Revisiting the Carolina Hurricanes 2010 Draft Class

RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 31: Carolina Hurricanes Left Wing Jeff Skinner (53) during the 2nd period of the Carolina Hurricanes game versus the New York Rangers on March 31, 2018, at PNC Arena (Photo by Jaylynn Nash/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 31: Carolina Hurricanes Left Wing Jeff Skinner (53) during the 2nd period of the Carolina Hurricanes game versus the New York Rangers on March 31, 2018, at PNC Arena (Photo by Jaylynn Nash/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Round 3, pick 85 – D Austin Levi

With their 4th consecutive pick, the Carolina Hurricanes opted to select a right-shot defenseman, which also gave them 4 D in the top 85 picks of the draft. The 85th overall pick they used to draft Austin Levi was acquired via Vancouver, in March 2010 for defenseman Andrew Alberts.

With 4 consecutive right-shot D selected, Hurricanes fans were understandably frustrated with the pick. Levi, a 6’4 225lb US-born defenseman, was playing with the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers when the Hurricanes selected him. His draft year, he scored 12 points and added 116 penalty minutes, on a team with another former Hurricanes defenseman, Michal Jordan.

Levi played another 3 seasons in Plymouth, and despite showing progression with his defensive abilities, never really developed into a capable pro player. He lacked speed and acceleration, and he was frequently blasted by fans and media for his lackadaisical decision making and selfish penalties. After turning pro, Levi languished in the ECHL for most of the 3 years in his entry-level contract, only managing to suit up in 25 games for the Charlotte Checkers.

LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 26: Austin Levi reacts after being drafted in the third round by the Carolina Hurricanes during day two of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft at Staples Center on June 26, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 26: Austin Levi reacts after being drafted in the third round by the Carolina Hurricanes during day two of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft at Staples Center on June 26, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

By the time his entry-level deal expired, the Hurricanes had seen enough, and decided not to qualify Levi as a restricted free agent. He did not play hockey anywhere the year after the Hurricanes let him go, and then signed on with the University of PEI in Canada, where he’s played the last 3 years.

Now 27 years old and vanished from pro hockey since the conclusion of the 2014-15 season, without ever cracking the AHL on a permanent basis, Levi’s chances of ever being an NHLer are long behind him. Despite having nice size that the Hurricanes coveted, Levi unfortunately never progressed well enough and has gone down as a bust.

It’s easy to see why the Hurricanes struggled for years after their run in 2009, when consistently whiffing with prime draft picks. The trio of Levi, Alt and Biega, all selected in the top 3 rounds, were extremely underwhelming with just 10 combined games played for the Carolina Hurricanes. Luckily the selection of Faulk was phenomenal, which saved this run of 4 straight right-handed defensemen.

Pick Grade: F