Of the 26 players picked Friday by the expansion Nashville Predators, goaltender Mike Dunham figures to be a keeper. The same can't be said of some of the others.
"This is just a starting point," general manager David Poile said after introducing his selections of five goaltenders, eight defensemen and 13 forwards. "I anticipate there will be several changes."The Predators already have started to showcase Dunham, introducing him at Friday's news conference at the Marine Midland Arena wearing a black-and-gold Predators' jersey.
"We're incredibly excited to have Mike Dunham, who is someone that we looked at from the beginning," Predators owner Craig Leipold said. "We're very happy to have him."
So was Dunham.
"I'm excited to get this opportunity," said Dunham, a highly-regarded backup to New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur. "I'm looking forward to training camp. I'm looking forward to going there and earning everything I can.
"I've just been waiting for my opportunity. I look at this as another step."
It was a significant step as well for Bob Boughner, a physical defenseman with the Buffalo Sabres who also figures to be kept by the Predators.
"I'm very good about this whole thing," Boughner said. "I'm disappointed about leaving Buffalo, but I'm excited to be going to an expansion team. They went out on a limb to start a franchise, and they picked me to start with. I'm going to go there, play hard and give them everything I have."
A player who doesn't figure to be around long with the Predators is goaltender Mike Richter of the New York Rangers. Poile said that Richter was selected purely for the compensation the team could get for him.
Krupp, a defenseman with the Colorado Avalanche, also was taken for compensation, Poile said.
The Predators took one player from each of the other 26 NHL teams.
Other defensemen chosen were Joel Bouchard of Calgary, Chris Armstrong of Florida, J.J. Daigneault of the New York Islanders, John Slaney of Phoenix, Al Iafrate of San Jose and Rob Zettler of Toronto.
The forwards: Mike Sullivan of Boston, Jeff Daniels of Carolina, Greg Johnson of Chicago, Patrick Cote of Dallas, Doug Brown of Detroit, Doug Friedman of Edmonton, Denny Lambert of Ottawa, Craig Darby of Philadelphia, Tony Hrkac of Pittsburgh, Blair Atcheynum of St. Louis, Paul Brousseau of Tampa Bay, Scott Walker of Vancouver and Andrew Brunette of Washington.
The Predators will continue their talent hunt in Saturday's NHL Entry Draft of amateur players. Nashville has the third pick behind Tampa Bay and San Jose. Vincent Lecavalier, a 6-4, 180-pound center from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, is expected to be the No. 1 pick by the Lightning.