Feb 7, 2014; Raleigh, NC, USA; Florida Panthers goalie Tim Thomas (34) makes a 1st period save on a shot by the Carolina Hurricanes forward Elias Lindholm (16) at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
The Carolina Hurricanes had a big decision to make on June 30, 2013. Coming off a very underwhelming season, they were in possession the 5th pick in the Entry Draft.
They were a lot of rumors swirling that they would trade the pick, but instead they chose Swedish center Elias Lindholm with the 5th pick. Players like Sean Monahan, Darnell Nurse, and Valeri Nichushkin were all still available.
Sean Monahan was taken by the Calgary Flames one pick later, Darnell Nurse was taken by the Edmonton Oilers with the 7th pick, and Valeri Nichushkin was taken by the Dallas Stars with the 10th pick.
Starting with Darnell Nurse, I think Elias Lindholm was the right choice over him. Nurse was ranked the second best defenseman in the draft behind Seth Jones, but I don’t think he should have been a top-5 pick in that highly talented draft class.
Sean Monahan has 19 goals and 12 assists (31 points) in 67 games this season for an abysmal Calgary Flames team. He will likely turn out to be a 20 goal scorer and that is really good for a 19-year-old center.
Looking back, I think I would have picked Sean Monahan over Elias Lindholm. At the time, I also felt that way. Sean Monahan’s two-way game was never in doubt, it was all about whether his offense would translate to the NHL, and I always thought it would. Through nearly one season, it looks like his offense has translated to the NHL.
Sean Monahan is a big centerman who is very responsible defensively. He would be a very valuable member for the Carolina Hurricanes this year and beyond if he was selected by the Canes.
Valeri Nichushkin is a Russian winger who brought a lot of off-ice questions. People did not know if he was actually committed to the NHL, or if the Russian winger was just going to chase the money and go to the KHL.
Over the past year, Nichushkin has made it very obvious that he wants to stay in the NHL. He has never hinted that he wants to go the KHL at any point, but I don’t blame the Carolina Hurricanes for not taking the risk on him.
He has 14 goals and 18 assists (32 points) in 71 games and he is an incredible +18 with the Dallas Stars. In hindsight, yes I would probably draft Nichushkin over Lindholm, but I’m not sure if I would have at the time.
Looking back, the Carolina Hurricanes had many, potentially better, options than Elias Lindholm, but they opted to go with the young Swedish playmaker.
If you knew the outcome of this season for the Carolina Hurricanes and how all the players from the draft would perform this season all the way back in June, what would you have done with the 5th pick in the Draft? Tell us in the poll below!