Previous season stats:
2017-18 – Chicago Steel – USHL
60 games – 16 G – 29 A – 45 PTS – 44 PIM

2018-19 – Chicago Steel – USHL
54 games – 31 G – 29 A – 60 PTS – 28 PIM

Plans for 2019-20: Boston University

What the scouts are saying

McKeen’s Hockey
Mastrosimone could be a more explosive skater, but he has enough to get some separation at times and a decent top speed. His skating plays up a bit as he never stops moving his feet. He benefited greatly from the Steel’s association, with skills coach Darry Belfry, as his skill set works together as a whole to allow him to make plays in a way that many other top prospects cannot. He processes the game incredibly rapidly and imposes himself on the game in all situations.

In an offensive situation he is just as likely to look pass as he is to shoot, which may be an extension of Belfry’s teachings, looking for the best play instead of looking for a specific play. He has great vision and can execute very tricky passes, although he can occasionally telegraph them. His shot is his biggest weapon, especially since tightening it up in terms of accuracy over the course of the season. He is a volume shooter, but generally takes his shots from the top of circles on down. He has a quick release and has been known to let one rip right out of the scrum, looking to test the netminder’s readiness.

Hockey Prospect
He has a quick release and can whiz one by a goalie’s ear without a lot of wind-up. His north-south game is when he’s at his most effective. While he does flash some moves from time to time, he’s just as likely to have a puck roll off of his stick as he is to finish the move successfully. He is prone to turnovers from trying to do a little too much sometimes, particularly when circling the attack zone with the puck. To make matters worse, there’s some tunnel vision from him when he’s on one of these east-west missions and he seldom ever calls on support – he wants to get into an area and shoot, even if he’s lost ground from his starting point. He can, however, skate himself out of some trouble. His straight-line skating offers a lot of pluses and he darts around the ice quickly. Where he lacks a little bit is the small-area footwork and using his feet to properly position himself for a puck battle or for good body positioning.

Ryan Suzuki

Position: C
Height: 6’00”
Weight: 181lbs
Shoots: Left
Country: Canada

Composite Rankings via EliteProspects:

Ranked #15 by THE ATHLETIC
Ranked #21 by ISS HOCKEY
Ranked #22 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #18 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)
Ranked #20 by TSN/McKenzie

Previous season stats:
2017-18 – Barrie Colts – OHL
64 games – 14 G – 30 A – 44 PTS – 10 PIM

2018-19 – Barrie Colts – OHL
65 games – 25 G – 50 A – 75 PTS – 14 PIM

What the scouts are saying

Future Considerations
A cerebral player, Suzuki always seems to show patience and the uncanny ability to make the right play. He is a smooth skater, with good balance on his edges and good foot speed to accelerate quickly in tight spaces. He has very good offensive awareness, both in terms of moving his feet to open up passing lanes to teammates and at finding soft areas where he has time to accept a pass or to get a shot on net. Despite not possessing the biggest frame in the draft class, he shows elite puck handling abilities.

His smart positioning and active feet extend to the defensive zone where he supports the puck well to help out his blueliners. Looks like he could be an elite playmaker at the next level and an underrated goal scorer.

Hockey Prospect
Suzuki is one of the most talented yet polarizing players in this year’s draft. There’s less than a handful of players who possess the dynamic offensive-skill set that he is capable of showing on any given night. The most impressive offensive attribute he has is his playmaking ability. With the exception of Hughes and possibly the USNTDP’s Trevor Zegras, there might not be a better passer in this year’s class. When you blend his vision, accuracy, and touch with the puck, it allows him to make dynamic passes while going at top-speed. We’ve seen him carve through multiple players, while faking a shot before threading no-look passes that land directly on the tape, leaving the opposing defenses helpless. Furthermore, he’s capable of saucer-passes, sharp stretch passes, no-look drop-passes, and fast one-touch passes which allowed him to dictate Barrie’s powerplay, where he was comfortable both at the half-wall and along the point at times.

Suzuki has the potential to become a top-6 center who can run a powerplay. However, our ranking of him, reflects how many hurdles he’s going to have to overcome. He’s going to need to greatly improve his effort-level in order to fulfill his offensive-potential, and learn how to be more selfish when the play calls for it. Lastly, Ryan isn’t a player who you can put into a forechecking role, so if he doesn’t develop properly, he’s most likely going to bust, which makes him one of the riskier picks out of the top-end talents. There’s a ton of potential but it comes with a lot of development needed in order to fulfill it.

McKeen’s Hockey
A playmaker first and foremost, he sees the ice at a very advanced level and can execute any number of tricky passes against the grain, creating high danger scoring chances for his team. He is very patient with the puck and takes his time before making the pass. He is a strong skater, although like his brother, he is not a flashy one. With his sense for positioning and anticipation, he can conserve energy which allows him to still dig hard at the end of a long shift.

In situations where he has time and space, he is a gifted passer, liable to pull off a creative outlet at any moment. He can jump start the attack with a quick give and go pass or he can stretch out the defense with a long bomb. Like his older brother Ryan is a special team’s demon. His talent for the power play should be obvious as like any front-line center, he can control the flow from the half wall and funnel pucks accurately into dangerous spots around the net. He is also an ace penalty killer, pressuring the point man with collapsing gaps and an active stick, and forcing turnovers from which he is able to start an odd man rush going the other way.

Although first and foremost a passer, Suzuki is not without ability to put the puck in the net himself. He has a quick release on both a snapshot and a wrist shot and is able to get the puck off quickly from in tight as well, making him a dangerous finisher on breakaways.

John Beecher

Position: C
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 209lbs
Shoots: Left
Country: USA

Composite Rankings via EliteProspects:

Ranked #32 by THE ATHLETIC
Ranked #52 by ISS HOCKEY
Ranked #30 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #49 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)
Ranked #41 by TSN/McKenzie

Previous season stats:
2017-18 – USNTDP Juniors – USHL
34 games – 9 G – 16 A – 25 PTS – 18 PIM
2017-18 – U.S. National U17 Team
60 games – 17 G – 24 A – 41 PTS – 44 PIM

2018-19 – USNTDP Juniors – USHL
27 games – 6 G – 14 A – 20 PTS – 64 PIM
2018-19 – U.S. National U17 Team
63 games – 15 G – 28 A – 43 PTS – 88 PIM

2019-20 plans: University of Michigan

What the scouts are saying

McKeen’s Hockey
While there are some players of Beecher’s general size who are plus skaters, many are limited to straight lines. In Beecher’s case, he can play with some shake and bake as well. He has incredible puck protection abilities as well, making it exceptionally difficult for opposing defenders to force turnovers from him.

Like many of his teammates on the program, Beecher is a high IQ player. He is advanced at reading the play and handles situations appropriately. He sells out his body on defense to shut down a play or block a shot.

Offensively, the game reading ability leads to him recognizing when space opens up underneath the defense and being able to attack that space, increasing the potency of a scoring threat. Between his size and his balance, he likes to play in front of the opposing goaltender, where he can be near impossible to dislodge.

As much as his skill game has come on in the last few months, Beecher first came to scouting prominence as a physical threat. He knows that his biggest advantage over opponents has always been his physicality and he plays with that always in the forefront of his mind. He is a bear against the boards, and those who have tried to play heavy with him have quickly felt his wrath.

Hockey Prospect
The skill level is about average for the big man. His passing game doesn’t move the needle and his ability to accept passes is on the poorer side of average certainly. The latter will really need a lot of improvement if he wants to end up in the NHL. There are times when he looks really strong defensively and some games where he looks late to react to the play. As the year went on, he seemed to be less and less aware of his surroundings. This was really put on full display at the U18 World Junior Championships, where he had a disappointing outing in terms of his play away from the puck.

Future Considerations
Dynamic center who can skate, shoot and pass, he is good at reading the ice and recognizing where his teammates are in all three zones. He creates space for them by using his size and puck protection and then often sets them up with a nice passes. He utilizes an uptempo, speed-blazing, northsouth skating style. Fast while playing to his size, he uses his speed to beat opponents to the puck. When he has the puck, he protects it well. Shows the ability to handle the puck at high speed with absolute comfort and likes to set up shop in front of the opposing goalie as a net-front presence and put rebounds into the back of the cage. Strong on the puck and attacks the dirty areas as a puck carrier.

Philip Tomasino

Position: C
Height: 6’00”
Weight: 181lbs
Shoots: Right
Country: Canada

Composite Rankings via EliteProspects:

Ranked #17 by THE ATHLETIC
Ranked #18 by ISS HOCKEY
Ranked #20 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #14 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)
Ranked #22 by TSN/McKenzie

Previous season stats:
2017-18 – Niagara IceDogs – OHL
61 games – 5 G – 19 A – 24 PTS – 18 PIM

2018-19 – Niagara IceDogs – OHL
67 games – 34 G – 38 A – 72 PTS – 32 PIM

What the scouts are saying

McKeen’s Hockey
He is a highly athletic center who is a plus skater, with good vision and a strong wrist shot. He is an explosive skater with a separation gear and a ton of power in his first few strides. He is also able to use his edges as another form of separator. Those feet, in conjunction with his hands, serve to make him one of the more dynamic forwards coming out of the CHL this year. He is a very creative, skillful stickhandler and is not limited to playing in straight lines.

He can create chances just as easily for himself as he can for his teammates. When it comes to scoring, many of Tomasino’s goals come within a few feet of the crease. Sometimes he is finishing off a rush with a deke down low, other times he is barging in to knock in a rebound. He lacks the power in his shot to score regularly from distance, but he has the quick release needed to catch netminders off guard.

He has the overall package to be a top six regular, whether at center or at the wing, and to his credit, he plays with enough energy that he could force himself into the lineup as a bottom six developmental role before he has reached his projected level.

Hockey Prospect
Tomasino is a swiss-army knife forward whose versatility made him effective. He’s a unique-player in the sense that he’s more than the sum of his parts in areas on the ice, that in theory he should struggle in. Specifically, with how dangerous he can be around the net-area and on the forecheck, despite his average-height and thin-build. The main attributes that allow him to counteract his physical limitations are his fearlessness, his agility, and his creativity that’s produced through an impressive level of hockey-sense and puck-skills.

Arguably the most improved area of Tomasino’s game that made us more comfortable with his skill-set was his execution rate when driving down a lane during rush-sequences. In some viewings, he was effective primarily around the goal-line, or during the powerplay where he was effective both in the slot area and around the net. However, as the season progressed, Philip showed the ability to beat defenders using his agility and hands, as well as score a bit more frequently from the hashmark area. Although his release is good, he doesn’t generate a lot of power on most of his shot attempts. So, he’s still less effective while shooting in-motion when coming down the wing than when he’s in-tight to the net. Areas of improvement include his consistency on a game-to-game basis and filling out his frame so that his style of play can further translate at the NHL-level.

Arthur Kaliyev

Position: LW
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 190lbs
Shoots: Left
Country: USA

Composite Rankings via EliteProspects:

Ranked #13 by THE ATHLETIC
Ranked #23 by ISS HOCKEY
Ranked #21 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #7 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)
Ranked #21 by TSN/McKenzie

Previous season stats:
2017-18 – Hamilton Bulldogs – OHL
68 games – 31 G – 17 A – 48 PTS – 20 PIM

2018-19 – Hamilton Bulldogs – OHL
67 games – 51 G – 51 A – 102 PTS – 22 PIM

What the scouts are saying

McKeen’s Hockey
Born in Uzbekistan, but raised in New York City, he can be infuriating to watch, but he does one thing really, really well and that one thing is a thing that every team needs to win, He scores goals. Tons and tons of goals.

He has been a power play triggerman from the day he pulled a Bulldogs sweater over his head. He has a heavy slap shot, a wicked one timer, and rounds off the arsenal with above average snap shots and wrist shots. He is skilled at getting open in the offensive zone to allow his gifts to be utilized.

For as powerful and prolific as his shot is, Kaliyev is also a skilled passer, something that has improved from last season to this one. As his reputation precedes him, defenders flock to him and sensing the walls closing in, he can squeeze the puck through a small seam to a teammate on the far side, forcing the defense and the netminder into a disadvantage as they have to change direction and are susceptible to a quick release.

Further in the plus column for Kaliyev is his large, heavy frame, which gives him an advantage in puck battles along the boards, and by the opposing crease. Then again, that large, heavy frame is also one of his drawbacks as a prospect. He can present himself as a sluggish skater. He lacks much explosiveness in his legs and his top speed is so-so on a good day, although he can play with decent agility. But this limitation, which may be physical, is not why he is a frustrating prospect.

Some teams may see a poor man’s Ovechkin and rank Kaliyev as a top 10-12 pick. Others will mark him as a “non-draft” and focus elsewhere.

Hockey Prospect
Kaliyev has arguably the best shot in this draft class. He uses a longer-stick which allows him to gain additional torque on his release point, he’s also highly coordinated and fluid when rotating his hips; this allows him to take poor passes in tight to his skates, yet still find the angle necessary to bury the puck in one-motion. This ability made him dangerous on the powerplay, where he was capable of shooting the puck off passes that were difficult to handle. When he’s shooting the puck after settling it on his blade, he has impressive-hands that allow him to suddenly shift the angle and allows him to extend his toe-drags into his shot. Furthermore, Arthur isn’t a finesse shooter, it’s primarily the amount of velocity he generates with his whip-like release, combined with his hockey-sense as a shooter that has led to his prolific scoring pace.

Kaliyev is a great offensive-talent, capable of scoring highlight-reel goals, whose ceiling is a first-line forward who can slotin on a top powerplay. However, due to his compete-level and skating ability, we see Arthur as a player who’s going to have to be given favourable match-ups and sheltered minutes. It’s unlikely he will be able to drive a line and will need to be paired with the right teammates who can take advantage of his shot. He’s going to have to reinvent himself away from the play in order to come close to maximizing his offensive potential.

Most likely, the Predators won’t draft anyone we’ve mentioned in any of our articles, because that’s just the way it goes. Either way, we hope you learned something about these future NHL players. Let us know your thoughts below!