The Carolina Hurricanes have the eighth overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft Friday night. After finishing 12th overall in the Eastern Conference, and missing a playoff spot by 10 points, there are plenty of needs for the young Hurricanes.
However, the cupboard isn’t as barren as you might think. Youth is well served in Raleigh, and success might come sooner rather than later. Unless they part with their pick via trade, which has been speculated, the Hurricanes will add another vital cog. Here are the potential candidates who could help out.
Mathew Dumba, D, Red Deer (WHL): Dumba is a high-scoring rearguard who played his junior hockey for Red Deer of the Western Hockey League. Dumba won the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy, or WHL’s Rookie of the Year, in 2010-11 with 15 goals and 26 points. Last season, Dumba was even better, more than doubling his production with 20 goals and 57 points, while cutting down his penalty minutes (PIM) from 83 to 67. He is strong, and he has plenty of speed. Dumba is also not afraid to deliver crushing open-ice hits. Some have compared him to current Toronto Maple Leafs D Dion Phaneuf. If Dumba is still on the board, general manager Jim Rutherford and company will certainly be taking a long look at him. The Hurricanes could use a strong two-way defenseman, and Dumba fits the bill.
Radek Faksa, C, Kitchener (OHL): The Czech-born Faksa would give the Hurricanes a strong presence in the middle to play behind, and eventually to replace, Eric Staal. Speaking of Staal, he is listed at 6-4, 205 pounds. Faksa stands at 6-3 and 202 pounds, and both are left-handed shooters. Physically, they’re mirror images. Faksa got his feet wet in the Ontario Hockey League, and he ran wild. Faksa led the OHL in rookie scoring in 2011-12, and he posted 31 goals to go along with 42 assists and an impressive plus-16 rating in 75 games in the regular season and playoffs combined. Faksa has a nose for the goal, is already an immovable force down low, and might see time in the NHL sooner rather than later. Will it be in Raleigh?
Mikhail Grigorenko, C,Quebec (QMJHL): Grigorenko was last seen frequently lighting the lamp for the Quebec Ramparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season. He posted 85 points in just 59 games, which will grab anyone’s attention regardless of the level. Scouts are enamored with Grigorenko’s puck-handling skills and creativity. However, some questions have arisen about his work ethic which have some “experts” dropping him in various mock drafts. While he seemed to dog it in the playoffs last season, he was dealing with a case of mononucleosis. He can be smooth as silk, and if he slips past the Hurricanes at No. 8, he will be a sensational gift for any club. He has the tools to be one of the better players in this draft, if not the best.
Morgan Rielly, D, Moose Jaw (WHL): Rielly will cause many sportswriters, and amateur bloggers, fits with the spelling of his last name. That’s about the only thing negative, if you want to call it that, anyone can say about this kid. He stands 6-0 and checks in at 190 pounds, and he has a “want-to” perhaps bigger than anyone in this class. Carolina loves lunch-pail types, a la Rod Brind’Amour, Glen Wesley, etc. from the past. Rielly certainly fits that bill, and could instantly become a fan favorite with his desire alone. Rielly tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee last fall. However, rather than pack it in and milk the injury, he kicked his rehab into high gear and vowed to play again last season. He did just that, posting six points in five playoff games in the Conference Finals. That’s a small microcosm of this kid’s work ethic and desire.
Griffin Reinhart, D, Edmonton (WHL): Reinhart is a big boy at 6-4 and 207 pounds, and he comes from good NHL bloodlines. Hurricanes fans might remember his father, Paul Reinhart, from his NHL playing days with the Atlanta/Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks. Reinhart is viewed as a well-balanced player. He led all defensemen for his WHL team in goals with 12 markers, but he also pays attention to detail on the defensive end as well. There are plenty of comparisons out there, with some matching Reinhart and Nashville Predators D Ryan Suter. Others liken him to Boston Bruins prospect Dougie Hamilton. Either way, it’s quite the compliment. Reinhart is a heady player who is destined for a lengthy career in the bigs.
Teuvo Teravainen, LW, Jokerit (Finland): Teravainen is diminutive, and he is a dart. He is listed at just 5-11 and 160 pounds. He certainly held his own last season with Jokerit in Finland’s top pro league, as he was literally a boy among men. He potted 11 goals and seven helpers in 40 games, and was named that league’s rookie of the year. Teravainen has tremendous hands, and some feel he might have the quickest in this draft class. Think of Teravainen as a Finnish Martin St. Louis, and Hurricanes fans are already getting excited. Teravainen is on record as saying Chicago Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane is one of his favorite players, and scouts have made the comparison of the two. He also said his style is similar to fellow countryman Valtteri Filppula of the Detroit Red Wings. Carolina puckheads would certainly take that.