Jun 27, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Haydn Fleury shakes hands with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman after being selected as the number seven overall pick to the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Now that we are days away from the 2015 NHL Draft, Frozen Futures will go through each team and give and idea of what prospects they have now, where they can improve and who they could select to improve.
The Carolina Hurricanes will go into the first round of the NHL Draft on Friday with the 5th overall pick. The Canes have had experience with top ten picks before. Last season Haydn Fleury was taken 7th overall and became the team’s top defensive prospect.
Last season Haydn Fleury was taken 7th overall and became the team’s top defensive prospect. In 2013, the Canes took Elias Lindholm 5th overall who just had a fairly good sophomore season scoring 17 goals and 22 assists in 81 games.
With the 5th pick this year, the Hurricanes will have a choice to choose a top forward prospect or an NHL ready, or close to NHL ready, defenseman.
If the team chooses to boost their offensive depth, Mitch Marner or Lawson Crouse are both prospects that have high potential to be ripe for the picking at the 5th overall pick in the draft.
Marner is more skilled offensively. He makes high quality plays with the puck in the offensive zone and isn’t afraid to go after players on the back-check. He possesses the skill to be an NHL starter but needs to bulk up in order to keep up with the rest of the players in the league.
Lawson Crouse is a bigger bodied forward who doesn’t have the same offensive skillset that a Marner has. He plays a physical game and uses that physical game to create opportunities in the zone. Crouse would need to develop his offense before making the jump to the NHL.
Some mock drafts have Noah Hanifin falling to the Carolina Hurricanes. Hanifin is a strong two-way defenseman with great skating ability. He has the size and ability on offense, and defense, to make an NHL club; however, the Arizona Coyotes have shown interest in drafting Noah Hanifin.
Here is how the rest of the Hurricanes draft will spread out:
2nd round – 35th overall
3rd round – 66th overall
4th round – 93rd overall
4th round – 96th overall
5th round – 126th overall
5th round – 138th overall
6th round – 156th overall
6th round – 169th overall
7th round – 186th overall
In the 2nd round, the Hurricanes need to go after forwards to even out the poor depth they have up front. With prospects like Fleury and Roland McKowen back on defense, it isn’t a necessity to grab a D-man in the 2nd round.
With the 35th pick, Zachary Senyshyn of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds would be a smart grab. He works hard at everything he does and has some offensive upsides. He is quick and has a hard shot, but needs to work on his accuracy. He does have advanced defensive abilities and can work the body on his opponents.
In the 3rd round, the Canes could draft a defenseman, or they could add depth to their offensive pipeline. If they go the defense route, a player potentially available at 66 is Matt Spencer of the Peterborough Petes. Spencer is another defenseman with strong skating ability.
Spencer will definitely be available in the 3rd round, but he can easily fall to 93rd or maybe even 96th overall.
The rest of the Hurricanes draft should be used to draft offensive depth, especially on the wings. Although the team may have some prospects at the right side, after Lucas Wallmark there is a rather large drop in potential.