Expect The Unexpected On Sunday

NHL top prospects Cam Fowler, Taylor Hall, Erik Gudbranson, Tyler Seguin and Brett Connolly pose before Game Four of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Jim McIsaac

Could Seth Jones or Jonathan Drouin slip to Carolina?

The Colorado Avalanche are in dire need of defense, are already loaded at the center position, but will choose the highest rated center in Sunday's draft? The Nashville Predators already have a franchise defenseman locked up for life with Shea Weber and are in desperate need of offense, but claim that they will choose the highest ranked defenseman if he falls to them at number four?

Welcome to bizarro world, the NHL Entry Draft, where anything can and will happen.

Last year the Hurricanes traded their first round pick, but the year before that they selected Ryan Murphy at number 12, someone who was slated to go in the top 10. Presumably because of his size, Murphy slipped a few places and the Canes felt like they had to choose him, since he was on top of their list at the time.

The year before that in 2010, the Canes went off the board a bit and chose Jeff Skinner at number seven, someone the ISS had ranked at 20. Skinner went on the win the Calder Trophy.

All scouts have their own opinions of players, and they do not always agree. That's what happens when you try to determine the future value of an 18-year-old. It's not a science and it's not easy.

In the year that Skinner was drafted, two defensemen, Cam Fowler and Brandon Gormley had been rated in the top 10 by everyone. Fowler was in most experts' top five. But teams started drafting forwards and both players fell out of the top tier and ended up being chosen at 12th and 13th respectively.

That is not a huge drop, but it doesn't take much for a player to fall a couple of slots because some teams are set on a certain player, no matter what happens before they pick. And that could certainly happen on Sunday because despite all the posturing, no one knows for sure how the first few teams really feel about their preferences.

Jonathan Drouin is not the biggest player in the world, could he fall a couple of slots because of his size? He would not be the first to do so. (A couple of scouts did mention that NHL physicality was a concern.)

With so many top-rated forwards to choose from, could Seth Jones drop a few places?

If Colorado does pick MacKinnon, Florida could very well take Barkov, and that leaves Tampa Bay with a key pick. With the news released yesterday that they will buy out Vinny Lecavalier, they could very well go for offense here, despite their previous need at defense.

Tampa Bay director of amateur scouting, Al Murray, has gone on record with much Valeri Nichushkin gushing, for instance saying that he had never seen anyone take over an under-18 tournament like this kid. It would not be too surprising to see them take the Russian. Also, take note that since they have been in the league, the Lightning have drafted more Russians than any other NHL team.

Drafting Trends

That would leave Drouin and Jones for Nashville, and the Preds would almost seem foolish not to go after some high end offense here.

Seth Jones could very well drop to number five, and according to the most one-sided poll in the history of polls, we all know what the Hurricanes should do if that happens.

It's going to be good come Sunday, who knows what might happen? The Hurricanes might even trade for another guy by the name of Staal. (Marc Staal is a top four defenseman and the Rangers have nothing in the first round.)

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