RALEIGH NC - JANUARY 29: Marc Staal #18 of the New York Rangers looks on during the Honda NHL SuperSkills competition part of 2011 NHL All-Star Weekend at the RBC Center on January 29 2011 in Raleigh North Carolina. Staal was selected 12th overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
What kind of player can the Carolina Hurricanes expect to draft with the 12th overall selection in the NHL Entry Draft? If past results indicate anything, they can expect to pick up a very fine player.
And oddly enough, over the past 10 years the best players selected at number 12 have been defensemen. Let's take a closer look:
2010 - Cam Fowler
|2010 - Cam Fowler||76||10||30||40||-25||20||6||0||3||123|
Some draft projections had Fowler going as high as number three, and they all had him in the top 10. But somehow, he slipped to number 12 and no one in Anaheim is complaining.
2009 - Calvin De Haan
Injuries have slowed the defenseman down a bit, but when you can generate a point a game from the blueline in juniors, there's always hope for you at the next level. The Islanders are still high on this kid.
2008 - Tyler Myers
|2010 - Tyler Myers||80||10||27||37||0||40||3||0||5||122|
This 12th overall pick had an immediate impact in Buffalo as he contributed 48 points and was +13 in his rookie campaign. He went on to win the Calder.
2007 - Ryan McDonagh
|2010 - Ryan McDonagh||40||1||8||9||16||14||0||0||1||27|
2006 - Bryan Little
|2010 - Bryan Little||76||18||30||48||11||33||2||2||1||158|
Leave it to Atlanta to break the streak of defensemen, but Little has been a productive player for the Thrashers over the years.
2005 - Marc Staal
|2010 - Marc Staal||77||7||22||29||8||50||4||2||2||116|
Many in Carolina wish this player had been the third pick in the draft that year and not number twelve, but hindsight is 20/20.
2004 - AJ Thelan
He is a defenseman, but here is one 12th overall pick that never panned out as expected. Originally a big time prospect at Michigan State, he's bounced around a lot and has even played a couple of seasons for the Florida Everblades. The Minnesota Wild made the selection.
2003 - Hugh Jessiman
|2010 - Hugh Jessiman||2||0||0||0||-1||5||0||0||0||2|
The New York Rangers have the distinction of making what's been called the worst pick in the one of the most talent laden first rounds in NHL Draft history, the 2003 draft. The winger finally played a couple of games in the NHL last season for Florida. Perhaps the Rangers should have chosen a defenseman instead? (NOTE: Checkers fans should recognize him, he played a couple of partial seasons in Charlotte).
2002 - Steve Eminger
|2010 - Steve Eminger||65||2||4||6||-5||22||0||0||1||23|
This defenseman was originally drafted by the Capitals. He's not a superstar, but has played the blueline in the NHL since the 2002-03 season.
2001 - Dan Hamhuis
|2010 - Dan Hamhuis||64||6||17||23||29||34||2||0||1||109|
After spending all of his career in Nashville, the solid defenseman was a highly sought after free agent last summer. He eventually signed a six year deal with Vancouver which will average $4.5 million per year.
In eight of the last ten drafts, defensemen were selected at number 12 and most of them have proven to be very good choices. The Hurricanes certainly don't need to be shy if a highly touted blueliner falls in their lap, and there are several who look good this year.
As always, it will be an interesting draft.