June 22, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; General view of the stage and draft board order as commissioner Gary Bettman announces the third overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft at CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

2013 NHL Draft: Is The Carolina Hurricanes Target Valeri Nichushkin?

The 2013 NHL Draft is just over a week away and the Carolina Hurricanes have been at the center of some rumors with their fifth overall pick.

According to a report by Elliotte Friedman, the Canes are the only team in the top five considering moving down and have had discussions with the Edmonton Oilers, who own the seventh pick.

But yesterday, Hurricanes’ beat reporter Chip Alexander shed some more light on the upcoming draft through his Twitter account:

Alexander also tweeted the Canes’ schedule for the upcoming week:

It looks like the Hurricanes know who they want to draft at the fifth pick, it’s just the matter of if that player will still be available.

Because the Canes are meeting with Nichushkin two days before any other player and also giving the whole day to his interview, it’s possible that the Russian forward is the Canes’ target in the draft.

Nichushkin fits the bill of what GM Jim Rutherford is looking for in this draft: a player that will make the NHL next season and make an impact in the top six. He could also slot in on Jordan Staal‘s line and move Jeff Skinner or Tuomo Ruutu down the lineup, giving the team more depth.

However, it’s likely that Nichushkin does not fall to fifth. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Nashville Predators, who own the third and fourth picks, respectively, have shown interest in the 18-year-old.

If the Hurricanes miss out on Nichushkin or if a different player that is their target prospect, they will most likely trade down a few spots, whether that’s with the Oilers or a different team.

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Tags: 2013 NHL Draft Carolina Hurricanes Valeri Nichushkin

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