The 2013 NHL Entry Draft has become the main focus of all league teams outside the four remaining clubs vying for the Stanley Cup.
Seth Jones, Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin have stolen the vast majority of headlines surrounding the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. The trio are considered the top three prospects in this year’s draft that will take place at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ on June 30th.
The day that can change franchises for the better or worse is now less than a month away.
The Carolina Hurricanes have the fifth selection in the draft, but that doesn’t spell doom and gloom for General Manager Jim Rutherford. A quick look back at the 2010 draft shows that picking outside the “can’t miss” products isn’t always the end of the world.
In 2010, Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin were widely considered the top two selections – players a franchise could build upon. Edmonton selected Hall first overall, and the Bruins took Seguin one spot later.
Picking seventh in that year’s first round, the Hurricanes selected Jeff Skinner from the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL. Skinner was undersized, standing below six-feet, but had just come off a dynamite season in juniors. The Markham, Ont. native had tallied 70 goals and 53 assists in 84 games that year, including the playoffs. All of that scoring prowess in juniors, yet Skinner was ranked all the way down at the 34th position among North American skaters in the NHL Central Scouting Bureau Final Rankings.
Three NHL seasons later, only three players selected in the 2010 draft have played in more games than Skinner. Only Hall has more goals, assists or points than Skinner.
The Hurricanes also picked up a solid contributor in the beginning of the second round when the franchise selected Justin Faulk from the US National Development Program. After one highly successful season at Minnesota-Duluth where the Bulldogs claimed the NCAA Championship, the South St. Paul, Minn. native turned pro. He played in 66 NHL games last season and 38 this year. He is the only player outside the first round from the 2010 draft to have played in more than 100 games.
Hall and Seguin were considered the franchise players in the 2010 draft. Both young players have shone during their early career in the NHL. Seguin already has a Stanley Cup ring and is working on adding another. Hall has been the most prolific scorer of any player selected in 2010, but Skinner took home the Calder Trophy as the best rookie in the 2010-11 season, beating out both Hall and Seguin.
It’s still too early to call one of the three the best of the group, but one thing is for certain. Carolina picked up two very good players in the 2010 draft. With only eight players from that draft class having played in over 100 NHL games, the Hurricanes lay claim to two of them.
Maybe highly coveted Russian prospect Valeri Nichushkin will be available when Rutherford and company find themselves on the clock with the fifth overall pick. Then again, the Hurricanes could go completely off the board like they did in 2010.
In the second or third rounds, the Hurricanes could take a college-bound player with an NHL pedigree. Boston College recruit Ryan Fitzgerald has already built up quite the resume. The undersized North Reading, Mass. native played for the Valley Warriors in the Eastern Junior Hockey League this past season. His dad, Tom, played in 1,097 NHL games for seven different teams and now works in the front office for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Hurricanes must hope their draft selections will help bring the Stanley Cup Playoffs back to Raleigh — something that has been missing for four consecutive seasons.