After the Stanley Cup championship in 2006, trades and some questionable first-round selections (Nikos Tselios, Jeff Heerema and Igor Knyazev to name three) have all but decimated the Carolina farm system
Two consecutive playoff misses have helped the club restock a little bit, but there is still a decided lack of front-line talent in the Hurricanes’ system
Here are the Fantasy Hockey Network’s picks for the top five fantasy prospects in the Carolina Hurricanes’ system:
1. Drayson Bowman, LW
The 6’1”, 185-lb. winger has 40-goal scorer written all over him. Bowman has a hard, accurate shot and a lightning-quick release. The big winger finished 11th in WHL scoring with 82 points including 42 goals.
Bowman was overlooked by the US World Junior team, but is still on track to become a high-end scorer at the NHL level. Ideally, he is two years away from full-time duty, but he may force his way onto the club sooner.
2. Zach Boychuk, C
The Lethbridge captain is small (5’9”, 176 lbs), but he plays a very gritty game and is super-skilled.
An explosive skater, Boychuk has both an elite top gear and possibly the best two-step acceleration in junior hockey. His exceptional puck skills make him a natural quarterback on the power play.
He needs to pack on some muscle to succeed at the next level, but he has a definite future as a top six forward in the NHL.
3. Jamie McBain, D
After an impressive rookie season with the Wisconsin Badgers of the WCHA (18 points in 36 games), McBain seems right on track to become a top-four NHL defense man.
Blessed with good puck-handling abilities, the smooth-skating rearguard has the skill and size to be an effective two-way player with offensive upside. The Hurricanes will be looking for a big step forward from him this season.
4. Brandon Sutter, C
No one questions Sutter’s heart or defensive abilities—but unfortunately, intangibles don’t translate that well to the fantasy game.
A future NHL captain, Sutter still has enough offensive upside to become a top-six forward, but is more likely destined for a third-line, checking role at the NHL level. He is still a penalty-killing specialist who can contribute 50-60 points a year and the occasional key goal, so he isn't a terrible asset for any NHL team to have.
5. Chris Terry, LW
All but ignored by the other 29 NHL teams in the 2007 draft, the smallish winger exploded in 2007-08 to finish sixth in OHL scoring with 101 points (44 goals).
Selected in the top three of the OHL season-ending coaches poll in a number of categories (smartest player, hardest shot and best play maker), the 5’10” Terry is a little smaller than your prototypical NHL winger, but still projects as a top-six forward in the future.
In the next instalment of our series, we’ll look at the best fantasy prospects in the Chicago Blackhawks’ system.
Check out other articles in the series: