NHL Draft: Carolina Hurricanes Have No Need For D

By Nick Marek
We are just a few days away from the 50th annual NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh. Some teams like the Edmonton Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets continue to rebuild their franchise through the draft while others hope they are just one draft away from getting back in the playoff mix. This is exactly where the Carolina Hurricanes stand.
The Hurricanes have the eighth overall pick this weekend and rumor has it they are thinking about drafting an offensive player in the defensive-heavy pool. This is the first time in a few years that the draft is favoring teams that need some defensive help. The Canes have no interest in adding more blue-line depth after drafting defenseman Ryan Murphy with the 12th overall pick last year and resigning 24-year-old Jamie McBain to a two-year contract. Add NHL All-Rookie team selection Justin Faulk and his 20 year old dominance to the list and you have a core of superstars in the making. Also remember defensemen Tim Gleason and Joni Pitkanen are both under 30 years of age and will be 100% healthy by the start of camp.
Head Coach Kirk Muller said he wants to see if Ryan Murphy has improved enough to win a roster spot out of training camp in the fall like Faulk almost did last season. Murphy could be the third 19-year-old (Faulk and Jeff Skinner) in the past two seasons to make an impact in Raleigh. He accumulated 37 goals and 96 assists in his 112 games for the OHL Kitchener Rangers since 2010. He is a big reason why the Hurricanes scouting staff may focus more on drafting a winger with the team’s first round pick.
The forward who would fit best in Carolina is left winger Teuvo Teravainen (Tay-vo Terra-vine-en) from Helsinki, Finland. The Finish forward scored ten goals and eight assists for the Finland Under-18 team in just nine games. The forward was the tournament’s leading scorer in the U-18 Five Nations Cup with six goals and two assists and he also won the rookie-of-the-year for Jokerit after recording 11 goals and seven assists in 40 games, finishing with an even better playoff performance. Some notable Jokerit alumni are Teeme Selanne, Valtteri Filppula, Tuomo Ruutu, Tim Thomas, Kari Lehtonen and Brian Campbell.
Teravainen is considered a high-risk, high-reward player because he is a bit of a reach for the team with the eighth overall pick, but has plenty of upside and a skill set that fits the needs of the Hurricanes. He is an excellent skater with a quick first step, an impeccable passer, and is a magician with and without the puck. Given that he is the best forward available at this draft position, this should be a no-brainer for the Hurricanes organization.
Another reason to like Teravainen is that he would join Pitkanen, Ruutu and Jussi Jokinen as another Finish player in a Hurricanes jersey. That should make TT (might as well give him a nickname now, right?) more comfortable should Carolina draft him and Caniacs would agree that the Finland Boys are some of the fan favorites. The Hockey Writers have compared Teravainen to Pavel Datsyuk and he is the youngest player (9/11/1994) in there top-30 prospects list.
Ready for this one? Canes’ director of amateur scouting Tony MacDonald is comparing Teravainen’s skill set to Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane. If that’s the case, the Hurricanes may have struck gold in the 2012 Entry Level Draft with other teams ahead of them focusing on defense.
The only factor preventing Teravainen from being a top-3 pick is that he only stands 5’11 tall and weighs 170 pounds. Still, he brings an offensive dimension that is too sweet for the Hurricanes to pass.

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