On the eve of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, we close out our annual draft prospects preview with a few more eligible players that Carolina could look to with the 13th overall pick.
In prior draft profiles, we have highlighted Yaroslav Askarov, Kaiden Guhle, Seth Jarvis and Jake Sanderson as organizational fits, and Sarah took a look at some options with the Hurricanes’ two second-round picks. Here are a few other forwards that are likely in the pool that the Hurricanes could possibly choose from when they are on the clock tomorrow night.
Connor Zary - Center - Kamloops (WHL) - 9/25/2001 - 6-foot-0, 180 pounds
Zary is one of the oldest draft eligible players this year, with his birthday falling just 10 days after the cutoff to be eligible for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. In some teams’ eyes, this could cause the talented pivot to drift down draft boards due to less developmental opportunity. However, on sheer talent and production, Zary should be a player who is moving up boards, rather than down them.
In terms of overall skill, Zary is among the best players in the draft. He’s a player who pushes pace at all times when on the ice, constantly looking to produce offense. He’s a smart, consistent player who puts pressure on defensemen because he isn’t afraid to engage and typically makes the right play with the puck. Zary is a creative stickhandler and distributor, and seems to find himself in the high-danger areas of the ice which frequently leads to the puck finding the back of the net.
Alexander Holtz - Right Wing - Djurgarden (SHL) - 1/23/2002 - 6-foot-0, 185 pounds
Holtz would be a best-case scenario of a player falling to the Canes at 13. Although it’s unlikely the Swedish-born sniper reaches the teens, he would fit the organization well due to his propensity for scoring goals. He was productive in his first full season in the SHL, with nine goals in 35 games as an 18-year-old, featuring both at even strength and with the man advantage.
With the amount of distributors that Carolina has throughout the organization, a player that can fill up the net from all areas of the ice has long been necessary. Holtz is not a one-trick pony, but the most dangerous part to his game is his shot. He’s lethal from anywhere in the offensive zone, and can pick corners with ease. Holtz is a future top power-play producer with the distinct ability not only to score, but to find an open man when defenders look to take away his space. Unlikely that the young winger will be available to the Hurricanes when they pick, but the certain selection if he is.
Jack Quinn - Center - Ottawa (OHL) - 9/19/2001 - 5-foot-11, 175 pounds
Quinn’s evaluation has been interesting to follow over the past 18 months. Like Zary, Quinn was nearly eligible for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, but unlike the former, he needed this season to breakout with Ottawa. His jump from 12 goals in 2018-19 to 52 this season is impressive, and as Quinn continues to get stronger, he will become a more viable NHL prospect. As he got stronger, his skating improved, making him a more dangerous player all over the ice.
Whereas Holtz uses his elite shot to produce goals, Quinn is more crafty in the way that he shows up on the score sheet. He has a strong wrist shot that he can get off from all angles, but he is best in close where he can use his hands to beat defenders and goaltenders in one-on-one environments. Quinn isn’t overly physical, but he does battle and creates turnovers in the neutral zone, often turning them into immediate offensive pressure. It’s hard to see Quinn as a finished product now, given his huge jump in production in one OHL season, but its clear to see that all the tools are there for NHL viability down the line.
Anton Lundell - Center - HIFK (Liiga) - 10/3/2001 - 6-foot-1, 185 pounds
The Finnish-born Lundell has already played two full seasons for HIFK in Finland’s top league, and is likely the closest prospect on this list to being NHL ready. His 28 points in 44 games last season were impressive for a 18-year-old in one of Europe’s top professional leagues and he has been a key cog for Finland internationally for some time. He has constantly played against players above his age level, so it can be difficult to properly judge him versus his peers.
Although he isn’t the highest ceiling player in the draft, he’s likely one of the prospects with the highest floors. He is a hard-working two-way center who likely slots into a middle-six projection in the NHL due to his ability to win battles, create for his teammates and play a defensively responsible game. If his offensive game continues to blossom, we could be looking back at a steal a couple seasons from now. Lundell checks all the boxes for what you would want in an NHL player, but likely in the role of a supporting player on a good team.