The Carolina Hurricanes had a solid draft class.
The Carolina Hurricanes look to start the 2020 season strong with another successful draft class. Let’s take a quick look at the eight players taken.
After a first-round loss to the Boston Bruins in the unique 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Carolina Hurricanes organization knew that although they didn’t need to make drastic changes to the team, the draft would provide the perfect opportunity to fill depth weaknesses notable in the playoffs.
Even several months before the draft, General Manager Don Waddell was focused on the specifics of the Canes’ draft strategy. “Offense. I think you’re always looking for more offense . . . we think we’ve got lots of good young D coming, so if we can find that offensive player it certainly would be something that’s a need for the organization.”
The key to a successful draft is filling gaps with talented players, and that is why the Hurricanes have earned an A+ grade on another successful draft. Let’s take a look at some of the standouts of the draft, and how they may play into the organization’s immediate future.
Seth Jarvis is an 18-year-old center from Winnipeg, Canada. Although he was good with the Portland Winterhawks in the 2018 season with 39 points in 61 games, he truly excelled in the 2019 season with unbelievable numbers of 98 points in 58 games (42 goals and 56 assists). He is a complete forward that is able to both capitalize on and create plays with assists.
The Carolina Hurricanes’ Director of Player Personnel Darren Yorke had this to say about Jarvis: “Seth’s hockey sense is elite . . . he works as hard away from the puck as he does with it. For a ‘shorter’ player, he’s able to get to the net, defend the puck, and put taller, bigger defensemen on his back. That comes down to his hockey sense.”
If the Canes had one glowing weakness during the playoffs it was a serious lack of depth scoring. When Andrei Schecknivov was forced to exit the Bruins series early with an injury, the rest of the team struggled to put points on the board. The team’s reliance on the SAT line was glaring once the line was unable to perform.
A quick player like Jarvis who knows how to create and capitalize on chances would be an excellent fit on a line with Necas and Niederreiter for example, and the success of one player on a line will elevate the other players as well.
Noel Gunler was a great second pick for the Canes at number 41, in part because predictions had him gone well before the Canes were up for their second pick. I like Gunler’s confidence, who said “I’m a guy who can shoot the puck and score goals. … What I bring on a daily basis is a threat in the offensive zone with my shot and playmaking abilities.”
Gunler, 19, is a native of Lulea, Sweden. Gunler scored 13 points in 45 games with Luela HF during the 2019 season. CBS Sports predicts that “Gunler will give Carolina top-six production from the flank”. I’m excited to see where Gunler’s starting season will take him.
Yorke said the words any fan would want to hear about a draft pick: “He has the dual-threat of making plays and being a goal scorer.” This is music to my ears and will no doubt prove to make Gunler a valuable asset for the team.
The Canes also drafted center Vasiliy Ponomarev, defenseman Alexander Nikishin, left-wing Zion Nybeck, center Lucas Mercuri, right-wing Alexander Pashin, and defenseman Ronan Seeley. Although the focus was clearly on the offense, there is no hurt in padding an already deep defensive core.
The Hurricanes’ draft picks were also praised by draft experts, showcasing that Waddell is boosting the organization with young talent that will see years with the organization. Scott Wheeler and Corey Pronman of The Athletic both praised the Canes for snagging Noel Gunler, who they felt should have gone earlier.
I think that Carolina added some important depth for the organization with this year’s draft class, and I feel that this year may be the time for Carolina to get some of these players on the ice. I would love to see 2019 pick Ryan Suzuki step on the ice with some of these picks. A young line could be the beginning of some deadly scoring combinations for the team.
There is nothing like a well-executed draft to excite fans for the season, and it has certainly worked for me this year. I look forward to seeing how the Hurricanes tackle some of the postseason’s deficiencies with these excellent draft choices.