Hello and welcome to a weekly feature on CarolinaHurricanes.com in which I take your Twitter questions about the Carolina Hurricanes or other assorted topics and answer them in mailbag form. Hopefully, the final product is insightful to some degree, and maybe we have some fun along the way.
Let’s get to it.
As included in last year’s trade that sent Andrej Sekera to the Los Angeles Kings at the trade deadline, the Hurricanes received a first-round pick that was ultimately awarded this year by virtue of the Kings missing the playoffs last season.
The Stanley Cup Champion will make the 30th pick. The runner-up will make the 29th pick. The other two conference finalists will make the 27th and 28th picks. The remainder of the eliminated playoff teams are slotted from least to most regular-season points. The Kings are already eliminated, and that’s good for the Canes. Now it’s a waiting game to see how the playoffs progress.
Based on the regular-season standings, the pick currently sits at 23 since the Kings finished with the eighth-most points, but that will change. Minnesota and Detroit have the 15th and 16th picks, respectively, since they are already eliminated. Still in the postseason mix beyond that are Nashville, Tampa Bay, San Jose and NY Islanders. Since they face each other in the second round, one of Tampa Bay or New York will be a conference finalist (moving them to pick 27 or 28, or lower if they win the series), so the Canes’ pick will move up a slot. Should Nashville win Game 7 in Anaheim tonight, either the Predators or Sharks will also be a conference finalist (moving them to pick 27 or 28, or lower if they win the series), so the Canes’ pick will again move up a slot. If Nashville doesn’t advance, the pick would still move up a slot if San Jose advances to the Western Conference Final.
Long answer short: that pick will either be at 21 or 22, depending on what happens in Game 7 tonight and/or in the next round of the playoffs.
We won’t definitively know this answer until draft day, of course, but it’s something interesting to ponder in the meanwhile.
The Hurricanes currently have two picks in each of the first and second rounds; that haul includes both of their own (currently slotted as the 13th pick in each round), Los Angeles’ first-round pick and the New York Rangers’ second-round pick.
In his early tenure as the Hurricanes’ general manager, Ron Francis has committed to building a perennial competitor through drafting and player development. So, with four picks in what is now the top 53 of the draft (that will change pending playoff results), I could see him hanging on to all four and making what could be impact selections down the road.
On the other hand, Francis and his team have also identified a need for the Hurricanes heading into next season: goal scorers. Of course, there are 29 other teams with the same idea, but the Canes have the assets, including draft picks, to make a move. Maybe they package a pick or two in a draft-day trade like they did a year ago in South Florida. Or maybe they utilize the extra selections to move up in the draft and snag a player they like.
It could go either way come June 24 and 25, but for the sake of making a prediction, I’ll say that the team trades at least one of those first four picks.
I don’t see that happening. With the 13th pick, the Hurricanes are selecting outside of the top 10 for the first time since 2011, but they should still be on target to pick a future NHLer. Could I see the Canes trading up? Maybe. But I don’t think it would be all the way to the No. 1 slot; the cost would, in my estimation, outweigh the reward, especially considering the stockpile of draft picks the Hurricanes have this year.
As for the lottery, it’s a bit different this season. Three separate drawings will be held for the first, second and third overall picks, so teams that missed the playoffs have three shots at taking the express train to the top of the draft board.
The Hurricanes have a whopping two percent chance of winning the first pick. After that, the percentage of winning the second or third pick increases slightly by tenths of percentages. So it’s not likely, but that’s why it’s a lottery: there’s a chance.
Who wins it? Probably a Canadian club. Right now, it’s Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver in the 1-2-3 slots, and those three teams have a combined 45 percent chance of landing the first overall pick. Calgary and Winnipeg have the fifth- and sixth-best chances of winning the lottery followed by Montreal at nine and Ottawa at 12. In total, there is a 68.5 percent chance that a club from north of the border lands the No. 1 pick.
And we all know it’s going to be Edmonton.
For kicks, you can simulate this year’s lottery here. Keep clicking, kill some time and see if the Hurricanes are the lucky winners in any scenario.
Join me next week for more questions and more answers!
If you have a question you’d like answered or you’re as anxious as I am for the return of “Person of Interest” next week, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes or drop an email here.
is the Web Producer for the Carolina Hurricanes.Email