The annual SBN NHL Mock Draft has been ongoing for a couple of weeks, and today the 28th pick, the lowest the Carolina Hurricanes have picked in a decade, came up for selection. Our selection this year comes from a league the Hurricanes haven’t picked much from over the years, a talented winger who has a connection to the franchise through his father, the Whalers’ first round pick in 1991.
For the better part of a decade, Hurricanes fans have spent the months of April, May and June looking over draft lists, trying to decide which prospect the team would select in the highlight of their playoff-less summer, the NHL Draft. There is certainly a different feeling among Caniacs this year, as the feeling entering the draft isn’t “who will get us back to the postseason?”, but rather, “who will we add to keep us there?”
Picking at the end of the first round has been a rarity for the organization, especially recently; the Hurricanes have drafted inside the top 13 for eight of the last nine seasons. However, in Vancouver on June 21st, Carolina will have an opportunity to either add to their deep prospect core, or improve their NHL roster via a trade of the pick.
With that being said, we selected Sherbrooke (QMJHL) winger Samuel Poulin with Carolina’s 28th pick in the 2019 SB Nation NHL mock draft.
Samuel Poulin: Data File
- DOB: 2/25/2001
- Team: Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL)
- Left Wing | Shoots: L | 6’2”, 207 pounds
- 2018-19 Stats: 67 GP - 29G, 47A, 76 points, 46 PIM
Unlike a year ago, where Carolina could take their pick of which forward they coveted, this draft will be dictated by what other teams do in front of them. Owner Tom Dundon has been on record with his feelings of (not) drafting first round defensemen, so if he has any say in the decision making process it’s pretty obvious where the focus will be positionally.
Poulin checks many boxes both stylistically and culturally for Carolina. He is an offensively-minded forward with possession ability in the attacking zone. He’s shown leadership and work ethic qualities as he was named an alternate captain for his QMHJL team at age 17. He was selected second overall by Sherbrooke in the 2017 QMJHL Entry Draft behind only 2020 uber-prospect Alexis Lafreniere.
Lastly, a notable wrinkle is his pedigree, as his father Patrick was selected 9th overall in 1991 by none other than the Hartford Whalers, and was a veteran of over 600 NHL games.
When watching Poulin, the first thing you notice is his play within the offensive zone. His shot is NHL ready, and is a tool that will be deployed to improve an NHL power play. He is noticeable in possession, and is effective in both creating space below the circles for his linemates, and distributing when defenders play him too closely.
Size-wise, Poulin has a projectable frame which he has already started to fill. His combination of size and strength lends many to peg him as a power winger down the road, but it would be near-sided to think of him only as a hard-nosed net front presence. He certainly has the tools to be a playmaker as well.
A player of Poulin’s ability wouldn’t fall to the end of the first round if there wasn’t some room for improvement. His skating is above average, but not elite, and his transitions within the play could (and should) improve with time. However, at this point in the first round, you bet on talent, especially if a player has the work ethic to improve.
As Carolina’s roster continues to grow and evolve, it is nice to be able to draft from a best player available perspective, rather than looking to fill a specific hole with a certain prospect. If Poulin is selected, he would join a talented forward group in the Hurricanes organizational pipeline with the added luxury of being able to develop at a comfortable pace.
It’s certainly a different, and welcome, mindset for Canes fans.