The Preds did it! They drafted an OHL player this year (their first in five years).
1. Jacob Paquette - Kingston Frontenacs
Coming into the season, I thought Paquette had a chance to be an NHL first rounder after an excellent rookie year (in 2015/16) with the Fronts. But the year started on a sour note when Paquette had to miss the Hlinka with an injury and it continued on that note through to the end of the 16/17 season. Paquette's offensive game failed to show any progression from his rookie year, opting for safe chip outs, rarely taking any chances by carrying the puck or pushing the pace with a quality stretch pass. His confidence in the area really seems to have suffered. The problem is, I feel like his defensive game also took a step back too. Kingston was a solid defensive team, one of the best in the OHL this year, but Paquette struggled at times within the defensive structure of the team. Again, looked like a bit of a confidence issue for me. Uncertainty at whether to play the man, or the body and as such, had some difficulty defending the rush despite excellent mobility. Coverage errors and inconsistency in his physical game also were causes for concern. That said, I think he can right the ship and I think the Predators made a great draft pick getting him as late as they did. With great size at 6'3, 200lbs and good mobility, Paquette has the potential to develop into a very good shut down defender for the next level. Really hoping he regains his confidence next year, where he'll remain a top 4 defender for a strong team in Kingston. I think a 25 point season, paired with the rediscovery of his defensive game would get him back on track and is a realistic expectation. I still have high hopes for this player.