The Carolina Hurricanes could be looking to draft Connor Zary this summer.
The Carolina Hurricanes could look to continue to build organizational depth at the center position. Connor Zary is a potential option in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
The center position for the Carolina Hurricanes has been one that was lacking in depth. The Carolina Hurricanes could look to continue to bolster this position by drafting a center in the first round for the second year in a row. The Hurricanes got a potential steal in 2019 when Ryan Suzuki fell into their lap. The same can happen with Connor Zary.
The Hurricanes did acquire Vincent Trocheck from the Florida Panthers in a trade deadline deal that also sent two of its NHL centers, Lucas Wallmark and Erik Haula, to Florida in return. The team could look to go younger at the position. Zary is a player in this draft that could be up in NHL sooner than others. Why is that?
In the last two seasons with the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL, Zary has been more than a point per game player. In the 2018-19 season, he had 24 goals and 43 assists in 63 games played. He also had 55 penalty minutes that season, a number I would like to see drop. The 2019-20 season saw Zary take another step in his game.
He saw his goal-scoring numbers take a significant jump from 24 to 38 and his assists with a lesser increase from 43 to 48. This was done in six less games than the 2018-19 season. He is an offensive asset to any team that drafts him. And the Carolina Hurricanes need more offense.
Watching Zary in his highlight reel reveals a lot about his style of play. He is strong on the puck and is an excellent stick handler that can use that to his advantage to get open. This is probably the most effective part of his game. He knows how to create space and can deke to create offense.
In terms of skating there is nothing special, but he doesn’t have to use his speed to get open or to create separation. His creativity with the puck as well as being a physical presence can get him the separation from defenders he needs. The skating is good enough for the NHL for a player of his caliber.
Zary has also spent time on the penalty kill, which is a good asset to have when you are trying to crack an NHL roster. He has shown promise as a penalty killer and has shown his ability to play defensively. He has shown his ability to score shorthanded as well
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The thing about Zary that I notice is that he does a lot of things very well, but not a lot stands out from the rest. He plays the game well and uses his hockey sense to his advantage. He seems like he is a smart player and the Hurricanes can’t go wrong with taking another player with a high hockey IQ.
Zary is a player that could go ahead of when the Hurricanes make their selection in the first round, which is currently slated at 19th overall. But this is a draft class that can see players like Zary fall a little from where they should actually be selected. He is ranked between 13 and 24 in terms of the top overall prospects in the draft.
And a draft like this does nothing but benefit the Carolina Hurricanes.
Question for CC Readers: Do you think Connor Zary would fit well on the Carolina Hurricanes?