The lockout-shortened 2013 season is one the Carolina Hurricanes would like to soon forget, as it drew a great deal of attention to their weakest points. As this summer’s draft moves closer, the Hurricanes should be looking to shore up their defense and perhaps find a successor for Cam Ward among the deep class of prospects available.
An injury to Ward this season almost singlehandedly ended the Hurricanes’ hopes of reaching the postseason, and should have served as a reminder that the team needs to start planning for the future. While there aren’t any goaltenders in this year’s draft class that have done enough to justify being selected with the Hurricanes’ first round pick (fifth overall), there will be no shortage of options in later rounds.
Zachary Fucale of the Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) will likely be the first goaltender taken, and if he’s around for the start of the second round, Carolina should take a look. Fucale was 45-5-3 this season with a 2.35 goals-against average this season, and could be ready for things at the professional level by the time Ward hangs up his skates.
Other goaltenders that might deserve a look include Eric Comrie (Tri-City Americans, WHL), Tristan Jarry (Edmonton Oil Kings, WHL) and Calvin Peterson (Waterloo, USHL). International prospects like Juuse Saros (Finland) could prove intriguing as well.
The Hurricanes are rumored to be pursuing another contract for Dan Ellis as well, and if Ward can bounce back things should be back on track for the 2013-14 season. The thought of the Hurricanes taking a goaltender early in the draft might have seemed strange before this season, but now it makes perfect sense.