The Hurricanes selected 12 players in the 2019 draft. How have their seasons gone, and what could their futures hold?
Before you start reading, this article is part 2 of a 3-part saga, and a continuation of this article that I released two days ago. If you’ve yet to read that one, I recommend you do before continuing
Today we’ll look at Carolina’s picks 5 through 8 in the 2019 draft, which include 3 defenseman and a very-high upside forward who’s been overlooked. As always, enjoy, and feel free to discuss with me on Twitter @FutureCanes.
D Anttoni Honka (3rd round, 83rd overall)
One of the most electrifying and scout-dividing players in the 2019 draft, Anttoni Honka is also one of my favourite Canes prospects to track. A 5’9, 170lb right-shot defender with insanely good offensive instincts and skating ability is what i’m here for.
I mean, this kid is just fantastic. His skill set is as dynamic as any prospect in the organization. Super quick acceleration combined with his lateral movement and great edges make Honka a tough player to defend. He’s a great puck mover (stretch pass SZN), great hands and very poised. Very confident player.
Honka does take a lot of risks, which is what scouts have questioned him for. He can be turnover prone at times, and he’s not an overly large player (he’s really quite tiny) so defending bigger people can be problematic for him at times. If paired with someone steady and defensively responsible, Honka can be a real difference maker if he’s playing his game freely.
A testament of his skill, Honka (who is just 19 years old) is leading his team, JYP, in scoring amongst defensemen with 3 goals and 16 points in 36 games. He plays alongside his 24-year old brother Julius, who’s a former Dallas Stars first round draft choice.
Honka, who’s early October birthday had him just a few weeks away from being a 2018 draft pick, is quite far along in his development at this stage. He’s signed over in Finland for two more years after this one, so he’ll likely finish off his contract there before coming overseas.
Depending how his development keeps tracking, Honka’s skill set will likely find him a route to the Hurricanes roster eventually. His dynamic offensive skill gives him PP1 quarterbacking ability, and with some added bulk and a stable defensive partner could be a very key player for Carolina someday.
Estimated NHL arrival: 3 years