The 2011 National Hockey League draft is three weeks away, but Thursday the Nashville Predators beefed up their efforts — slightly — for two years down the road.
Nashville traded unsigned prospect Taylor Stefishen to the Washington Capitals for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2013.
Stefishen, a 6-foot, 185-pound left wing, had 67 points (24 goals, 43 assists) in 68 games last season for Prince George of the Western Hockey League. He played the previous two seasons at Ohio State University and had just 21 points in 42 games.
He was Nashville’s fourth choice (fifth round, 136th overall) in the 2008 draft, which already produced two NHL players (forward Colin Wilson and goalie Anders Lindback) as well as two top prospects, goalie Chet Pickard and defenseman Roman Josi.
Nashville has no first-round choice but eight overall selections in this year’s draft, which will take place June 24-25 in St. Paul, Minn. In addition to its regular selections, it has a second-round choice from New Jersey and a fourth-round selection from Florida in trades.
The first-round choice belongs to Ottawa as a result of the trade that brought Mike Fisher to the Predators in February.
• Hamhuis hurting: The status of former Nashville defenseman Dan Hamhuis for the remainder of the Stanley Cup finals is uncertain after he was injured in the Vancouver Canucks’ 1-0 victory Wednesday.
Hamhuis played just 8:09 before he was knocked from the contest.
“Day to day,” Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said Thursday when asked about Hamhuis’ status. “That's as specific as we get.”
The 28-year-old was the only player to appear in every Nashville playoff game prior to this season and has been in the lineup for all of the Canucks’ 19 postseason games thus far this year.
“We’ve used, I think, it's 13 or 14 [defensemen] this year,” Vigneault said. “Obviously you prefer not to have injuries, but we've had them during the regular season. We've just dealt with them. We've done the same thing in the playoffs.”