Carolina Hurricanes What Could Have Been: Elite Players Selected Directly After a Canes Pick

DENVER, COLORADO - JANUARY 16: Erik Karlsson #65 of the San Jose Sharks fires a shot on goal against the Colorado Avalanche in the first period at the Pepsi Center on January 16, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO - JANUARY 16: Erik Karlsson #65 of the San Jose Sharks fires a shot on goal against the Colorado Avalanche in the first period at the Pepsi Center on January 16, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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Blake Wheeler

Somehow the least regrettable missed pick for the Carolina Hurricanes

Back in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, the Carolina Hurricanes selected Andrew Ladd with the 4th overall pick. Ladd went on to appear in just 137 games for the Hurricanes before being traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for fan-favorite Tuomo Ruutu.

Although Ladd won a Stanley Cup with the team in 2006, he really didn’t blossom into a top player until he left the franchise. The shell of a player he once was now, the former Thrashers/Jets captain in spent time in the AHL this season after signing a lucrative deal with the New York Islanders.

Right after the pick then Phoenix Coyotes drafted Blake Wheeler. Opting not to sign an entry-level deal with the Yotes, Wheeler began his NHL as a member of the Boston Bruins.

Now one of the better power forwards in the entire league, the current Jets captain has become an offensive weapon of late. Good for 20 goals a year consistently, Wheeler is mainly an assist machine for the Jets. Setting up guys like Laine, Connor, Scheifele, and Ehlers he has over 180 assist in the past three seasons alone.

A guy who some scouts were comparing Andrei Svechnikov to in his draft year, it goes without saying that he would have been a nice addition to the Hurricanes lineup. Just imagine having a one-two punch on the right side with Svech and Wheeler. The Canes would be a tougher team to play against while having multiple solid scoring options on the right side.