The Nashville Predators have a strong belief that character counts.
Kyle Beach, a 6-foot-3, 202-pound forward, could still be on the board at the No. 9 spot June 20 at the NHL Entry Draft in Ottawa when the Predators make their first selection. Will they pick talent over any concerns about character?
Beach states that “there is a lot of stuff out there about me that has been blown out of proportion.”
Playing for the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League, Beach scored 27 goals and added 33 assists for 60 points in 60 games. He also earned 222 penalty minutes, an average of 3.7 per game.
Beach is known for his extreme physical play and has been described as undisciplined. He is also an agitator both for his physical and verbal assaults against opponents. At least one mock draft has Beach being selected by the Predators.
“Character is always important,” said David Poile, President of Hockey Operations/General Manager, for the Predators. “We’re dealing with young people who are growing up and have not matured physically or mentally. You have to evaluate how they are going to fit into your program.
“We don’t want to have all clones here. We want to have some personality along with character.”
Hockey is a physically and mentally demanding sport that requires a player possess a number of traits to be successful.
“Competing to win takes character, determination, perseverance and will,” Poile said. “We are looking for the winners. We are looking for the players that will go the extra mile.”
Poile admits the Predators would give Beach strong consideration.
“You have to filter through these situations whether it is a personal interview with the player, his coach, his teammates, … and his parents,” Poile said. “You have to dig a little bit deeper and then draw your own conclusion.
“Do you think it is maturity? Is he someone we want in the organization? It is not a perfect situation. Hockey is a tough, competitive game. People make mistakes.”
The Predators also get a 15th round pick in the first round. Some names that might be there at that time is center Joshua Bailey from Windsor, a 6-0, 188-pounder, who played in the Ontario Hockey League.
“He is a good play-making center man with the ability to feed his linemates when he needs to and shoot the puck when the play requires that,” said E.J. McGuire, NHL Director of Central Scouting.
But 6-7, 210-pound defenseman Tyler Myers from Kelowna of the Western Hockey League could also be available at the No. 9 position. Myers is ranked fourth among North American skaters by the NHL Scouring Bureau.
“He’s very big, and for a guy his size he skates very well,” said Ryan Huska, the head coach of Kelowna in an NHL Central Scouting report. “He is very fluid on the ice.”
At least one mock draft projects that the Predators will pick Myers at No.9 and then add defenseman Colten Teubert, 6-4, 188, from Regina of the Western Hockey League with the No. 15 pick. Central Scouting ranks Teubert 18th among North American skaters. He is considered to be a good skater with a mean streak to go with his size.
“We have two picks in the first round and all of these names are in our area of possibilities,” Poile said. “We see all of these players falling into our area of the draft.
“If everything was equal we would probably like to take a forward. But if there is a 6-7 defenseman still there, it would be hard to look past a player like that.”