Once upon a time, Bubba read something over at HockeysFuture.com, liked what he saw and contacted the writer. And now here we are, I'm closing in on a year here at Canes Country! But on top of the things I do here, I'm still over at Hockey's Future handling the Hurricanes beat. The past week, the writers at HF.com have been holding their mock draft, and I thought it was worth sharing the results.
As anyone who follows Jim Rutherford closely knows, he prefers to not select defensemen in the first round, and with the goalie situation pretty set in the long term one can deduce the team will be looking at forwards — preferably with size — when they make the 27th overall pick. When it came time to pick, I was surprised to find a few players that will make the Canes bigger up front.
First off, I looked at Swedish winger Carl Klingberg. If was Canes GM for a day, Klingberg would probably be my choice. He's among the biggest forwards available (6-3, 205 pounds) and, according to International Scouting Services, could very well complement a skilled center (Eric Staal?). ISS also touts him as a good skater with solid hands and a willingness to go to the net. On top of that, he's rated second in ISS's "Tough As Nails" ranking, behind Peterborough's Zack Kassian. The Hockey News agrees with scouts' assessments that Klingberg plays "like a North American."
Second was U.S. Under-18 National Development Program forward Drew Shore. Shore, who is set to go to Denver University in the fall, is lighter than Klingberg (190 pounds) but has a similar frame and could add weight down the road. ISS says he's a good skater who "plays superb hockey without the puck, and is the rare offensive threat that plays well in his own zone." While the knock may be that he's not the greatest finisher, everything points to him being highly competitive and hard-working. THN pegs Shore as more of an energy forward than a top-liner, but praises his skating and forechecking. (Check out Western College Hockey's assessment of Shore).
Finally, the guy I picked (while thinking like Jim Rutherford): Guelph Storm center Peter Holland. Holland is similar in size to Shore and Klingberg (6-2, 190 pounds), but is known more for his skills than his physicality. While I believe the Hurricanes could use more of an Andrew Ladd-type forward, it'll be tough for Carolina to pass on a guy this skilled this late in Round 1. THN says some scouts see him as an analytical player (think Cory Stillman), while ISS says he's an all-situations player who is good on faceoffs and responsible in his own end with "the ability to dominate, but must show it on a nightly basis" (Eyes on the Prize has a thorough look at Holland).
While personally I prefer Klingberg, I think Rutherford & Co. would be more likely to draft an OHL player than a European or college-bound one. Regardless, I think all three have the potential to be valuable additions to the Hurricanes' prospect pool.
Also, I'll be selecting for Carolina in the SB Nation Mock Draft in the coming days. You can keep an eye on it over at From The Rink. Picks 19-21 are expected today (Rangers, Flames, Flyers) and the Hurricanes' choice will be up Wednesday. Also, keep an eye on the SB Nation NHL Draft Hub for the latest draft news around the league. The network is fortunate that it will have several of our NHL bloggers at the draft with press credentials to get the latest news from Montreal.
In the coming days, I'll have the Canes Country mock draft (separate from the SB Nation one) up, plus we're going to have a live draft night blog Friday where Bubba and I will weigh in. Personally, I'll try to provide you with my list of "Best Available Players" as each pick rolls around, plus an assessment of what the team selecting might be looking for.