RALEIGH, NC – The Carolina Hurricanes' management and scouting staffs added seven players to the team's developmental system in the final six rounds of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Sunday at Nashville's Gaylord Entertainment Center. Jim Rutherford, President / General Manager of the Hurricanes, also traded a 2004 sixth-round pick to Philadelphia for center Marty Murray during the draft's final rounds.
Carolina entered Sunday with nine selections remaining in the two-day draft. The Hurricanes used their two selections on Saturday to take the draft's top-rated skater, center Eric Staal from Peterborough of the Ontario Hockey League, and No. 10 rated North American defenseman Danny Richmond from the University of Michigan.
With Sunday's first pick (102nd overall), Carolina selected defenseman Aaron Dawson, 18, from Peterborough of the OHL. A teammate of Hurricanes 2003 first-round selection Eric Staal, Dawson (6' 4", 220 lbs.), last season scored one goal, added eight assists (9 points) and accumulated 76 penalty minutes in 65 regular-season games. NHL Central Scouting credited the Terre Haute, Ind., native's skating ability saying he has a quick first step and can reach top speed in just a couple of strides.
The Hurricanes used their second fourth-round pick on Sunday (126th overall) to select Edmonton native Kevin Nastiuk, goaltender for Medicine Hat of the Western Hockey League. In 2002-03, Nastiuk (6' 2", 176 lbs.), 17, posted a 4.40 goals-against average and went 15-20-2 in 42 games for the Tigers. Later in the fourth round, Carolina tapped Regina Pats defenseman Matej Trojovsky (6' 5", 220 lbs.) with the 130th overall pick. In 70 regular-season games last season, the Plzen, Czech Republic, native posted three goals and six assists (9 points) and totaled 229 penalty minutes.
Carolina owned the first two picks of the fifth round, but traded the second of those (138th overall) and its 2003 sixth-round selection (168th overall) to Columbus in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2004. With their lone fifth-round choice (137th overall), the Hurricanes selected 6' 3", 205-pound defenseman Tyson Strachan, 18, from Vernon of the British Columbia Hockey League.
To start the seventh round, the Hurricanes selected 19-year-old left wing Shay Stephenson from Red Deer of the WHL with the draft’s 198th choice. Stephenson (6' 4", 200 lbs.) was originally drafted 278th overall by Edmonton in 2001, but reentered the draft this year. In 2002-03, the Outlook, Sask., native played in 67 regular-season games and scored 17 goals, added 15 assists and totaled 84 penalty minutes with the WHL Central Division-winning Rebels.
With the 230th overall pick and first choice of the eighth round, Carolina selected 18-year-old New Ulm, Minn., native Jamie Hoffmann (6' 2", 195 lbs.). A center for Des Moines of the United States Hockey League, Hoffman finished 2002-03 with 14 goals, 25 assists (39 points) and a team-high 120 penalty minutes in 60 games. With their final selection of the 2003 Entry Draft (262nd overall), the Hurricanes chose 18-year-old center Ryan Rorabeck from Toronto-St. Michael's of the OHL. In 2002-03, the Oshawa, Ont., native played in 55 regular-season games, scoring 11 goals, earning 19 assists (30 points) and tallying 20 penalty minutes.
The Hurricanes' seven choices on Sunday concluded a weekend that saw the team make three trades and draft nine players into their system. Prior to the draft's first choice on Saturday, the Hurricanes acquired defenseman Danny Markov and a conditional draft pick in 2004 or 2005 from Phoenix in exchange for defensemen David Tanabe and Igor Knyazev.