NHL Draft War Room: Carolina Hurricanes

rick nash rangers
The Russian Rick Nash? Nichushkin play is reminiscent of that of Rick Nash. (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

by Eldon MacDonald

Potential Carolina Hurricanes Picks

The purpose of this article is to give readers a feel for what the Carolina Hurricanes might be looking for in the upcoming 2013 NHL Draft in New Jersey and to provide some idea as to who may be available and picked with each draft selection. To give the reader a fairly wide range of information, we have provided the following:

  • Major Needs
  • Likely Draft Positions and Potential Picks
  • The Major Team Decision Makers
  • The Big Club – Current Roster
  • Top 10 Prospects
  • The Last Three Drafts

The reader should be aware that the suggested picks may or may not be available at the team’s turn at the draft. They are indicative, however, indicative of the types of players that will be available and the types of choices that Jim Rutherford and staff will have to make come June 30th in New Jersey.

Other Posts in This Series (THW’s War Room Final Rankings)

  • Round 1 – Prospects ranked 1 to 30
  • Round 2 – Prospects ranked 31 to 60
  • Round 3 – Prospects ranked 61 to 90
  • Round 4 – Prospects ranked 91 to 120

You can use these posts to get more information on a player ranked 1 to 120 including the following on most prospects:

  • Nicknames
  • Audio
  • Video
  • Quotes
  • Twitter
  • Stats

Major Needs

1 – Someone to keep Alexander Semin company –Yes, if Jim Rutherford was prepared to stick out his neck signing Alexander Semin he might as well go all in and sign another Russian to make him to continue to feel comfortable in Carolina and help maintain motivation. His experience in Washington could make him the perfect mentor for a young Russian stud prospect.

2 – Power play controlling defenseman – Ryan Murphy on the horizon but he has not been the same guy since getting the concussion. Maybe we will get the old Ryan Murphy back like Marty Frk and Patrice Bergeron; maybe not. However, the power play is too important not to have a backup plan.

3 –Some grit – Either on offense or defense, a little more grit would go a long way in making Carolina more difficult to play against.

4 – Best player available (BPA) – Best player available is always a good strategy. However, when there are many players of similar value, it is usually the one who has the qualities your team values the most that comes out on top. Carolina’s prospect cupboard is pretty bare, so BPA makes even more sense to Carolina this June.

Likely Draft Positions and Potential Picks

Round 1; pick 5 (The numbers in brackets are my rankings)

  • Preference 1 – Valeri Nichushkin (#5)
  • Preference 2 – Sean Monahan (#7)
  • Preference 3 – EliasLindholm (#6)
  • Preference 4 – Nikita Zadorov (#9)
  • Preference 5 –Rasmus Ristolainen (#8)
  • Preference 6 – Darnell Nurse (#10)

The Canes have a strong tendency with going for a forward in the first round. This year there are a number of excellent forwards who will be available at number 5, likely Valeri Nichushkin, Elias Lindholm and Sean Monahan. I can’t imagine MacKinnon, Drouin or Barkov slipping beyond four.

Valeri Nichushkin hits the needs category dead on and can be argued to be the BPA as well. However, Jim Rutherford can meet his needs later without taking Nichushkin if he feels (maybe correctly) that Nichushkin is too risky a project for Carolina. Nichushkin did not have a great Combine and failed to impress many scouts during the interview process.

The other two high-end forwards likely to be available are both centres: Elias Lindholm and Sean Monahan. With the Staal brothers at the core of the team for some time to come, the Canes would have to convert the one they select to a winger. I have a slight preference for Monahan as the convertee since his physical presence would augment the impact of the Staal brothers.

There are no wingers other than Nichushkin, in my opinion, who merit a selection at number 5 so that leaves the d-men, a category that Rutherford usually passes on in the first round (Ryan Murphy the obvious exception). There are three defensemen who may merit overcoming Rutherford’s aversion to first round d-men:

  • Nikita Zadorov, ranked at 9 – a huge shutdown defenseman who may qualify as meeting need one as well. Unfortunately, He does not have a huge offensive upside. The Hunter brothers (London Knights owners and management) really like him, I really like him and he was very impressive in his interviews at the combine.

  • Rasmus Ristolainen, ranked at 8. Risto doesn’t meet need number one but could meet need number two while still providing a large physical presence at the back end.
  • Darnell Nurse, ranked at 10. Scouts are divided on Nurse; some rate him the best of the three as he has some Chris Pronger-like traits – size, nastiness, offensive potential. Others do not believe he has the hockey sense to be that great.

Round 2: Pick 35 – Historical success rate = 33%

  • Preference 1 – Dillon Heatherington (#43)
  • Preference 2 – Ian McCoshen (#36)
  • Preference 3 – JT Compher (#38)

Potentially available starting at 32 and ending at 43 are: Morgan Klimchuk, Robert Hagg, Shea Theodore, Zach Fucale, Ian McCoshen, Justin Bailey,  JTCompher, William Carrier, ArtturiLehkonen, Michael Mc Carron and Dillon Heatherington.

There is quite a bit of talent in this group and a team would be lucky with any one of them. There is very little difference in the talent coming from the 25 to 45 group so you could almost say the first round extends to around 45. Dillon Heatherington, a 6’4 maybe 6’5 hard to play against d-man, would be my first choice for Carolina in this group. Although, I have Dillon at 43 in my rankings, I keep recommending him as a solution over lower ranked players so I have probably have understated his ranking.

Round 3: Pick 66 – Historical success rate = 24%

  • Preference 1 –PavelBuchnevich (#69)
  • Preference 2 –Micheal Downing (#66)
  • Preference 3 –Gustav Olofsson (#70)

Potentially available starting at 62 and ending at 72 are: Eric Roy, Linus Arnesson, Nick Sorensen, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Michael Downing, Lucas Wallmark, Jan Kostalek, PavelBuchnevich, Gustav Olofsson, Yan PavelLaplante and Mitchell Wheaton.

If Rutherford doesn’t take Nichushkin in the first, Pavel Buchnevich, a very talented Russian forward (can play centre or wing), who may slip to the third because of being Russian would be a nice second choice as a companion for Semin. Buchnevich looked very strong at the U18’s outscoring his more famous countryman, ValeriNichushkin. Alternately, there are two defensive prospects who would be picked in the second round in most years likely to be still available in Michael Downing and Gustav Olofsson. Both have decent size and skating ability.

Round 5: Pick 126 – Historical success rate = 11%

  • Preference 1 –Tyler Lewington (#122)
  • Preference 2 –Ben Harpur (#129)
  • Preference 3 –Jarred Hauf (#130)

Potentially available starting at 122 and ending at 132 are: Tyler Lewington, AlexandreCoulombe, Marcus Högberg, Connor Rankin, ColeCassels. Mitchell Theoret, Spencer Jensen, Ben Harpur, Jarred Hauf, Jeff Corbett and Stephen Harpur.

Hmmm…starting to get close to darts time. There are really no prospects in this group screaming “take me”. Likely you will be getting a better pick by selecting from the group I have listed under the round six pick, players I have ranked higher than NHL Central Scouting who may fall to the fifth round or beyond. However, some of the defensive prospects in the 122-132 range may have long-term potential so I have listed them above.

Round 6: Pick 156 – Historical success rate = 9%

  • Me 90 – NHL 156 – Matt Murphy
  • Me 97 – NHL 211 – Peter Trainor(3rd time available)
  • Me 109 – NHL NR – Jesse Lees
  • Me 114 – NHL 230 – MiroAaltonen(3rd time available)
  • Me 119 – NHL >290 – MarkusSøberg
  • Me 124 – NHL 200 – Marcus Högberg
  • Me 125 – NHL 165 – Cole Cassels
  • Me 131 – NHL 175 – Steven Harpur
  • Me unranked – NHL unranked – Albert Yarullin (3rd time available)
  • Me unranked – NHL unranked – Mitchell Theoret (re-entry prospect)
  • Me unranked – NHL unranked – BrendenKichton(re-entry prospect)

It is virtually impossible to tell who might be available from 156 on  so what I did was list those personnel who I have ranked in the 3rd and 4th rounds which the NHL has ranked 156 or greater that still have a decent chance of still being available. As this is as good time as any to make sure you take the best player available, I have listed the prospects in ranking order. I have also added Albert Yarullin who has a big shot on the power play,  Mitchell Theoret (6’2, 212) who looked very good for Barrie in the OHL playoffs and Brenden Kichton, a power-play quarterback with Spokane.

The Major Team Decision Makers

1 –President and General Manager: Jim Rutherfood

2– VP of Hockey Operations – Ron Francis

3 – Head Scout: Tony McDonald

4 – Coach: Kirk Muller

The Big Club – Current Roster


Left Wing


Right Wing


Jiri Tlusty

Eric Staal

Alexander Semin


Jeff Skinner

Jordan Staal

Chad Larose


Drayson Bowman

Tuomo Ruutu

Patrick Dwyer


Tim Brent

Kevin Westgarth







Zach Boychuk

Victor Rask


Zac Dalpe

Riley Nash



Erik Karlsson

Jeremy Welsh








Joni Pitkanen

James McBain

Cam Ward


Jay Harrison

Joe Corvo

Dan Ellis


Tim Gleason

Justin Faulk

Justin Peters


Marc-Andre Bergeron

Bobby Sanguinetti






Keegan Lowe

Ryan Murphy


Austin Levi

Danny Biega


Top 10 Prospects

Ryan Murphy
Ryan Murphy (Aaron Bell/CHL Images)

1 – 2011 – 012 – Ryan Murphy

2 –2011 – 042 – Victor Rask

3 – 2011 – 073 – Keegan Lowe

4 – 2008 – 014 – Zach Boychuk

5 – 2008 – 045 – ZacDalpe

6 – 2007 – 021 – Riley Nash

7 – 2012 – 099 – Erik Karlsson

8 – 2010 – 067 – Danny Biega

9– 2006 – FA – Jeremy Welsh

10 – 2010 – 085 – Austin Levi

The Last Three Drafts






038 Philip Di Giuseppe 012 Ryan Murray 007Jeff Skinner


047 Brock McGinn 042 Victor Rask 037Justin Faulk


069 Daniel Altshuller 073 Keegan Lowe 053 Mark Alt


099 Erik Karlsson 103Gregory Hoffman 067 Danny Biega


115 Trevor Carrick 163 MattMahalak 085 Austin Levi


120 Jacob Slavin 193Brody Sutter 105 Justin Shugg


129 Brendan Woods 167 Tyler Stahl


159 Collin Olson 187 Frederik Andersen


189 Brendan Collier