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.
Hypothetical: Ron Francis calls you up and says, “Mike, do we take Hanifin or Marner?” Assuming both are available, your pick is? – Doug A. (@dabrams2021)
Well, first, I’d tell him he has the wrong number. If he insists, I’d preface my answer with the caveat that I’ve never seen any of these prospects live and am perhaps nowhere near the best source to ask.
Even still, hypothetically assuming he remains insistent, I would pick Mitch Marner. Here’s why:
He’s a dynamic offensive talent. He recorded 126 points (44g, 82a) in 63 games in 2014-15, which is an insane pace. In fact, he became the fastest 17-year-old in London Knights history to score 40 goals in one season (56 games played). His 126 points ranked second-best in the OHL behind Dylan Strome – and only because Strome posted a ridiculous six-point game (4g, 2a) in Erie’s regular-season finale.
Marner draws comparisons to Patrick Kane for obvious reasons: Kane has a very similar build and also was a London Knight who put up a boatload of points – 145 (62g, 83a) in 58 games to be exact.
You can critique Marner’s size – he’s 5-foot-11 and 160 pounds – but he’ll fill out, and size isn’t hindering his natural abilities, which are among the best this draft class has to offer.
When will the Canes make their final decision on who they are going to draft? Draft day or earlier? - @powerplay53
I posed a similar question to the Canes Director of Amateur Scouting Tony MacDonald earlier in the week. The team’s amateur scouts have convened in a fourth-floor conference room at PNC Arena for their annual pre-draft meetings.
My question to Tony: by the week’s end, will you know who you are going to select with the fifth overall pick?
His answer: “I would say so. I hope that when we leave here, we’ll have that accomplished.”
With that said, there are a multitude of variables that could change that selection between now and the night of June 26. What if their guy is picked at three or four? What if the Canes trade down a few spots? This is why the scouts put together a master draft board, a ranked list of eligible prospects. So, if the player the Canes have eyed at five is off the board, they know who their next-best player is.
“Sometimes things keep shifting and changing right up until the final day, and that could conceivably happen again,” MacDonald said. “We’ll have it narrowed down to the players we think fit for us and the guys we’re happiest with. We’ll have them in an order that makes a lot of sense to us and an order we’re comfortable with.”
Are you going to be down in Florida with the team for the Draft? – Leah Z. (@LMZeidman)
Of course! We’ll bring along a video and social presence, as well, to ensure that we have you covered from every possible angle on draft weekend from behind-the-scenes footage to live reaction from the draft floor.
CarolinaHurricanes.com and all of our respective social properties – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine and, launching that weekend, Periscope – will be your go-to sources for all things #CanesDraft.
Join me next week for more questions and more answers!
If you have a question you’d like answered or you want to know why I thoroughly enjoyed “Tomorrowland,” you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes (or drop an email here).