Prospects Mailbag: Draft SZN


Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Lightning on winning the Stanley Cup and making my girlfriend happy about her home team again. She’s not the biggest hockey fan, but last night reminded her of going to games as a kid and it was neat getting to relive those memories with her. At the time I’m writing this, we’re one week away from the draft and I’m preparing to do damage control on Canes twitter if the Hurricanes don’t land Askarov in the first round. (SPOILER: it’s probably not going to happen) Canes fans have questions about the draft and I have answers!

Despite what some folks are saying, I don’t think that this draft is particularly deep. Sure, the top fifteen picks are all going to be pretty solid and the Hurricanes could luck into a possible star at 13th overall. After that, it’s anyone’s guess. Someone tweeted something saying along the lines of “I can’t believe people say that Ridly Greig will go in the first round and that it’ll be a deep draft.” It’s true. After the top 15 or so, I don’t know what the hell is going to happen in this draft. A few players come to mind as far as players that could fall out of the first round, and one of them is Noel Gunler. There’s no denying the fact that Gunler has game breaking levels of skill and can be a solid top six forward with two way upside at the NHL level. His effort is inconsistent, and if you haven’t watched Will Scouch’s video on Gunler, now would be a good time to. He highlights the pros and cons of Gunler’s game, and I could see his effort being a factor in NHL teams’ decisions to pass on him in the first round.

Hendrix Lapierre is a top fifteen-caliber prospect with some legitimate first line upside. His injury history, particularly concussions, is a concern for a lot of scouts. A team may be hesitant to take a player like Lapierre since he’s basically the hockey player version of that one Spongebob scene.

The same can be said for Justin Barron, but he’s been projected as a second round pick. Barron was projected as a top 20 pick in preseason rankings and has fallen out of the top 40 entirely. Crazy stuff. Lapierre is a talented forward, but his injuries are a legitimate concern.

It’s going to take nothing less than your first born son and a smoke offering to get Askarov at 13th overall. Seriously though. Askarov won’t be available by 13, and Canes fans need to start to come to peace with that. NHL teams don’t get the chance to draft a franchise goalie every day, and if you’re a team like…New Jersey or Ottawa, you might want to consider it. Of course it would be great if Askarov fell to the Hurricanes at 13th overall, but knowing Askarov’s potential, he won’t. The good news is that there are plenty of other great players that will be available at 13th overall and the Hurricanes will pick the best player available. Even if the Hurricanes can’t land Askarov at the draft, they’ll still be able to draft someone that will likely become the Hurricanes’ top prospect right out of the draft.

I had a great conversation with someone in the discord server I made about this exact thing the other day! Alex will be releasing an article about some of our options at 15th overall before this article is released, so I’ll be sure to plug that a bunch of times for Canes fans. My favorite player that should be available is Rodion Amirov. The dude is fantastic in the offensive zone and is getting legitimate KHL minutes at age 18. Here’s something that I’ve seen floated around as well: there aren’t many good defensemen in this draft. We know that Jamie Drysdale and Jake Sanderson are going in the top ten in this draft, but what we’re not talking about is the fact that we could see one or both of Kaiden Guhle and Braden Schneider drafted in the top fifteen. That may help the Hurricanes land a better forward such as Jack Quinn, Seth Jarvis, or someone else that we’re not expecting.

No, and there shouldn’t be. If teams are passing up NHL ready players in the top ten, then they need to take a long look at their scouting staff to see if any changes need to be made. The Hurricanes will have the opportunity to draft a player that could be NHL ready in a year or two as opposed to three or four years, however. Someone like Amirov won’t be NHL ready immediately after the draft, especially considering the fact that he needs to add about 20 pounds to his frame. You might be able to get a game or two out of a guy like Jarvis, Mercer, or someone else before sending them back to the CHL. As for NHL ready players, I believe that all of them will be taken in the top ten of the draft next week. That’s not a bad thing, though. As the Hurricanes’ roster stands right now, it’s difficult to find a spot for a prospect outside of the fourth line. Any 18 year old prospect would benefit from more minutes in a lower league rather than fourth line minutes at the NHL level.

The most 2020 thing would be the Hurricanes and Eric Tulsky trading up and giving up more value in a trade. If that happens, then I’ll know that we’re in the end times and that I need to start spending more time with my loved ones rather than writing hockey articles. Anything is possible, and if the Hurricanes really like a player in the top ten, I could see it happening. If Rossi is still available when Minnesota is picking, I’d inquire. It never hurts to try and add an NHL ready prospect and I could see the Hurricanes moving into the top ten if the deal is right. I don’t see them trading up for a pick higher than eighth or ninth, however. The deal would have to be a no-brainer for the Canes, too.

The short answer to your question is that I’ve heard next to nothing about our European prospects. That doesn’t mean much, though. All of our European prospects except for Jesper Sellgren and Dominik Bokk are not under contract with the Hurricanes and are therefore ineligible for the AHL unless they sign an AHL contract for some reason. That’s for the best, though. Those players are better off playing in their home countries while the US tries to pretend that COVID doesn’t exist.

Here’s what I know as of right now. Jesper Sellgren’s loan with Frolunda is for the full SHL season, meaning that he won’t join the Chicago Wolves until after his season is over. Dominik Bokk’s loan is until NHL training camps get underway. With the DEL not starting until November, it’s possible that he won’t play in anything other than preseason games before coming back to North America. If he doesn’t make the NHL roster, he’ll presumably head to Chicago and play for the Wolves. Unfortunately, that’s all of the information I have. It’s not much, but it should show you how high the Hurricanes are on Bokk.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The Hurricanes went after high potential last year and picked the best player available nearly every time in 2019. I loved our draft because the Hurricanes were finally in a position to draft players with high ceilings and lower floors because they could afford to let these prospects develop over a longer period of time. It wasn’t like the 2017 draft where we picked a forward with an NHL third line ceiling and a guy whose ceiling was a number six defenseman in the second round. I can definitely see the Hurricanes going with a similar strategy to the one they used in the 2019 draft next Tuesday.

They’ll pick the best player available at 13th overall, and that could very well be Amirov if Askarov finds his way into the top ten. If another surprise happens in the twelve picks before the Hurricanes pick, then we may have a better option than Amirov. That’s part of what makes the draft so much fun for me! After the first round, the Hurricanes will mostly go for high potential and upside. There will likely be a Cade Webber pick or two thrown in there, otherwise known as a “safe” pick. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Hurricanes traded down in the second round in order to obtain extra picks in the draft. Having two second round picks gives the Hurricanes some wiggle room.

I’ve admittedly slacked on my draft coverage this year due to school, so I’m not nearly as informed about this year’s draft as I was with the 2019 draft. I have read a lot about this draft, however. I’ve also talked to scouts about this draft and there’s a lot of differing opinions on many prospects in the 2020 class. One scout I’ve talked to believes in Jean-Luc Foudy’s game and thinks that there’s legitimate top six upside despite underwhelming production this year. Foudy could be one of those high upside players that the Hurricanes let develop in the AHL for as long as he needs, so I could see that happening. Kasper Simontaival is a player that I like due to his offensive skills and his two way play. For an undersized forward, I don’t find Simontaival to be as much of a liability in the as most players his size. Also, if you have the chance to pick Sam Colangelo, you absolutely have to do it. He’s playing for arguably the best USHL team in terms of developing NHL talent and he can put the puck in the net better than anyone in the USHL. The draft isn’t deep, so there’s no telling who will be available in the third round. Just pick the best player available!

Thanks everyone for your draft questions! I’m excited to see the next generation of Hurricanes prospects starting on Tuesday. If you’ve made it this far, this is your personal invitation to join the Canes fans Discord server that I made! It’s a place where we can chat and talk about the draft, canes prospects, and other hockey news that may be going on at any given time. I’ll be holding a mock draft with two people from Canes twitter tonight and we’ll be in the audio channels, so you won’t want to miss that happening in real time! If you’re interested in joining, just shoot me a DM on twitter. It’s open to everyone, so all you have to do is ask!

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