Although the Carolina Hurricanes have been in prime positions in previous drafts, they do not have a lot to ride home about. They have a prospect extension that lacks depth at forwards and talent all around. However, the Hurricanes are receiving production from players that people might have expected.
Photo By: Terry Wilson/OHL Images
Even though most positions in their prospect pool don’t have great talent, an exception to that would be goaltender. Leading the way is American goalie Alex Nedljkovic. The Parma, Ohio native is currently playing for the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL. Nedeljkovic has been living up to expectations that a 2nd round drafted goalie would have. For a Whalers team that gives up the 3rd most shots in the league, Nedeljkovic maintains a .905 save percentage. Nedeljkovic also is tied for the 2nd most shutouts in the OHL, with 3.
Nedeljkovic also played his way to a USA World Junior roster. Unfortunately for him, there is two goalies on the roster that are out playing him for playing time, in Brett Halverson and Thatcher Demko. Still, just the invitation to the roster signifies that he is among the best goaltenders in the world.
At 6’0″ and 183 lbs, Alex Nedeljkovic may be smaller than some goalies, but his athleticism makes up for it. His skills take precedent over his size, unlike other Hurricane goalie Daniel Altshuller. A former 3rd round pick, Althsuller is bigger than Nedeljkovic at 6’2″ and 191 lbs. With his big body, Altshuller has a natural ability to find a good position in the net.
While in the OHL last season, Altsuller was a wall for the Oshawa Generals. Playing 52 games, he had a record of 31-13-3 and a save percentage of .917. Now Altsuller has moved on from the OHL and playing at a professional level. Altshuller has played 8 games on the year. All of them were in the ECHL for the Florida Everblades. He has a 6-1 record, but his goals against average and save percentage are atrocious at 3.19 and .886. If Altshuller wants to get a call up to the AHL, he will need to bring up those numbers.
Another bright spot in the Carolina Hurricanes prospect pipeline is defenseman Haydn Fleury. Fleury is a 7th overall pick by the Canes from the 2014 draft. Playing on the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL, Haydn has been a bright spot in the Carolina prospect pool.
He is a big body, 6’2″ and 203 lbs, but is also has explosive speed to take advantage of clueless defenders. When Brent Sutter, GM and coach of the Rebels, was asked who Fleury reminded him of, he revealed “Shea Weber”, Sutter elaborated by saying “He takes the body, skates with a hard edge, is heavy on the back-end. And his offensive instincts are a lot like Duncan Keith’s.”
That’s a fair comparison, but he reminds me of Tyler Myers at times. At least how Tyler played in his rookie season. A tall body that is also a speedy defender. Not to mention his presence in the offensive zone. Of course, Fleury has, what seems to be, a lot more talent than Myers. So don’t be afraid of this comparison Hurricane fans.
Fleury is 1-11-12 in 27 games this season in Red Deer, a .44 point per game pace. Last year Fleury finished at a .82 PPG with 8-38-46 trough 70 games. Expect his scoring to rise as the Rebels get closer to the end of the year and are fighting for the division crown.
As we move to forwards, the Canes have nothing to boast, as mentioned before. Again, there are still a couple of bright spots.
2nd round pick Brock McGinn began his first full season in the AHL this year. McGinn is the former assistant captain of the OHL’s Guelph Storm. Last year in Guelph, McGinn had a break-out season scoring wise. He had 85 points in 58 games. This year in the AHL, McGinn is 5-8-13 in 30 games.
For those of you worrying over McGinn, don’t. McGinn is not supposed to blow you away offensively. McGinn is someone whose game is to stop other offensive threats. Which he has been pretty good at for the Charlotte Checkers, Carolina’s AHL affiliate, this season.
The second bright spot among Hurricane forwards has been Sault Ste. Marie winger Sergey Tolchinsky. Tolchinsky has become a dominant player for the Greyhounds. Tolchinsky was an undrafted free agent pick-up for the Hurricanes, and they might have found a hidden gem here. After his draft season, Tolchinsky came out of his shell. He had 91 points in 2013-14, including 31 goals. This year, Tolchinsky has 49 points in 32 games, with 17 goals.
Courtesy: Soo Greyhounds/Greyhound Hot Clips
Although Sergey is strong when it comes to scoring and play-making, he will still need to build himself. He is not the biggest guy out on the ice and players at the professional level will take full advantage of that. They will have no problem bowling him over.
For a team with a lot of low-level prospects, the Carolina Hurricanes still have a few bright spots. Plus, with the way the NHL team is shaping up right now, it is very possible that they add a prospect with a whole lot of talent in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Maybe even a Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel.