Undrafted and overlooked, Predators’ hard-hitting Tanner Jeannot making his presence felt in the NHL

By John Glennon

    The path toward the NHL – complete with its pie-in-the-sky hopes and crushing disappointments – begins at an especially young age in the hockey-mad country of Canada.

    So it was that the Predators’ Tanner Jeannot, then just 14 years old, sat in front of his computer almost a decade ago, hoping to see his name pop up among prospects who’d been drafted.

    This wasn’t even the National Hockey League draft, of course, but that of Canada’s Western Hockey League, where talented junior players aged 16-20 hone their skills two levels below the NHL, eager to climb the professional ladder.

    One by one, Jeannot watched the names of friends and teammates flash on the screen when they were drafted that day -- never seeing his own name appear.

    “It’s tough, sure, you’re seeing your buddies getting drafted and they’re all excited, and you’re waiting for your name to be called and it never came,” Jeannot said. “But I just tried to use it as motivation, trying to prove all the teams that didn’t take me wrong. I guess I just kind of took offense to it, so I tried to work on my game every day and get better and better.”

    It would hardly be . . .

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