Carolina Hurricanes 2021 NHL Draft Recapby Liz Pendergraft September 8, 2021 1 comment
The Carolina Hurricanes made waves taking a total of 13 picks in the draft. They traded back five times throughout the draft, and it became clear that the Hurricanes were focusing on quantity as the draft went on. But, of course, the question that crossed the minds of fans was about the quality of those picks.
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Scott Morrow, D, Shattuck St. Mary’s 18U Prep-USHS Prep (Round 2, Pick 40)
Aleksi Heimosalmi, D, Ässät U20 “A”-U20 SM-sarja (Round 2, Pick 44)
Ville Koivunen, RW, Kärpät U20-U20 SM-sarja (Round 2, Pick 51)
Patrik Hamrla, G, SK Kadan-Czech 2 (Round 3, Pick 83)
Aidan Hreschuk, D, USNTDP Juniors-USHL (Round 3, Pick 94)
Jackson Blake, RW, Eden Prairie High-USHS-MN (Round 4, Pick 109)
Robert Orr, RW, Halifax Mooseheads-QMJHL (Round 5, Pick 136)
Justin Robidas, C, Val-d’Or Foreurs “A”-QMJHL (Round 5, Pick 147)
Bryce Montgomery, D, London Knights-OHL (Round 6, Pick 170)
Nikita Quapp, G, Krefelder EV 1981 U23-Germany3 (Round 6, Pick 187)
Yegor Naumov, G, MHK Krylia Sovetov Moskva-MHL (Round 7, Pick 200)
Nikita Guslistov, C, Almaz Cherepovets-MHL (Round 7, Pick 209)
Joel Nystrom, D, Färjestad BK-SHL (Round 7, Pick 219)
The Hurricanes traded defenseman Jake Bean for the 44th overall pick. They traded picks number 27, 59, 91, and 123 to end up with the additional picks and a 2022 third-round pick. Apparently, Carolina felt comfortable with where they were as a team in order to take on such a high quantity of picks. Some might make the ice for the Hurricanes, or they might become bargaining chips a few years down the line. It’s hard to fault the general manager Don Waddell for thinking of the future and hoarding picks. Along with others in the front office, he is making a bet on quantity and quality being even for this draft class.
Best Pick: Aidan Hreschuk
Hreschuk’s a decent skater and has the ability to create offense. Despite being a smaller player, he is a competent and aggressive player when it’s been necessary. He has a decently accurate wrist shot which makes him valuable and unpredictable to opposing teams. He’s able to play in all situations evenly and doesn’t take unnecessary risks with the puck.
Worst Pick: Bryce Montgomery
No one can dispute the fact that his size is a great attribute for the NHL. Unfortunately, there’s not much else to go on with this pick. Due to the pandemic, he didn’t play any games this past season. Montgomery’s not known for having great skating ability or the aptitude for puck handling. There’s going to be a lot of patience and time needed for Montgomery to make it onto the ice for the Hurricanes.
Sleeper Pick: Ville Koivunen
Koivunen’s talent was considered to be worthy of the first round. However, he still has a long way to go to get there. His skating needs to improve, but he has great playmaking ability. The Hurricanes were wise to take him, but they will need to help him work on his size and encourage his creativity. If he can make improvements, he could be a potential top-six winger for Carolina.
It was an interesting approach the Hurricanes took for this draft. However, it will take a few years to see if the acquisition of these 13 picks was a good approach. In the meantime, Carolina has the time to allow the players to develop. Though they didn’t add an elite-level prospect, the upside of these players in the future is a gamble the Hurricanes were willing to take.
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