It’s pretty apparent that the Carolina Hurricanes have a deep prospect group. But just how good does their future look in the crease?
Despite being firmly entrenched in the midst of a season where expectations are as high as they’ve ever been in Caniac Nation, it’s never a bad idea to keep an eye on the future. And luckily for Canes fans, there’s much reason to.
With the prospect depth the organization has assembled, Canes management (plus a quick shoutout to Ron Francis) has laid a foundation that could rival almost any in the NHL. A sheer wealth of talented prospects, combined with current success and Tom Dundon’s desire of all-around excellence, Canes fans are set to reap the reward they rightfully deserve after many long years of suffering.
One thing the Canes have yet to address – which is a large key to sustained success – is finding a franchise goaltender. Unfortunately franchise-type goaltenders like Carey Price, Andrei Vasilevsky and Marc-Andre Fleury don’t just grow on trees, which has become dreadfully apparent to Caniacs over the years. Cam Ward was the closest thing Carolina had to being that guy – but despite his Hurricanes legacy, it’s not a mystery that he never quite reached that level.
On the Carolina Hurricanes’ current roster, you’re also unlikely to find that guy. Petr Mrazek has brilliant moments, but is plagued with inconsistency. James Reimer has had a fine career, but will be 32 in March, and has never been regarded as more than ‘solid’. For the Canes to find their franchise guy, they’ll have to turn elsewhere from their current roster.
Luckily, management has done a rather swell job of addressing the future of the goaltending position in the draft. They’ve selected a goalie in each of their past 6 draft classes, with 7 total selections in that timeframe – all of whom remain with the organization, and we’ll get to them in a bit.
Unfortunately, the Canes’ drafted-goaltender history has been rather underwhelming since the selection of Cam Ward in 2002. Between 2004 and 2014, the Hurricanes drafted 6 goalies. 5 of them – Magnus Akerlund, Mike Murphy, Matt Mahalak, Daniel Altshuller, and Collin Olson – never started a game for the team, and the 6th guy was Justin Peters, who was replacement-level at best.
That track record is worrisome, but a lot of those guys had noticeable flaws and the Canes weren’t overly known for their prospect development back then. The difference with their new group of goalie prospects is that their measurables are much better (I mean, Mike Murphy was a 5’10, 160lb goalie), and Carolina’s scouting has become much more trustworthy.
I’ll do a quick breakdown of how this article will be laid out. The next 3 slides will be a detailed look into the prospects I consider to be the top-3, and I’ll follow that with a slide checking in on the outlook and potential future of the other 4 guys. Without further ado, let’s gaze into the future.