One thing about NHL Entry Drafts, they can be unpredictable, and this year's SB Nation NHL Mock Draft was no exception. After all my previous talk about wanting to draft a defenseman, the bottom line is that when push comes to shove it is just too difficult to turn down a player who you think is absolutely the best still standing, regardless of position.
That was the case for us when we saw Ryan Strome's name still off the board when it came to the Hurricanes turn at number 12.
First of all, let's see how the draft went up to this point, and review a couple of the names that were still available. Keep in mind, each team's blog manager made the final call on these picks.
- Edmonton - Adam Larsson D
- Colorado - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins C
- Florida - Gabriel Landeskog W
- New Jersey - Sean Couturier C
- New York Islanders - Dougie Hamilton D
- Ottawa - Jonathan Huberdeau C
- Winnipeg - Nathan Beaulieu D
- Columbus - Sven Bartschi W
- Boston - Ryan Murphy D
- Minnesota - Mika Zibanejad C
- Colorado - Jamie Oleksiak D
- Carolina - Ryan Strome C
Duncan Siemens and Mark McNeill were both still off the board as well and it almost hurt not to select one of them, but Strome could be the creative offensive playmaker that Carolina fans have craved for.
The center is listed at 6'0, 183 . His stat line last season for Niagara of the OHL was GP65 G33 A73 P106 PIM82.
He can play a physical game and is not shy of the high traffic areas. The ISS says that he wins puck battles and then makes great passes. He's got great vision. While he's received fanfare for his goal-scoring ability, his playmaking ability is even better.
Some other highlights and quotes:
He ranked third in the OHL in scoring and was the top scoring forward with a 1.63 points per game average. He was voted Most Improved Player and Best Playmaker in the 2011 OHL Eastern Conference Coaches Poll.
NHL Central Scouting's Chris Edwards
"He skates very well and has very good speed. He's a creative playmaker who sees the ice very well. He goes to the net and battles in front. He is able to get to rebounds and loose pucks in front. He has good hands and has scored some goals off tip-ins in front."
Niagara GM and head coach Marty Williamson
"Ryan is one of those guys that initiates contact and makes a great play. He plays in those traffic areas and he wins battles and then he makes great passes. He's got great vision . . . He's confident, he feels good on the ice, and when you have skill and a lot of confidence, good things happen."
Another scout said that "Strome makes plays that will bring fans out of their seats."
The forward placed in the top 10 in almost every scout service ranking. Will he still be available when the Hurricanes make their pick in Minnesota next week?