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The Carolina Hurricanes entered the draft on Friday with 11 picks, most in the league. The Hurricanes began with the 7th overall pick. With Cam Fowler and Brandon Gormley falling farther than most expected, I was sure one of them would be drafted with the 7th pick, but instead the Hurricanes went after another forward named Jeff Skinner. Skinner was a figure skater til the age of 13, but then turned completely to hockey. Last season while playing for the Kitchener Rangers Skinner scored 70 goals and had 20 more during the playoffs. If there is any down fall to Skinner it is his height and skating ability. However, he was ranked the number ten prospect in the NHL. Skinner will have every chance of making the roster in the fall, but in all likely hood is at least a year away.
On day two of the draft the Hurricanes were really active as they added two former 1st round picks in Bobby Sanguinetti and Riley Nash. In total they added 10 more players including a couple that could play in Carolina next season. Bobby Sanguinetti was a high scoring defenseman when playing with Bramton of the OHL and he also saw his first NHL experience this year with the New York Rangers. ”He can skate, he can handle the puck and is a puck mover,” said Rutherford. “He’ll be given an opportunity to make our team.” Sanguinetti has a good shot to make the team out of training camp next season as the Hurricanes are on the rebuilding track. However, he is on a two-way contract next season so if he needs more time to grow he can be sent to Charlotte. “I really believe in Ron Francis and Glen Wesley and Jeff Daniels and all the people that are involved in developing these players,” said Rutherford. “The guys coming from other organizations really give us a good chance to mold these guys into NHL players.”
The other major addition via trade was Riley Nash. Nash was a 1st round pick of the Edmonton Oilers in 2007, 21st overall. He just completed his third season with Cornell scoring 12 goals and totallying 102 point in 102 games in his career. “Ronnie (Francis) had talked about Nash earlier in the year when he saw him play,” said Rutherford. “I had talked to Edmonton about moving him but they didn’t want to until today, so this is something we’re excited about. It gives us some more depth at center.” “He’s a very good center with creativity,” said MacDonald. “He’s got very good skill and he can make things happen. This guy is a talented, creative kid with tools and a guy that can make plays for his wingers. We’re pretty excited to get him.” The organization would really like for Nash to turn pro this season and go against more stiff competition. Ultimatly the decision is up to Nash, but I believe it would be best if he signed a pro contract.
The Hurricanes also selected or aquired seven other players during the draft. With the Hurricanes other second round picks the Hurricanes selected Justin Faulk, U.S. National Team Development Program, and Mark Alt, a Minnesota High School player. When moving to third round the Hurricanes had two picks that were spent on Danny Biega, freshman at Harvard University and Austin Levi, Plymouth Whalers. The Hurricanes waited til the next round to select another forward in Justin Shugg, Windsor Spitfires. The Final three picks were rounded out with kids that could have a potiential to surprise and one day make an NHL roster.
With the picks and trades made during the draft I believe the Hurricanes have set them-selves up well for the future, but next year will be just as important, because baring a miracle the Hurricanes will be a team near the bottom and have more top draft choices and a chance to continue to set the team up for the future.