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Hurricanes Make Seven Picks on Day Two

Canes add varied collection of size and skill

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

Visit www.Hurricanes.com/Draft for the latest news, videos and pick-by-pick information in the 2017 NHL Draft.


CHICAGO - One way or another, it was going to be a busy weekend for the Carolina Hurricanes at the 2017 NHL Draft in Chicago.

Even though Executive Vice President and General Manager Ron Francis was hammering the phones, no trades were made, but plenty of picks rolled in, especially on a fast-paced day two. After selecting center Martin Necas 12th overall on Friday, the Hurricanes made seven addition picks in rounds two through seven.

Among the picks are three Finns, two guys named Eetu, three Western Hockey League products, a Geekie and a Greek.

"I'd be lying if I didn't say I was hoping to maybe take a few less picks. We had an awful lot of discussions in the last little bit about trying to move picks for players. They just didn't pan out the way we hoped," Francis said. "At the end of the day when we couldn't get anything done, we think we did a heck of a job drafting some good prospects."

"It went pretty well. We didn't know that we'd have as many picks to spend as we did," said Tony MacDonald, the Canes head amateur scout. "The beauty of it is that we got a lot of people that we're really, really excited about."

Armed with a pair of picks in each of the second and third rounds, the Hurricanes were active early on the morning of day two. With the 42nd overall selection, the Canes drafted Finnish center Eetu Luostarinen. Like Necas, Luostarinen is a big body, measuring in at 6-foot-2 and 178 pounds, and he skated in his country's highest professional league in the 2016-17 season, posting seven points (3g, 4a) in 32 games. He chipped in another three points (1g, 2a) in 17 playoff games.

Video: #CanesDraft: Eetu Luostarinen media availability

"I like to play with the puck a lot and share the puck," Luostarinen said. "I'm a playmaker."

"He's got size and skill. He can skate and shoot the puck," MacDonald said. "At this stage of his development, he's playing with the men there. It can only enhance his game and make him a better player as he goes forward. We're pretty excited about this guy."

Ten picks later, the Canes drafted defenseman Luke Martin from the University of Michigan. Martin, a St. Louis native, compared his game to Brent Seabrook - yes, a St. Louis kid rooting for a Chicago Blackhawk. "I try to keep that on the down low," he joked.

"I like a lot of what he does. His defensive shutdown abilities, and he's able to add in offensively," Martin said of Seabrook. "He has an edge, and he's also a leader. I try to emulate him on the ice as much as I can."

Video: #CanesDraft: Luke Martin media availability

MacDonald and company believe Martin has more offensive acumen than he's showed to this point, too.

"You could call him a big shutdown defenseman at this point in time, but he's more than that. We feel that he's got some offense in his game," MacDonald said. "I think that with the new coaching staff taking over in Michigan, I think they're looking at Luke to take on a leadership role. I think he's looking to embrace that, and it will certainly enhance his profile as a player."

The Canes used their two third-round picks on a pair of forwards: center Morgan Geekie, who was undrafted in 2016, and winger Stelio Mattheos, both products of the WHL.

"I know our Western scouts were real happy they got rewarded this year," Francis said. "The Geekie kid, big centerman with 90 points. He went through the draft last year, and we thought he was worth taking a shot on."

Video: #CanesDraft: Stelio Mattheos media availability

"It's an unbelievable feeling. It's a great day for my family and myself," Mattheos said. "I'm so happy that I was selected to such a great organization in Carolina, and I'm really excited to get started."

Two of the Canes' final three picks of the day were Finns, including goaltender Eetu Makiniemi in the fourth round and defenseman Ville Rasanen in the seventh round. Head European scout Robert Kron and Joni Pitkanen, who now does scouting work for Carolina, played influential roles in these selections.

"When he played the game he had a great eye and understanding for it," Francis said of Pitkanen. "He's got a keen eye for picking up little features in players and things that he likes. He's passionate about the game. He not only watches it live, but he's watching it on TV and talking to a lot of people. I think he's done an excellent job for us."

"We're going to have to put in a toll-free line to Finland to talk to Joni," MacDonald joked.

The next step for most, if not all of these newly drafted prospects is development camp, which takes place in Raleigh next week.

"Hard work," Luostarinen said of what's next.

"Any time you draft kids, you want to give them time to develop and put them in situations where they can be successful so when they step in they're ready to contribute right away," Francis said. "It'd be a pleasant surprise if anyone stepped in from today's draft, but we're not sitting here banking on that."

Though trades proved hard to come by on the second day of the 2017 NHL Draft, the Hurricanes leave Chicago with another varied collections of prospects that show real potential. These are the Hurricanes of tomorrow, paving their roads to the NHL.

"We're really excited about what we got," Francis said. "A lot of those kids we had real high on our list, which is exciting."

"I want to have a breakout season this year and become a great player in the NHL one day, so this season is going to be huge for me," Mattheos said.

"I think I'll be smiling for a long time," Martin said. "It's a good opportunity for me to work my tail off and try to make a name for myself in this organization."

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