Earlier Cardiac Cane looked at the forwards that could be NHL-ready at the fifth overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. Today we’ll look at the defensemen that might be available at No. 5. However, not all of them may be ready for the NHL next year.
I do not believe that the Canes will take a defenseman with their first round choice – GM Jim Rutherford has said before he wants a forward that can make an impact next season. But something could happen to change his mind, like a player dropping or a defenseman impressing the Hurricanes’ brass before the draft.
These are the defensemen that could still be on the board at the fifth pick:
Seth Jones: A week ago I never would have said that Jones would still be available at the fifth pick, but with Joe Sakic saying the Colorado Avalanche will not take Jones, his chances of falling have increased. The teams in between the Avalanche and Canes could also use more offense than defense, which improves the Hurricanes’ chances of Jones being available.
The 18-year-old has the potential of being a franchise defenseman and should be able to compete for an NHL spot next season. Jones is also an excellent puck-mover, stands at 6-3 and is fine in his own zone. Although it may be a long shot that he’s still available at No. 5, the Canes should take him if he is.
Darnell Nurse: Nurse is the second-highest ranked defenseman behind Jones according to the ISS. While Jones plays a smooth offensive game, Nurse plays an intimidating defensive one that combines speed, grit and strong positioning. However, Nurse can also play the offensive side of the puck. He’s 6-5 and figures to turn
into a shut-down defenseman with a good amount of offensive skill similar to Chris Pronger.
But Nurse may not be ready for the NHL next season and depending on how badly the Canes want an immediate impact on their roster, they may decide to skip over him.
Nikita Zadorov: Another big defenseman at 6-5 is Zadorov. The Russian is similar to Nurse, in that he plays a strong defensive game using his size to stop the opponent. He already plays in the OHL, so the problems of coming over from Russia is not an issue at all.
Unlike Nurse, Zadorov is not as offensively gifted and will likely not become a number-one defenseman. He’s also known to get caught out of position, while trying to make a big hit.