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Draft Preview: Carolina Hurricanes – Open net options

Canes bound to seek out alternatives when it comes to crease personnel.

In each ofthe past four drafts, the Hurricanes have picked at least one player from Finland. The trend began in 2015 with second-rounder Sebastian Aho, so it’s not surprising they’ve gone back to the well. In 2016, they tabbed Janne Kuokkanen in the second round, and he has already seen some NHL action while putting in two solid AHL campaigns. In 2017, Eetu Luostarinen was the Canes’ second-rounder, and he finished second in scoring on KalPa back home. Right winger Lenni Killinen was a fourth-rounder in 2018.

IMMEDIATE NEEDS: Goaltending has been an issue for years. Petr Mrazek eventually settled in as the starter, while Curtis McElhinney proved to be a lifesaver when Mrazek battled inconsistency and injuries. The Hurricanes don’t have any NHL commitments for the position next season – beyond Scott Darling, who was relegated to spot duty in the AHL – so their options are open. But they likely can’t depend on help from the system just yet.

LONG-TERM NEEDS: The Canes have plenty of long-term options in net, so they can concentrate on other areas. A big center who can eventually replace Jordan Staal is the highest priority.

CAP SITUATION: With $26 million in wiggle room next season, Carolina is set up well. The team needs two goalies, as Mrazek and McElhinney are both UFAs, while captain Justin Williams is also up for a new deal. The Canes held on to pending UFA power forward Micheal Ferland at the trade deadline – can they re-sign him? His price will skyrocket from his $1.7-million stipend.

IN THE SYSTEM 2019-20: Martin Necas had a disappointing WJC, but he began to come around in the AHL with March being one of his most productive months. Blueliners Jake Bean and Haydn Fleury are both pushing up from below, though the ‘D’ group ahead of them runs extremely deep.

DID YOU KNOW: Right winger Stelio Mattheos was the first overall pick in the 2014 WHL draft. He went to Brandon after a sly trade involving Brenden Walker allowed the playoff team to swap picks with Saskatoon.

LATE-ROUND GEMS
(2000-2018 drafts)
Frederik Andersen, 187th, ’10
Jaccob Slavin, 120th, ’12
Niclas Wallin, 97th, ’00
Brett Pesce, 66th, ’13
Tyson Strachan, 137th, ’03
Ryan Bayda, 80th, ’00
Drayson Bowman, 72nd, ’07
Brett Bellemore, 162nd, ’07
Chris Terry, 132nd, ’07
Lucas Wallmark, 97th, ’14

PICKS AFTER SECOND ROUND: 98
100+ NHL GAMES: 10
PERCENT SUCCESS: 10.2%
NHL RANK: 24th

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