RALEIGH, N.C. – The Carolina Hurricanes picked up a pair of former first-round draft picks and even more young defencemen during the second day of the NHL draft.
As promised, the Hurricanes added some depth on the blue line Saturday by taking two defencemen in the second round and five overall. They also traded for two former first-rounders, acquiring centre Riley Nash from Edmonton and defenceman Bobby Sanguinetti from the New York Rangers in separate deals.
“Some years, the draft falls your way, and some years it doesn’t,” general manager Jim Rutherford said. “This is a year where we kind of stayed put, we didn’t move around with our picks, and we’re real pleased with the way it fell.”
Carolina added a lengthy list of defencemen: Justin Faulk with the 37th overall selection, high school player Mark Alt at No. 53, Harvard’s Danny Biega at No. 67, Austin Levi of the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers at No. 85 and Tyler Stahl of the WHL’s Chilliwack Bruins with the 167th pick.
Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos Jr. also owns the Plymouth OHL team, and the Hurricanes have drafted five Plymouth players since 2004.
They also took OHL left winger Justin Shugg of Windsor in the fourth round with the 105th pick, and goalie Frederik Andersen of Denmark with the 187th pick, then acquired minor-league centre Jonathan Matsumoto from Philadelphia for a seventh-round pick.
This year’s draft took on added importance for Carolina, which stockpiled six additional draft picks as the March trade deadline approached, dealing veterans Matt Cullen, Niclas Wallin, Aaron Ward, Stephane Yelle and Scott Walker.
The Hurricanes began the day with 10 picks in the final six rounds and traded three of those selections.
The 46th selection went to Edmonton for the 21-year-old Nash. Taken by the Oilers in the first round in 2007, Nash was a point-a-game scorer in 102 games during three seasons at Cornell.
“I just think he has a lot of the things that are tough to teach,” said associate head coach and director of player personnel Ron Francis, whom Rutherford said had kept an eye on Nash.
Carolina also acquired Sanguinetti from the Rangers for a pair of draft picks, a sixth-rounder this year and the 2011 second-round selection they had acquired from Washington in the Joe Corvo deal. Sanguinetti, the Rangers’ first-round pick in 2006, had four penalty minutes in five games in his first season with the Rangers.
The acquisition of Sanguinetti fits perfectly with the Hurricanes’ philosophy of picking up young defencemen that other teams had drafted high—a list that includes Tim Gleason, Anton Babchuk and Joni Pitkanen—because prospects on defence take so long to develop.
“We have several first-round picks at defenceman that other teams took,” Rutherford said. “We’re kind of living off other people’s drafts and getting their development started and jumping in and us getting them at young ages.”
Matsumoto, 23, led Philadelphia’s AHL team with 30 goals and 62 points in 80 games. He was acquired for the 206th pick, which Carolina had obtained from Washington in the deadline deal for Scott Walker.
Alt, a star quarterback in high school who turned down a chance to play Big Ten football to focus on hockey, is the son of former Kansas City Chiefs tackle John Alt.
Carolina previously took high-scoring forward Jeff Skinner in the first round.