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Day 2: Pick by Pick

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Carolina Hurricanes made seven selections over six rounds on day two of the 2016 NHL Draft. Here’s a quick snapshot of each with quotes from the Hurricanes Director of Amateur Scouting Tony MacDonald, Executive Vice President and General Manager Ron Francis and the prospects themselves.

Janne Kuokkanen, C, Karpat Jr. (Finland)

MacDonald’s take: “He’s a very skilled player. There’s a little bit of Sebastian Aho’s game in Janne Kuokkanen’s game. He’s a skilled player with good speed. He put up very impressive numbers in the Finnish junior league. We haven’t seen the best of what he has to offer yet. He’s going to develop into a real good prospect.”

Francis’ take: “What I like about him is his elite, elite hockey sense. Watching him play, especially at the U-18s, he does some things that remind you in some way to Sebastian Aho. For us, it was exciting to be able to get him. He was a guy we were targeting.”

Kuokkanen on being drafted: “It’s an amazing feeling. I’m very happy now.”

Kuokkanen on how he patterns his game: “I’m a two-way centerman who can make plays. I don’t really model after anyone. I just try to find good, smart players and learn something from them.”

Matt Filipe, LW, Cedar Rapids (USHL)

MacDonald’s take: “He plays an honest, 200-foot game. He gives you a little bit of everything. He can score, and he’s got some grit. … We’re pretty excited. A lot of our guys really liked him, the guys that follow the USHL closely really liked him a lot.”

Filipe on Northeastern University: “I think they proved this year that they can hang with the big guns like BC or BU. Next year I think they’ll be right up there again at the top of the Hockey East. I’m looking forward to going there next year and contributing and helping them win again.”

Filipe on the progression of his game: “I just need to keep being consistent, being physical and playing my game, which is a power-forward player. Keep using my speed and size to my advantage, just developing there in college. … Just keep getting better every day, which will eventually help me to get to the NHL.”

Hudson Elynuik, C, Spokane (WHL)

MacDonald’s take: “He’s a big kid. He’s a ’97 and had some injury problems. All of that is behind him. He’s a big guy who can skate, and he’s got a little edge to his game. His offensive dimension is evolving and developing as he goes. … Players like that with that kind of size, who can skate and have some physicality to their game are always a nice addition to our stable of forwards.”

Jack Lafontaine, G, Janesville (NAHL)

MacDonald’s take: “He’s a big guy who put up very impressive numbers in that league (NAHL). He’s going to go to Michigan and will have some time to continue to develop. He’s got some size, and everyone seems to be looking for those guys in today’s NHL.”

Lafontaine on being drafted: “I’m very grateful for the opportunity. I’m just thinking about all the people I should thank. It’s been a long road to get here, but it’s been worth it.”

Lafontaine on the feeling of hearing his name called: “It’s second-to-none. It’s a feeling you can’t describe. It’s something you have to experience for yourself. It’s something you dream about as a four-year-old kid. When you put in all this work and finally get to this moment, it pays off. At the same time, you have to keep working hard. Many are drafted, but few are signed.”

Lafontaine on his style of goaltending: “I consider myself very active in the net and very athletic. I use my big frame to my advantage. I’m someone who’s competitive and ready to work hard to win at all costs.”

Lafontaine on his strongest asset: “To me, the strongest part of my game is my work ethic. I’ve never been the most talented goaltender, but I’ve always been someone who has been coachable and able to adapt at any level.”

Max Zimmer, LW, Chicago (USHL)

MacDonald’s take: “Skill and speed. Gritty winger. Another kid who we liked. … We think he’s another interesting kid. … These are players that are going to develop, and we can allow them to develop at their own pace.”

Jeremy Helvig, G, Kingston (OHL)

MacDonald’s take: “He’s a big man. He had a very good year in Kingston. He’s a ’97 and has been through a draft. He probably should have been drafted last year, and we decided that we weren’t going to let it happen again. We’ve seen a lot of him. … He had a good playoff. 6-4, 200 pounds-plus and still getting bigger and stronger. We’re excited about what he may be able to develop into.”

Helvig on being drafted: “It feels great right now. I’m really excited to join a great organization. I’m looking forward to it.”

Helvig on going through his second draft: “I was a little bit nervous going through it. I was just staying patient and waiting for my name. Once I got called, I was really excited and happy, and my family was happy for me.”

Helvig on his goaltending style: “I’m a cool, calm goalie in net. I try to stay big and square to the puck.”

Noah Carroll, D, Guelph (OHL)

MacDonald’s take: “He’s a kid that I’ve seen quite a bit of over the last two years. Modest statistics this year. Didn’t have a great season, but it was a young team that was rebuilding. They were struggling. He was part of that process. He’s done a lot of work over the latter part of the season. He’s getting bigger and stronger, and he projects as a real solid and reliable two-way guy down the road. We’re glad to have him in our defensive corps, and we’ll see how he develops over the next couple of years.”

Michael Smith
MICHAEL SMITH is the Web Producer for the Carolina Hurricanes.

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