The Hurricanes Need to Look For More Skill in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft

Jun 24, 2016; Buffalo, NY, USA; A general view as hockey fans arrive before the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft at the First Niagra Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 24, 2016; Buffalo, NY, USA; A general view as hockey fans arrive before the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft at the First Niagra Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports /

The Carolina Hurricanes and Ron Francis should be looking for skilled forwards in the NHL Draft’s 1st round.

With the 2016-17 season over, the Hurricanes are once again on the outside looking in for the playoffs. Part of the reason they aren’t dancing this April is goal scoring. It seems this has been the issue for the Canes for a while now, and it must be addressed in this upcoming draft.

Scouting reports of this years top draft prospects are not as impressive as previous years. A bummer for sure considering Carolina holds 10 picks in 2017. However, they have been able to position themselves in a way to have a good opportunity at landed one of the top offensive forwards in this year’s class.

Let’s take a look at some on the players the Hurricanes are targeting at their projected spot in the draft. In all likelihood they will be slotted 10th overall, so let’s assess the options.

Elias Pettersson

A steady riser up the draft rankings this season, Swede Elias Pettersson has had an exceptional year. He, along with Canucks prospect Jonathan Dahlen, led Timra in scoring in the Allsvenskan (Sweden’s 2nd Divison). He proved himself as a complete player.

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Pettersson has shown both incredible hockey sense and some nifty offensive skills this season. At the same time, he can be relentless on defense. His great play was enough to get him a contract in the Swedish Hockey League next year. The competition will be steeper, so it will be interesting if he keeps it up.

The lack of holes in his game shot Pettersson up the rankings. If there is a knock its that he is thin for his height. At 6’2, he won’t be able to play at his current 161 lbs in the NHL. Time should help solve that problem. If he is still available at 10, expect the Hurricanes to make him their pick.

Eeli Tolvanen

If Pettersson is the “safe” pick so to speak, Eeli Tolvanen is the wild card. That’s not to say he is inconsistent. Tolvanen has proven the past two seasons that he is one of the best offensive players in the United States Hockey League for the Sioux City Musketeers.

On the international level, Tolvanen has been dynamite. On what was a very underwhelming Finnish World Junior team, Tolvanen led the team with 6 points from 6 games despite being an underage player. His play has attracted the attention of colleges and he has committed to Boston College for next season.

Carolina Hurricanes
Carolina Hurricanes /

Carolina Hurricanes

Where the questions lie are with his size. He is only 5’10 and 180 lbs. He is going to need to bulk up to be successful in the NHL. Luckily, college is a good place to do this with less games.

The Hurricanes would be a fantastic fit. Ron Francis seems to love skillful Finns and has an affection for kids out of college. Check and check.

Cody Glass

The Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League have a history of producing high quality NHL players, especially of late. Ryan Johansen, Nino Niederrieter, and Seth Jones are great examples. Cody Glass hopes to be the next one on that list.

Glass is a 6’2 center who is still filling out his frame. Even though he is still a little bit away from full-time NHL duty, the signs of success are there. Glass has the ability to be a quality two way center. His best quality is his hockey sense, which helped him lead the Winterhawks with 94 points in 69 games.

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The Hurricanes have decent organizational depth at center with Nicolas Roy and Lucas Wallmark being notables. As that is the case, the selection of Glass is less likely. However, there is never a problem with drafting a solid two way center when your prospect pantry is pretty covered.