The Carolina Hurricanes are a roller coaster ride of a team. One year they surprise the hockey world and make it deep into the playoffs, and have even won a Stanley Cup. Then the next year they can't even make the playoffs or find themselves going home early.
Certainly the Canes would like to stabilize this trend, and settle into a team that competes year round, ever year.
The Hurricanes have unloaded some players this past season, and would look to fill the gaps through the draft.
With the first pick, seventh overall, the Carolina Hurricanes selected Jeff Skinner. Skinner was either going to go high or slip low, and the Canes decided to go with the former.
Skinner isn't a big player, but he is a good skater, and he has even better offensive potential. With 70 goals in 84 games, 20 of which were scored in 20 games in the playoffs. Skinner is a very gifted forward.
Skinner will likely remain with the Rangers next season in hopes he can develop even more, and hopefully add some size, but it seems at this point that the Hurricanes made a very smart choice taking Skinner early.
With the Canes second round pick, they selected offensive defenseman Justin Faulk from the US U-18 program.
Faulk recorded 21 goals this past season and added another 12 assists.
Faulk has a blast from the point, which means he best used in a powerplay role, but he can also lay the body out and play that physical game that allows him to play the penalty kill as well.
Faulk will attend the University of Minnesota-Duluth next season.
Carolina went back to the States for another defender from the Minnesota high school system. Alt brings more of a defensive game to the club, but he can also play up front. Alt recorded 15 points in only 22 games played.
Alt is a big body who skates well, and he can hit. Carolina could use a more intimidating presence from the back end, and Mark Alt could be that person.
Alt will lace them up for the University of Minnesota next season.
Defence was the theme of the day for Carolina as they took blue-liner Danny Biega from Harvard of the NCAA.
Biega plays a much more defensive game than the other two picked. He is a decent size, but not huge. Biega is a quick skater, and an under-rated puck mover. A solid stay-at-home guy is what the Canes need, and that is what they get in Biega.
The next defenseman taken by the Canes was Austin Levi from the Plymouth Whalers. Levi, again, is smaller player, but he plays a grind-it-out, duke-it-out kind of game. Levi is not going to get you a lot of points, but he may bring an intimidating element to the game.
The second and last forward selected by the Canes was Justin Shugg. Shugg had very good numbers with the Windsor Spitfires. With 79 points, including 39 goals in 67 games, it seems like he could be a good offensive player in the NHL.
However, his stats should be taken with a grain of salt as he was on a very good Spits team that won two consecutive Memorial Cups. His stats may be his skill, but they could also be good because he was on an exceptional team.
With the sixth round selection the Canes selected their last defenceman of the day—Tyler Stahl of the Chilliwack Bruins. Stahl is the not an offensive player, what he brings is extra toughness. Another guy that can hit and fight, but play steady in his own end.
Carolina has added a couple players like this through the draft, so it clearly shows what direction the team wants to head in.
Finally, with the seventh selection, they selected a goalie out of Denmark. Frederik Andersen has had a very good career thus far in Denmark. He was named the league's MVP this past season, he has won the Danish Championship in both division one and two, and he has won several medals at the worlds.
Andersen could be a rare type of player that steps up from the seventh round, and finds himself making the team. Andersen will likely join the Canes' AHL affiliate next year, which will really show how good he is.
Offence: B+ Skinner is the reason the grade is as high as it is. Skinner is a great offensive talent, and could very well be a solid NHL player; however, after this the talent gets a lot thinner up front. Shugg may be a good player, but it is yet to be seen if he can put up similar numbers on a bad team.
Defence: A- The Canes picked up a lot of defensive prospects, but a lot of them play a similar style of game. One or two may eventually make the lineup but a more spread out talent base would have been preferential.
Goaltending: B+ Andersen may be a dark horse prospect, his numbers are certainly good, he has had a lot of winning experience, but it's not at an extremely high level of competition. A stint in the AHL should prove a lot.
Overall: B+ The Canes did well. They certainly picked up a lot of much-needed defensive prospects, and a couple potential offensive stars; however, a couple more players up front would have been nice.