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Hurricanes Wrap up 2011 NHL Entry Draft

by Ken Preston / Carolina Hurricanes

RALEIGH, NC – The Carolina Hurricanes today completed their activities at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN, by selecting five players in rounds 2-7. Carolina selected three centers, one defenseman and one goaltender on the draft’s second day to round out its 2011 draft class, headlined by yesterday’s first-round selection of defenseman Ryan Murphy.

The Hurricanes used their second-round pick (42nd overall) to select center Victor Rask (6’0”, 196 lbs.) from Sweden. Rask, 18, scored five goals and earned six assists (11 points), while playing in 37 games with Leksand of Sweden’s second professional division in 2010-11. He also picked up five assists in two games with Leksand’s under-20 junior team, and scored three goals and earned two assists (5 points) for Leksand’s under-18 junior squad. At the 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation World Under-18 Championship in April, he scored two goals, earned three assists (5 points) and posted a plus-5 plus/minus rating in six games. A coaches’ vote resulted in the Leksand, Sweden, native’s selection as one of his team’s top three players, as Team Sweden finished the tournament second behind the United States.

In the third round, the Hurricanes used the 73rd overall pick to select defenseman Keegan Lowe (6’1”, 173 lbs.) from the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League (WHL). The Greenwich, CT, native scored two goals, earned 22 assists (24 points) and accumulated 123 penalty minutes in 71 regular-season games in 2010-11. His plus-33 plus/minus rating in the regular season led all Oil Kings skaters, ranked tied for 16th in the WHL and was a plus-49 improvement from his minus-16 rating in 2009-10. Lowe (6’1”, 173 lbs.) is the son of six-time Stanley Cup champion and Edmonton Oilers President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe. In August 2010, Lowe played for Team USA at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Under-18 Tournament in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, as the Americans finished second to Canada.

Carolina used its fourth-round pick (103rd overall) to select center Gregory Hofmann from Ambri of the Swiss National League. Hofmann, 18, scored three goals and earned nine assists (12 points) while playing in 41 of Ambri’s 50 regular-season games in Switzerland’s top professional league. The Neuenburg, Switzerland, native also notched two goals in two games with Ambri’s junior club in 2010-11, and ranked 11th among European skaters in the NHL Central Scouting final rankings.

Having traded their fifth-round pick, the Hurricanes waited until the sixth round to pick goaltender Matt Mahalak from the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). Mahalak, 18, completed his first season of major-junior hockey in 2010-11, earning an 8-8-4 record, a 3.08 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage in 21 regular-season games with the Whalers. The Monroe, MI, native saw action in two OHL playoff games in 2011, posting a 0-1 record, a 3.00 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage. Mahalak (6’2”, 183 lbs.) shared the Whalers’ net with New Jersey Devils 2010 third-round (84th overall) draft pick Scott Wedgewood who ranked tied for seventh in the OHL in wins (28) in 2010-11, and ninth in goals-against average (2.99). Mahalak ranked eighth among North American goaltenders in Central Scouting’s final rankings.

The Hurricanes wrapped up the 2011 NHL Entry Draft by selecting Lethbridge Hurricanes center Brody Sutter (6’4”, 220 lbs.) with the 193rd overall pick. The 19-year-old Viking, Alb., native scored 18 goals and earned 24 assists (42 points) in 2010-11, to rank fourth among Hurricanes skaters despite playing in just 46 of his team’s 72 regular-season games. Sutter (6’4”, 200 lbs.) is the cousin of Carolina Hurricanes center Brandon Sutter, as well as Brett Sutter, who joined the Carolina organization via a trade with Calgary in 2010-11.

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