With deadline looming, Preds sign prospect Kirkland

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Given how things have gone with Nashville and unsigned draftees lately, today’s signing of Justin Kirkland is noteworthy.

Kirkland, the 62nd overall pick at the ’14 draft, signed his three-year, entry-level deal with the Preds today, just two weeks shy of the June 1 deadline which could’ve seen him re-enter the draft.

Remember that Nashville already lost out on another of its draftees — Harvard star and Hobey Baker winner Jimmy Vesey — so, in light of that, the Kirkland deal has a little more significance than usual.

More on the 19-year-old, from the club:

[Kirkland] amassed 67 points (31g-36a) in 69 games with the Western Hockey League’s Kelowna Rockets in 2015-16, his third season with the club.

In 2014-15, the 6-foot-3, 183-pound left wing helped the Rockets claim the WHL regular-season and playoff titles and advance to the Memorial Cup Final, tying for sixth among all skaters in points (2g-3a-5pts, 5gp) at the tournament.

The Camrose, Alta., native ranked eighth among Western Hockey League rookies in points (17g-31a-48pts) in 2013-14, and for his Kelowna career, has 169 points (71g-98a) in 199 games.

Kirkland is expected to play in AHL Milwaukee next season.

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