At 6’5″ and 223lbs, Jonathan-Ismael Diaby is easy to find on the ice at Nashville Predators development camp. Diaby is only 19 years old, but his size alone sets him apart from other prospects on the ice. The 3rd Round pick (64th overall) in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft is participating in his first development for the Predators as he was hindered by injury last year.
Diaby spent the last four seasons with the Victoriaville Tigres of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) where, in his last two seasons, he’s racked up 54 points (13G-41A) and 197 penalty minutes. Needless to say, he’s ready to make an impact at his first full camp.
“I’m happy to be here and trying to leave a good impression,” said Diaby. “I’ve met a couple good guys here and I finished the year in Milwaukee which helped me a lot. With some new faces, it’s good to meet and work with everyone.”
As Diaby mentioned, he finished last season playing four games for the Milwaukee Admirals, registering an assist in those four games. Overall, the one word that has been used to describe the defenseman is “huge.” He’s a presence is a given, but after watching him at development camp, he’s a smooth skater. Development camp does it’s best to test the abilities of players in the system and it’s the ice tests that really work player skills the most.
“The ice test was pretty hard,” said Diaby. “Today’s practice was not easy, but we get better each day on the ice and that’s what you want to do.”
With his size and skating ability, the full transition from junior to pro shouldn’t be too difficult for Diaby. His height and reach will prove helpful in the defensive zone. He’s ready to take the next step in his career.
“I went there [to Milwaukee] with no real big expectation,” said Diaby. “I just went there and worked hard. I played four games and think I did well, so I was pretty happy about my trip there.”
Part of that transition is getting evaluated by the coaching staff. While not being evaluated, he’s been able to do some exploring during his second trip to Nashville.
“I was here for four days last year, but it was only to see doctors because of my shoulder,” said Diaby. “I enjoy it here, it’s a real nice place. Broadway is fun. We had a scavenger hunt the other day and got to see a lot of the city.”
Depending on how next season progresses and how well he performs, it’s not out of the question that Diaby could see some time in Nashville. Having a tremendous presence like his in the system is something that fans should look forward to. After witnessing him at camp on Wednesday, Diaby has a powerful shot, something that Nashville fans are used to seeing. Not only does he have a laser shot, he’s also known for laying down some justice as seen below.