For the second straight year, the Kraken will get another shot at a top-5 pick in the NHL Entry Draft. This time, it seems inevitable that Ron Francis will have his pick of any of the top defenders, especially if the draft falls in the same way our SB Nation mock has gone thus far. To recap, here’s how the top three picks went down with our fellow blogs:
- Shane Wright (F) - MTL
- Logan Cooley (F) - NJD
- Juraj Slafkovský (F) - ARI
With literally every defender still on the board at No. 4, we here in the Davy Jones War Room decided the Kraken simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to select the dynamic Simon Nemec.
The common refrain around Nemec is that he is good at just about everything he does. More importantly, he has looked like a great all-around defender at every level to this point in his career, which includes over two seasons in the top Slovakian men’s league, two IIHF World Championship appearances, and an Olympic bronze medal, all before he’s turned 19 years old. It’s safe to say that his game will translate well to the NHL.
Nemec’s offense is perhaps a bit underrated, as he only notched one goal in 39 games with HK Nitra of the Slovakian Tipos Extraliga. But he excels at getting the puck to his teammates, and as such finished tied for fourth among defenders in the entire league with 25 assists. Our very own Sky summed it up best in this full profile from last week:
Nemec won’t wait for the offense to try and start before him, because often times he can just start it himself and drag the puck up ice. Given that he’s a defenseman, his goal totals aren’t going to wow anybody (yet), but where his true value comes is as a setup man; Nemec is obnoxious up at the offensive zone point, where he can read the incoming backcheck like a book, and find just the right seam in the defense to get another skater a shooting lane.
Nemec also brings another right-handed shot to Seattle’s heavily left-handed shot blue line corps. Adam Larsson was the only regular player on the back end shooting right-handed last season, with Will Borgen getting some looks later in the year as well. It’s debatable exactly how important this is, but it’s definitely a bonus going in Nemec’s favor.
The big debate we had going into this pick was whether to go with Nemec or the big-bodied David Jiříček from Czechia. At the end of the day, we went with Nemec, who was already considered the better skater before Jiříček had knee surgery.
What do you think of our pick? Would you have gone with Jiříček, or taken the fourth forward off the board?
Who do you think the Kraken should take 4th overall?
This poll is closed
Simon Nemec sounds good to me!
Should’ve gone with David Jiříček
Why aren’t we talking about Matthew Savoie??