Monday, June 26, 2006

Predators draft a Geoffrion

This completely slipped off my radar on Saturday, but one significant pick that was made in the second round was by the Nashville Predators when they selected the grandson of Montreal Canadiens great Bernie 'Boom-Boom' Geoffrion.

The amazing thing is that Blake Geoffrion is actually a local kid, a product of the Nashville Youth Hockey League. Who knew Tennessee produced NHL-calibre prospects?
“We had been tracking Blake all year, and not just because he was from Nashville,” Fenton said. “We all knew it would be a great deal marketing-wise, but we watched his progress. He made great improvements. We liked the type of game he plays, his intensity and he had the intangibles that we look for in a Predators player. When we went to Europe in April and saw him play we were all sold on him.”
Geoffrion was the Predators first pick of the draft after they'd traded the club's first-overall pick for Brendan Witt at the trade deadline. He's also the first-ever prospect to come from the Nashville area.
Predators General Manager David Poile had said for weeks he'd be interested in picking Geoffrion, who was ranked the 33rd-best North American skater by NHL Central Scouting.

"When we first came to Nashville, we'd always hoped that the day would come that we would be drafting a player — and players — from Nashville," Poile said.

"We are very pleased and proud to select the first player from Nashville."
Is this the beginning of the sunbelt invasion? I know from watching the Western Hockey League closely that California is making strong inroads with prospects there, but I'm quite sure Geoffrion's the first prospect I can remember coming from far down in the American south.


At 6:45 p.m., June 26, 2006, Blogger Jes Gőlbez said...

Poor Dallas Eakins, you forgot all about the pride of Dade City, Florida!

At 7:51 p.m., June 26, 2006, Blogger The Acid Queen said...

You forgot Patrick O'Sullivan, who was born in Winston-Salem, NC.

If it wasn't for his psychotic father, the Hurricanes would have drafted the kid in the second round in 2003.

At 9:00 p.m., June 26, 2006, Blogger Stormbringer said...

Another one you forgot: Kai Kantola, a Raleigh homegrown hockey boy who was at the Draft this past Saturday. The Canes and nobody else drafted him, unfortunately. :( But, there *are* rumors floating around that the Canes may give him a looksie at either this upcoming season's training camp or next season's.

At 9:41 p.m., June 26, 2006, Anonymous Brad said...

Also, Robbie Earl of the U. of Wisconsin was recently signed by the Maple Leafs after this past season (his junior year), he's a Los Angeles native.

At 10:54 p.m., June 26, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Are any of these guys (minus Kantola) actually minor hockey products of these places? (And Robbie Earl doesn't count as there are quite a few prospects from California on their way up — Ray Macias, etc.)

When did Eakins and O'Sullivan, for instance, make the move up north to play in the OHL?

At 11:38 p.m., June 26, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I don't know of any players by name I do know that youth hockey took off when the Hurricanes came to NC. I also understand that the Jr Hurricanes have done reasonably well in the International Pee Wee Hockey Tournament in Quebec the last two years or so. They play in Class B. Who knows, some writer might work on an article detailing the rise of youth hockey in the sunbelt due to the arrival of NHL clubs in those markets.;) I also understand that at least one former NHLer (Ron Francis) has taken a hand at coaching youth hockey in Raleigh this past year.


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