Carolina Hurricanes add Defense and Scoring in First Round


GM Ron Francis and the Carolina Hurricanes stayed course and did not make any big moves on the first day of the draft. Ron Francis selected Jake Bean and Julien Gautier with the 13th and 21st picks respectively.

In a trade filled first round, the Carolina Hurricanes stayed quiet and stuck to the plan. Francis decided to utilize both first round picks in his arsenal to draft a defenseman and a right winger in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft.

13th Overall Pick

With the 13th pick the Hurricanes selected Jake Bean, defenseman from the Calgary Hitmen. Jake Bean is was one of the top offensive defensemen in the draft. He registered almost a point per game in the WHL last season.

Defense was not a priority in this draft for the Carolina Huricanes, who already have a crowded young blue line. It appears that Ron Francis has employed a best player available strategy for this year’s draft, which is not a bad way to operate.

Related Story: A Look Back at the Carolina Hurricanes 2015 Entry Draft

Most teams struggle to find young puck moving defensemen, which is now what the Hurricanes have a huge surplus of. This draft pick sets Francis up with the ability to move a strong prospect for scoring while also not sacrificing the future.

There have been rumosr flying around this offseason surrounding Edmonton and the New York Rangers trading to acquire a defenseman. With this new ammo, it gives Francis the ability to trade for a player like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins from Edmonton or Derek Stepan or Rick Nash from the Rangers who need to move salary.

Fans should still have faith in the process. Francis now has a ton of options and potential trade partners to be able to fill the scoring need of the team.

21st Overall Pick – From LA

The Carolina Hurricanes acquired the 21st overall pick from the Los Angeles Kings in the Andrej Sekera trade. With this pick, Ron Francis selected Julien Gauthier, right winger from Val-d’Or in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Gauthier is a very exciting pick for the Hurricanes, he is 6’4 and is a goal scoring winger. He fits the needs that Ron Francis laid out before the draft without sacrificing size. the big question remaining is whether or not he can play in the NHL this season.

Gauthier possesses lightning fast hands and great skating which makes him very dangerous to opposing teams. His size makes him hard to get off of the puck and also means he can make the NHL quicker. He also possesses great skating abilities which allows him to start rushes from the wing.

When speaking about the first round Francis said that Gauthier has the size that will allow him to contend for a position next season. It will come down to how he plays in development camp and his first NHL games.

CHL players can play up to 10 games in the NHL before the Carolina Hurricanes decided to keep him in the NHL for the entire year or send him back to Val-d’Or for the remainder of the season. The most likely scenario and the best for his development would be to keep him in QMJHL for one more season so he can continue maturing and becoming a more complete player.

Final Thoughts

Ron Francis and the Carolina Hurricanes acted conservatively in the draft, picking twice and not making any trades. That isn’t a bad thing in retrospect, the Hurricanes were able to add size and scoring and set up the rest of the offseason for success.

Francis’s moves have worked well in the past and it is important to keep faith in him and know that he has a plan to move this team over the hump. The Hurricanes have seven remaining picks in the draft, with one being in the second round and three coming in the third.

Remember that Justin Faulk, Phil DiGiuseppe, and Sebastian Aho were all drafted in the second round. Tomorrow still holds huge significance for the Canes future.

Next: Carolina Hurricanes 2016-2017 Schedule Released

The first round was an overall success. On an A+ to F scale I would rate the first round as a B+ for the Carolina Hurricanes.