And in this case, the good thing is talented, young defensemen. The Carolina Hurricanes have that in spades – both with the big club and in the pipeline – and they added another to the mix in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft.
With the 13th overall pick, the Hurricanes selected Jake Bean from Calgary of the Western Hockey League.
“It’s pretty special,” Bean said. “I’m really grateful for the opportunity. It’s a really cool day or me and my family.”
The 6-foot-1, 173-pound defenseman ranked tops among WHL defensemen in goals (24) and power-play goals (12), and he tallied 64 points in 68 games.
“I think it’s come a little bit naturally,” Bean said of his offensive instincts. “But a lot of it has to do with work off the ice, watching video, shooting pucks and developing my basic skills.”
“His credentials are outstanding. He’s a kid who has such great feet. He’s made for today’s NHL game. He can move across the blue line. He’s a power-play guy, and he has a tremendous shot,” said Tony MacDonald, the Canes head of amateur scouting. “He’s a great transition player. He can jump into the rush, and he can also defend.”
Three years ago, Bean went undrafted in the WHL. He earned a tryout with Calgary and this year was among the top defensive prospects available.
“I’ve been really fortunate. I’m surrounded by a first-class organization from the front office to the coaches, trainers and players,” Bean said of playing for the Hitmen. “I can’t thank Calgary enough for what they’ve done for me and what they’re going to do for me in the future.”
“We think we got a real good, puck-moving defenseman,” said Hurricanes Executive Vice President and General Manager Ron Francis. “We think he has the potential to grow into the guy who can quarterback your power play, so that’s exciting for us.”
This marks the third straight year in which the Hurricanes have utilized a first-round pick on a defenseman (Haydn Fleury in 2014 and Noah Hanifin in 2015). After 10 of the first 12 picks that came off the board tonight were forwards, MacDonald and the Canes identified Bean as the best player available.
“When you’re picking where we are, you want to pick the best player that’s on our list. We certainly had some forwards there, but there was a run of forwards,” Francis explained. “We’re really excited that Jake was there when we were picking because he was high on our list.”
At Friday night’s festivities, Bean sported socks that featured the image of Albert Einstein, somewhat fitting for a player who was considered one of the smartest defensemen available in the draft.
“His hockey sense is one of his outstanding qualities that he brings to the table,” MacDonald said. “His vision is exceptional. He sees the ice very well and makes good decisions with very few mistakes. In today’s NHL, you have to have defenders who can think. You have to be able to move the puck and make plays.”
“I’m a two-way defenseman who can play big minutes against the other team’s top guys,” said Bean, whose favorite NHL player to watch is Cam Fowler of the Anaheim Ducks. “I’m a guy who sees the ice really well and can make a good first pass.”
As Bean continues to grow as a prospect in the Hurricanes’ system, look for the Calgary, Alberta, native to add some size and fill out his frame.
“My biggest thing for me is my strength. In some aspects that’s a good thing because inevitably it will come with growing into my body,” Bean said. “With what I’ve been doing, it’s coming. If I can incorporate that into my game, it’s going to help me at the 200-foot level.”
“He’s still filling out and getting stronger,” MacDonald said. “The upside there is considerable as he matures and gets bigger and stronger.”
You can never have too much of a good thing, and Bean is the latest addition to the Hurricanes’ impressive collection of promising, young defensemen.
is the Web Producer for the Carolina Hurricanes.Email