There was a sense of anticipation in his tone as Predators general manager David Poile spoke after the NHL Draft Lottery on Monday.

Poile had good reason to be eager for the June 30 draft in Newark, N.J. The 2013 class is considered one of the best in the last 10 years, and the Predators will pick fourth overall. If Nashville doesn’t trade the pick, it could get a high-end prospect to add to its system for the first time since drafting Colin Wilson seventh overall in 2008.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that they’re going to get a player that’s going to be a significant difference maker for them for a lot of years,” TSN draft analyst Craig Button said.

On Monday, Poile said that, barring a trade, he was “90 percent” sure Nashville would draft a forward, but he backtracked a little on Tuesday. If the Predators keep the pick, there’s a good chance center Nathan MacKinnon, center Aleksander Barkov or winger Jonathan Drouin would fall to them. Defenseman Seth Jones is the top-rated prospect and is expected to go No. 1 overall to Colorado.

“We know we’re going to get a very good player,” Predators chief amateur scout Jeff Kealty said.

MacKinnon is considered the best of the forwards. The native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, has followed the same development track as NHL superstar Sidney Crosby: first to Shattuck-St. Mary’s High School in Minnesota, and then to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Crosby played for Rimouski, MacKinnon for Halifax.

The 5-foot-11 MacKinnon is an explosive skater with a nose for the net. He also doesn’t shy away from the physical side of the game, and some compare him to former Blackhawks 50-goal scorer Jeremy Roenick. This past season with Halifax, MacKinnon notched 75 points in 44 games.