Though it was uncertain during Friday’s first round whether the Carolina Hurricanes would retain their nine draft picks in rounds two through seven, that’s what ultimately happened.
In total on Saturday, the Hurricanes selected five forwards, two defensemen and two goaltenders. All but one of the prospects are from either the United States (3) or Canada (5); the other, Erik Karlsson (not that one), is from Sweden.
“Overall, we got a pretty good mix,” said Tony MacDonald, the director of amateur scouting for the Canes. “We got some speed, and we’ve got some skill.”
MacDonald confirmed that the team was trying to move back into the first round on Friday night, after packaging the eighth overall pick (which they would have liked to use on Morgan Rielly who, as it turns out, was gone in the five slot) in a trade that saw Jordan Staal land in Carolina.
“It didn’t work out. We couldn’t make a deal to get to 25 or 27,” he said. “As it turned out today, we would have preferred to get to 31 to get a shot at a guy we really wanted badly. That didn’t happen. But we ended up with the next guy on our list in Di Giuseppe. So, we were pretty happy because had we been picking 25 or 26 in the first round, we would have been happy to take him there. We feel we got a first-rounder in this guy.”
With that, let’s take a quick look at each of the Hurricanes picks in the order they were drafted.
On what his University of Michigan coach Red Berenson told him in regards to where he gets picked: “He said, ‘Don’t worry about it; it’s what you do after.’”
Describing his style of play: “I play a skilled game. I’m a good skater with a good shot. I’m good with the puck, and I read the ice well.”
On modeling his play after Anze Kopitar: “He’s bigger than me, but I just like how he handles the puck and how he drives the net and works the cycle. I try to take that from his game.”
MacDonald’s take: “He’s a skilled winger with a great shot. He’s quick, he’s smart, he gets involved physically, he doesn’t mind going to the net and he plays well in traffic.”
MacDonald’s take: “He’s got the two brothers who preceded him into the NHL. He’s the smallest of the three, but he’s a gritty, tough, hard-nosed kid who understands the game very well. Good hockey sense and good sense of timing. Knows when to get involved physically to try and ignite his team. He knows when to back off and play it smart. He plays for Scott Walker in Guelph. Both Mike Kelly and Scott Walker are very high on him. We feel we have a guy who has a future … in the NHL.”
The Lerum, Sweden native is outed for his two-way game and excellent skating. Just 5-foot-11 and 161 pounds, many teams likely passed over him because of his size; the Canes believe he can add the strength needed to become an effective player. The only European player selected by the Canes, Karlsson will likely remain in Sweden for at least another season.
Describing his style of play: “I’m sually a shutdown defenseman, but I can chip in offensively as well.” Added that he plays a physical game “for sure.”
On where he feels most comfortable on the ice: “Usually in my own end. I take care of my own end first. I like to jump up in the play, too.”
On what he knows about the Carolina organization: Bobby Hughes (drafted in 2006) is Carrick’s cousin, and “he’s told me a few things about that, but I’m not too familiar with the organization.”
MacDonald’s take: “Tough, puck-moving defenseman. He’s going to fill out and get better. He’s also a devastating fighter, which is maybe a slight side-benefit. He’s a tough kid, and we feel he was sort of an under-the-radar guy.”
He wasn’t present in Pittsburgh, but here’s some of what we know: He’s a 6-foot-2, 170-pound defenseman from Denver, Colorado. He’s played with Chicago in the USHL and is committed to Colorado College in the fall.
MacDonald’s take: “Big strong guy who missed a year of hockey with an injury. He came back and played this year. He’s a big, strong guy who likes to go to the net. Great upside.” MacDonald added that this was Woods’ last year of draft eligibility, having been born in 1992; his injury last season is what prevented him from being picked then.
MacDonald’s take: “He’s small, but he’s a tremendously talented player. He competes like a bulldog. He’s got good skill. He’s a productive player. And he’s going to BU, which is a program where players improve over time. They’ve got such a great track record of making people better. A lot of the undersize guys who go there end up being impact players. We’re pretty happy to get this kid where we did in the seventh round.”
For a complete list of the Hurricanes’ draft history, click here. For a photo gallery from Saturday's rounds of the draft, click here.