2013 NHL Mock Draft: Carolina Hurricanes' Full Seven-Round Mock Draft
Or will they?
At No. 5, the 'Canes currently occupy their highest selection since 2004, and it comes in a draft class labeled by many as a once-in-a-decade group. GM Jim Rutherford may have other plans in mind, however, as rumors of a potential trade-down have been roaring for weeks.
For the moment, the Hurricanes occupy five picks in the seven-round order—choices No. 5, 35, 66, 126 and 156 in the first, second, third, fifth and sixth rounds, respectively.
What will they do with each of those selections? What trades could possibly also be up Rutherford's sleeve? Our fairly optimistic and undeniably bold mock draft falls on the coming slides.
Note: The predictions and projections which follow are based solely on our own opinion and are highly likely to be false.
First Round Trade
The Carolina Hurricanes trade the No. 5 overall pick and defenseman Jamie McBain to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for the No. 8 and No. 16 overall picks.
If the right player isn't available at fifth, Rutherford is believed to be highly interested in trading down.
Meanwhile, the Buffalo Sabres, holding two of the top 16 choices, are believed to be highly interested in moving in the opposite direction. Kevin Devine, director of amateur scouting, has already told a reporter that "we’re really trying to move up."
With young yet beleaguered blueliner Jamie McBain desperately in need of a change of scenery, and this logic for valuing draft picks, the above exchange seems like a reasonable one.
First Round, No. 8 Selection
The Carolina Hurricanes select, from the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, defenseman Darnell Nurse.
The son of a CFL receiver and the nephew of Donovan McNabb, Darnell Nurse's upbringing didn't exactly lead directly to hockey.
From the Hurricanes' perspective, however, it sure is a good thing Nurse chose the sport he did. The 6'4" rearguard from Ontario is a top-tier defensive defenseman; his positioning and mobility are excellent and he's learned to take advantage of his large frame well.
"Nurse isn't shy about using his size and is very good at shutting opponents down, whether it be by using his body or his lanky arms and stick to poke the puck off the opposing player," raves Todd Cordell of The Hockey Guys. "He's incredibly smart, positionally sound and really understands the game."
On a Hurricanes' defense that ranked last in the NHL in shots allowed, Nurse's conservative style is an ideal fit.
First Round, No. 16 Selection
The Carolina Hurricanes select, from the Val d'Or Foreurs, left wing Anthony Mantha.
After missing last year's draft cutoff by one day, 6'4" winger Anthony Mantha exploded into a breakout season in 2012-13.
The lanky Quebec native more than doubled his 2011-12 goal-scoring total, jumping from 22 to 50, in his 89-point, 67-game campaign with the QMJHL's Val d'Or. Scouts were impressed by the 18-year-old's ability to stay patient with the puck despite his top-class shooting skills.
"He can slow the game down, and he exhibits good calmness, often finding the right plays to make with the puck," writes Hockey Prospectus's Corey Pronman. "He is a top-end finisher, possessing a bullet shot. When he gets an opportunity to one-time a puck, he winds up high, delivering a lot of weight through the shot."
As Rutherford looks for a mid-round choice who can make the biggest immediate impact, Mantha should stand out as a potential 2013-14 NHL rookie.
Second Round, No. 35 Selection
The Carolina Hurricanes select, from the Regina Pats, left wing Morgan Klimchuk.
Morgan Klimchuk's upside is unlikely to project out beyond a third-line NHL winger, but he's a well-rounded and accountable youngster who, like No. 16 pick Mantha, is farther along in his development than most.
Klimchuk, 5'11", scored a respectable 76 points in 72 appearances in the WHL this past season. He's best known for his defensive strengths, however.
"He kills penalties very well, is playing well defensively in our zone, and is getting in early on the forecheck to create chances for himself and his linemates," Regina assistant coach Josh Dixon told Hockey's Future this past season.
Klimchuk should be ready for the AHL soon. He will be a indisputably conservative but nonetheless worthwhile use of the 35th choice.
Third Round, No. 66 Selection
The Carolina Hurricanes select, from the Waterloo Black Hawks, goaltender Calvin Petersen.
The 'Canes have a dire lack of goaltending prospects—their one non-AHL netminder, Matt Mahalak, is set to re-enter the draft—so the chance to grab a highly-ranked goalie in the third round should be an enticing option.
Calvin Petersen, spotted by the CSS as the fourth-best goaltending prospect in North America, went 21-11-1 with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL. His .906 save percentage and 2.97 GAA were impressive in the scoring-heavy junior leagues.
Like all 18-year-old draftable netminders, Petersen is years from a pro contract. However, he'll immediately become the team's No. 1 goalie prospect from draft day on.
Fourth Round Trade
The Carolina Hurricanes trade the No. 156 overall selection and goaltender Justin Peters to the Winnipeg Jets for the No. 104 overall pick.
The 'Canes won't enter the draft with a fourth-round pick, but Rutherford has his sights set on a certain defenseman that he doesn't believe will last until the fifth round.
Meanwhile, Justin Peters (whose contract becomes one-way in 2013-14) has underperformed consistently in the NHL and, with Dan Ellis in re-signing negotiations, is about to become the odd man out.
Winnipeg is weak in net and could be willing to give Peters another shot as an NHL backup. They acquire the 26-year-old netminder and Carolina's sixth-rounder in exchange for their fourth-rounder.
Fourth Round, No. 104 Selection
The Carolina Hurricanes select, from the U.S. National Under-18 Development Team, defenseman Gage Ausmus.
Minnesota native defenseman Gage Ausmus rose from a virtual nobody a year ago into a intriguing middle-round choice in this summer's draft.
"It’s definitely easier to box guys out and play with a more physical presence,” Ausmus told reporter Becky Olsen last fall. "It’s easier all around being a bigger guy on the ice."
He gained 15 pounds (up to 211) this past season alone, so the 6'1" rearguard clearly has potential to be a hulking force in the back end. After registering 14 points and a plus-22 rating in 66 games for the USNDT Under-18 squad in 2012-13, he's committed to the University of North Dakota in the fall.
The 'Canes like the looks of this budding shutdown defenseman and select him in Winnipeg's fourth-round slot.
Fifth Round, No. 126 Selection
The Carolina Hurricanes select, from the Kitchener Rangers, left winger Brent Pedersen.
The Hurricanes' love affair with the OHL franchises of Plymouth and Kitchener continues with the selection of ruthless Rangers winger Brent Pedersen.
Another fast riser from the depths of the unknowns, Pedersen's offensive production improved dramatically over the course of the season—he finished with 14 goals and 30 points in 67 appearances. Most of the 6'2", 205-pound 18-year-old's NHL value, however, stems from his check and fight willingness and impressive upside as a big-league checking forward.
Pedersen is farther along than most late-round picks in his development; he could step in with AHL Charlotte in the near future.
Seventh Round Trade
The Carolina Hurricanes trade the rights to RFA Zach Boychuk to the Calgary Flames for the No. 198 overall selection.
Former first-round choice Zach Boychuk has long since worn out his welcome in the Hurricanes' organization, visiting the cities of Raleigh, Pittsburgh, Nashville and Milwaukee in between beginning and ending the 2012-13 campaign in Charlotte.
Calgary's AHL affiliate, the Abbotsford Heat, ranked 29th in the minor leagues in scoring this past season. In an attempt to get promising prospects like Mark Cundari and Dustin Sylvester a better teammate or two, Flames' GM Jay Feaster is willing to sacrifice the second of his two seventh-round choices.
Seventh Round, No. 198
The Carolina Hurricanes select, from the Linkoping HC Under-20 Team, goaltender Marcus Hogberg.
The 'Canes are usually extremely wary of overseas players, but Swedish goalie Marcus Hogberg is enough of a steal in the seventh round to be worth breaking the trend.
Hogberg posted a 2.41 GAA and .917 save percentage in 23 games for the Linkoping juniors before snatching the starting job in the playoffs. "Hogberg has shown plenty of poise and maturity during the course of this season," writes Sebastian Egerton-Read of The Hockey Writers. "He is patient in his butterfly covering the top half of the net well while flashing extremely quick pads."
The 6'4" monster goes down as the Hurricanes' second goalie prospect of the draft and perhaps the most interesting flyer-type choice of all seven rounds.