The Carolina Hurricanes have signed 2016 13th overall draft pick Jake Bean to an entry-level contract. The deal is a standard three-year contract that will pay the young defenseman $832,500 at the NHL level, $70,000 at the AHL level, and comes with a $92,500 signing bonus. The cap hit for the deal comes in at $925,000.
— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) July 9, 2016
Heading into the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, Bean was one of the most intriguing defensive prospects. Scoring 24 goals and 64 points in 68 games will earn any player the attention of scouts, but when those numbers come from an 18-year-old defenseman, that attention is irrefutable. What’s even more impressive about Bean is his ability to play quality defense without his offensive numbers suffering. It’s not uncommon to see a defenseman get drafted in the 1st round due to his offensive ability, but see him stifle in the AHL for years before ever (if at all) getting an opportunity to play quality minutes at the NHL level.
Jake Bean looks like he has a skill-set that’s well-rounded enough to succeed at the NHL level, but defensemen more than any other position (barring goaltenders) typically take the most time to develop. The Hurricanes are well aware of this, as they currently have an excess of young defensemen in their system, including Haydn Fleury, Roland McKeown, Ryan Murphy, Keegan Lowe, Josh Wesley, Trevor Carrick, Tyler Ganly, and Dennis Robertson who are all 25-years-old or younger.
Young defensemen are still capable of making the NHL sooner rather than later, however, as the Hurricanes currently have five defensemen under contract on their NHL roster who are 26-years-old or younger, and three who are 22-years-old or younger. Bean probably won’t make the NHL this season, but if he continues to develop in the same way that he has to this point in his career, he could be an NHL player sooner rather than later.