Of all the teams picking in the top ten, Carolina has the least amount of pressure on them. They could potentially retool and move guys like Ward, Eric, and Jordan in order to get younger, or they could stay the course, add a few players to the mix, and push for a playoff spot. There have been rumours circulating around potentially shipping off Jeff Skinner, but at such a young age, and only one year removed from a 33 goal campaign, I think that would be a mistake. Other rumours around the Canes have them looking at both Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel from Toronto. Could we potentially see a move where Skinner and another piece are sent on their way to Toronto for those two? Possibly. Speaking with Canes fans, I get the sense they would prefer to keep the core intact and add a few pieces without giving up anything significant. One thing GM Ron Francis has going for him is the value of the fifth overall pick this season. One of Hanifin, Marner, or Strome WILL be available in that spot, There are a ton of teams who would be willing to jump up to that spot and grab one of those three guys. That being said, adding a player of, say, Hanifin’s caliber may make a huge difference in Cane Country down the road. He’s a stud, and though I’ve been promoting Ivan Provorov all season, Hanifin is the guy you go with 100%. If for some strange reason Hanifin and Marner are gone by the time the fifth selection comes along, trading down in the draft isn’t a horrible option. Perhaps New Jersey is willing to add a 2nd along with their 6th overall to jump up one spot. In the end, I’m betting the Canes walk away with one of Provorov, Hanifin, or Werenski. Throughout the remainder of the draft, Francis has to look at adding depth up front, especially on the right side. Don’t be surprised if Nikita Korostelev is a Carolina Hurricane by the end of the week. It’ll be interesting to see what may come of the 5th pick but I’m sure whatever it is, Hurricane fans will be excited.
Draft Day Gameplan
– Be open to moving the pick. If you can get additional pieces as well as a top 10 pick, it may be worth it.
– If Noah Hanifin is there, he’s the guy. Some people have soured on him but he’s going to be an excellent NHL’er.
– Heard rumours about Semin plus the 5th overall being moved for a later pick, but whatever you do don’t fall out of the top 8 or 9 picks.
– Add depth at the forward position. At 35 and 66 if be looking at BPA of course, but more specifically Fischer or Senyshyn at 35 and Jens Looke or Spacek at 66.
Canes Big Board (Without McEichel)
1. Noah Hanifin
2. Mitchell Marner
3. Ivan Provorov
4. Dylan Strome
5. Zach Werenski
6. Mikko Rantanen
7. Lawson Crouse
8. Pavel Zacha
9. Timo Meier
10. Mathew Barzal
Who do they take?
If, and that’s a big if, they pick at 5 they go with Noah Hanifin. Considering they could move down, they still leave with a defenceman IMO.
We’re in the top 5 now, so dark horses aren’t much of a factor really. If I look at guys who have an outside chance, I’d say one of Mikko Rantanen or Lawson Crouse could be options.