Two 2010 draft picks celebrate a Hurricanes goal on January 24th.
The class of 2010—the last time the 'Canes used a top-10 pick like their fifth overall choice in 2013—has already produced two solid NHL stars as well as a number of other prospects in the system.
GM Jim Rutherford used the seventh overall pick that year on a wide-smiled, 5'11" forward from Markham, Ontario.
The following day, he used the franchise's two second- and two third-round selections to draft a foursome of hard-hitting defensemen, and then the club's three late-round choices to bolster Carolina's forward and goaltending depth.
What has come of each of the Hurricanes' eight picks in the draft class of 2010? We break down their progress over the past three seasons and re-evaluate their worth as of 2013 below.
No. 7 Pick: F Jeff Skinner
Where Is He Now? Carolina Hurricanes
Jeff Skinner was considered by some to be reach at seventh overall, but he took little to prove any doubters wrong.
The 5'11", 193-pound playmaker exploded into the NHL with a headline-grabbing rookie campaign of 31 goals and 63 points. He became the youngest-ever All-Star and won the Calder Trophy as 2010-11's best rookie.
While concussions, positional uncertainties and a untimely lockout have brought Skinner's career back down to earth since, Skinner remains one of the most valuable players on Carolina's roster and a bright star for the franchise's future. Only one other 2010 draft pick (Taylor Hall, No. 1 overall) has scored more goals than Skinner so far.
Selection Grade: A
No. 37 Pick: D Justin Faulk
Where Is He Now? Carolina Hurricanes
Justin Faulk spent the season following his selection with the University of Minnesota-Duluth before joining the Charlotte Checkers for the playoffs, where he registered two points in 13 games.
The following spring, Faulk made the Hurricanes roster despite long-shot odds at the beginning of training camp and began a two-year climb to the top of Carolina's defensive depth chart.
The 6'0" rearguard scored 22 points in 66 games in 2011-12 and finished seventh in the Calder voting. He then tallied 15 points and a plus-one rating in 38 appearances in 2013, playing more than 20 minutes in 35 games and recording a career-high 31:48 in the 'Canes home finale.
Faulk is set to anchor the Hurricanes' first-pairing defense for decades to come.
Selection Grade: A+
No. 53 Pick: D Mark Alt
Where Is He Now? Adirondack Phantoms
Carolina held the No. 53 pick thanks to the deal that sent Niclas Wallin and the No. 127 choice to San Jose.
Their pick, Mark Alt, spent the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons following his selection with the University of Minnesota, accumulating 32 points and 65 PIM in 78 appearances. Prior to the start of the 2013 NHL season, Alt's rights were traded to the Philadelphia Flyers along with Brian Boucher for minor-league forward Luke Pither.
The 6'3" blueliner registered seven assists in 39 appearances for the Golden Gophers before joining the Adirondack Phantoms, Philadelphia's AHL affiliate, for seven games. Alt will begin a three-year, $2.3 million entry-level contract in 2013-14.
Selection Grade: C-
No. 67 Pick: D Danny Biega
Where Is He Now? Charlotte Checkers
Danny Biega, the Hurricanes' third-round pick, flew under the radar in college for three years before recently signing his first professional contract.
Biega spent the 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons with Harvard, accumulating 98 games played, 76 points and a whole lot of intelligence before playing four season-concluding games in Charlotte.
The 21-year-old offensive defenseman kicks off the first of three entry-level contract years this fall and is expected to take on a sizable role in the Checkers' defense.
Selection Grade: B-
No. 85 Pick: D Austin Levi
Where Is He Now? Plymouth Whalers/Charlotte Checkers
Jim Rutherford had the No. 85th pick at his disposal as a result of the Andrew Alberts-to-Vancouver exchange of March 2010.
Austin Levi was the fourth and final defenseman taken by Carolina in the second and third rounds. Levi was a member of the Plymouth Whalers, a team the 'Canes frequently scour come draft time.
Today, Levi still has yet to play a game for a team other than Plymouth. The 6'4" rearguard has played 321 games for them since spring 2009, establishing himself as a strong two-way defenseman and earning rave reviews of his playing style.
Levi will make his professional debut with Charlotte in the fall, hoping to fulfill high expectations that eventually project him as a full-time NHL blueliner.
Selection Grade: B+
No. 105 Pick: F Justin Shugg
Where Is He Now? Charlotte Checkers/Florida Everblades
The Hurricanes' fourth-round choice in 2010 spent one year with OHL Mississauga, scoring an impressive 41 goals and 87 points in 66 games before signing his entry-level deal.
Since then, however, Shugg has struggled to translate that offensive success to the professional leagues. The 5'11", 194-pound winger has bounced between AHL Charlotte and ECHL Florida over the past two years, scoring 34 points in 30 appearances for the Everblades and another 34 points in 72 appearances for the Checkers.
It seems unlikely that Shugg has the endurance and skill to ever make it in the NHL, but he's still turned out better than many typical fourth-round choices.
Selection Grade: C
No. 167 Pick: F Tyler Stahl
Where Is He Now? Victoria Royals
Despite his name's similarity to the Hurricanes' captain and alternate captain, sixth-round selection Tyler Stahl, like most late-round picks, never went anywhere in his hockey career.
Stahl's rights to Carolina expired more than a year ago, and no other NHL team has shown any interest in him since. The 6'2", 215-pound defenseman has scored only 20 points over the past four seasons with Chilliwack and Victoria of the WHL, but he has racked up a whopping 465 PIM.
Stahl's future contains little to no professional potential. However, since only two 2010 sixth-rounders (Columbus's Dalton Prout and Ottawa's Mark Stone) have played a single NHL game, Stahl's fate is far from surprising.
Selection Grade: D
No. 187 Pick: G Frederik Andersen
Where Is He Now? Norfolk Admirals
Andersen might end up being one of the best players to come out of the 2010 seventh round; unfortunately, though, his success will have little effect on Carolina.
After recording a stellar 1.67 GAA and .941 save percentage for Frolunda HC of the SEL in 2011-12, the Danish native switched agents and refused to sign an entry-level contract with the 'Canes. "We are very disappointed that he chose not to join our organization," Rutherford said at the time (h/t NHL), believing Andersen had "an opportunity here for him to earn one of our two NHL spots during training camp.”
The 250-pound goaltender proceeded to re-enter the draft and be selected 87th overall by Anaheim. He signed a two-year deal with a cap hit just under $1.8 million shortly after and went 24-18-1 with a 2.19 GAA and strong .929 save percentage with AHL Norfolk in 2012-13.
Nonetheless, the Checkers defeated the Andersen-led Admirals 3-1 at PNC Arena in Raleigh on Jan. 6, likely providing the in-house Rutherford with at least a little internal revenge.
Selection Grade: C