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This Day in Canes History: June 26

Raleigh hosts draft, Canes make splash

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

On this day in Canes history ...

June 26-27, 2004

The Carolina Hurricanes host the 2004 NHL Entry Draft at the RBC Center, drawing 15,672 fans for day one, the largest draft crowd in more than a decade. The Canes make noise on the floor as well, trading the eighth overall selection and a second-round pick for the fourth overall selection in order to draft top-rated North American skater Andrew Ladd.

The 2004 NHL Entry Draft put a spotlight on the greater Triangle region after the Carolina Hurricanes finished their seventh season in North Carolina and fifth in Raleigh.

The Canes drew 15,672 for the first day of the nine-round affair, the largest draft crowd in more than a decade.

A pair of Russians went off the board in the first two picks: Alex Ovechkin to the Washington Capitals first, and Evgeni Malkin to the Pittsburgh Penguins second.

Then, giving the home fans something to cheer about, the Canes made an early splash.

"Columbus trades the number 4 overall selection in this year's draft," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman paused on stage, stretching out the anticipation of the moment, "to Carolina."

Video: Moment 14: Hurricanes Host 2004 NHL Entry Draft

With the fourth overall pick, the Canes drafted Andrew Ladd, the Central Scouting Bureau's top-ranked North American skater, a move that was received with a standing ovation from the record crowd.

Ladd played in 137 games with the Canes and totaled 50 points (26g, 24a) from 2005-08. He captured the Stanley Cup as a rookie in 2005-06 and chipped in five points (2g, 3a) in 17 playoff games. Ladd went on to win a second championship with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2009-10 and has totaled 538 points (249g, 289a) in 950 career NHL games over a 15-year career.

The Canes made seven additional selections in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Justin Peters, Casey Borer and Brett Carson, their next three picks after Ladd, each recorded various stints in the NHL.

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