Carolina Hurricanes: Who to take in the NHL Draft 1st Round?

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 10: An NHL official holds the cards during The National Hockey League Draft Lotteryat the CBC Studios on April 10, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 10: An NHL official holds the cards during The National Hockey League Draft Lotteryat the CBC Studios on April 10, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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BUFFALO, NY – MAY 30: Patrik Puistola poses for a headshot at the NHL Scouting Combine on May 30, 2019 at Harborcenter in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY – MAY 30: Patrik Puistola poses for a headshot at the NHL Scouting Combine on May 30, 2019 at Harborcenter in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Patrik Puistola – 18 – RW – Finland

Puistola was hovering around late first/early second, but he has dramatically fallen in the past week or so and I’m not sure why. Presumably, this means he will be available at 28, and I really like him, but it may be too much of a reach.

Best thing about him? You guessed it, he’s from Finland. The Hurricanes have had serious success with Finnish forwards that I don’t have to tell you about. The Finns on the Canes have had great chemistry and of course, being Finnish isn’t dispositive of this fact (Aho and Teuvo are just really good, independent of their nationality), but growing up in the same geographic region thousands of miles away in a similar system is not something to quickly dismissed.

Hockeywise, he’s been great in U18 tournaments for Finland. He plays a similar game to Aho, though on the wing (but we’ve seen Aho play on the wing a lot). He’s only 18, so he’s on the young-side, and the Hurricanes’ prospect pool is notably full, so perhaps they don’t want to have someone spend too much time down in the minors.

However, he absolutely has high end talent, so he may be fast tracked to the NHL if he does well in Charlotte. Still, he’s only 6-1, 175, certainly not Svech’s size, and will probably spend some time in the system before making the NHL.

Honestly, I would be happy with any of these guys. However, I am leaning toward Puistola or Afanasyev. The Hurricanes have had great success with European forwards, so why mess with that? Hockey wise, I think both fit in with the Hurricanes very well. After researching for this article I was pretty set on Puistola, but writing it has convinced me otherwise.

Plus, Puistola might be available in the second round now that he’s fallen off a bit. Regardless, assuming all these guys are on the board when Pick 28 rolls around, I am taking Afansyev. The combination of his size and skill, along with his Russian background with North American influence, I think he will be a perfect fit for the Hurricanes, and quickly.

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Question for CC Readers: Who should the Canes Draft at 28th?