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2020 NHL Draft Day 2: Carolina Hurricanes Draft Updates and Live Discussion

Whether they decide to pick or deal, it’s going to be a busy day for the Canes. We’ll be reporting and discussing it here, join us!

2020 NHL Draft - Round One Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

In case you missed it, last night the Carolina Hurricanes selected center Seth Jarvis of the Portland Winterhawks with the 13th pick in the 2020 NHL draft.

Here’s what Jarvis had to say about what Canes fans can expect from him: “The level of commitment and energy I’m going to bring to this organization. I think that’s something you can do without skill and just bringing good positive energy and being committed.” He also said that to give his mind a break on draft day, he went to the gym to clear his head. That should resonate well with his head coach.

In 2019 the Canes entered Day 2 of the draft with nine picks and ended the day with 11 picks and an additional first rounder courtesy of the trade for Patrick Marleau. Today they have eight picks including two in the second round and a nice pick in the third.

Last night’s virtual format felt a little slower-paced than normal and that may be more noticeable today especially with the number of picks to go through in six rounds.

Today, instead of posting each draft selection in a separate article, we’ll share updates inside this article with each selection, so check and refresh often for all the details. If “we have a trade to announce” for an NHL player, it will be published in a separate article, and we’ll have a separate wrap-up with all available interviews once the draft wraps up.

Carolina Hurricanes 2020 NHL Draft Picks

Round 1, No. 13 (from Toronto)
Hurricanes Select: Seth Jarvis, C, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)

Yesterday’s News Today:

And from the man himself

Round 2, No. 41 (from NY Rangers)
Hurricanes Select: Noel Gunler, RW, Luleå HF (SHL)

A Happy Birthday for the 6’2”, 176 pound right winger, who turns 19 years old today.

Interview Link

Generally expected to go at the end of the first round or early in the second, Gunler excels on skating and finding open pockets of space on the ice. He collected 13 points in 45 games in the SHL last season as a 17-year old; the year before, he recorded 46 points (27 goals, 19 assists) on his U20 team. He has a powerful, accurate release on his shot and can score at will from anywhere on the ice. Playing — and sticking — in the SHL as a teenager is no easy feat; the only other draft-eligible players who played more than 25 SHL games were Alexander Holtz and Lucas Raymond, who both went in the first round. His play can be inconsistent at times, and he may disappear on some shifts, but that’s a skill that can be improved on over time. - Sarah Avampato

Round 2, No. 53
Hurricanes Select: Vasiliy Ponomarev, C, Shawinigan (QMJHL)

Pomomarev was described by our SB Nation colleagues at Habs Eyes on the Prize, as “much better than his numbers suggest.” “He’s not great at any one thing, but he’s good at just about everything.”

Ponomarev is a good two-way forward, and that already raises him above more one-dimensional prospects. There’s nothing overly impressive about his 49 points from 57 games a season ago, and teams aren’t going to trip over each other to acquire his goal-scoring. Many of his 18 goals came from simply jumping into a vacated spot of ice while the play was on the opposite side and sending a cross-ice feed into an open net, but that does point to his good awareness of what is going on around him.

Round 3, No. 69
Hurricanes Select: Alexander Nikishin, D, Spartak Moscow (MHL)

The Canes continue to load up on Russian players, a strange statement to make for a team that once avoided them at all costs. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Nikishin comes from the MHL, the second-tier league to the KHL, and is described by Elite Prospects as a skilled puck mover who is unafraid to shoot and uses his size to his advantage.

3:45 p.m.: We have news! Today is also qualifying offer day for restricted free agents, and the Canes have extended offers to eight of their 10 restricted free agents. This is a procedural step, and allows the Canes to retain RFA matching rights on the players qualified. Any non-tendered players become unrestricted free agents.

Most players who receive qualifying offers are eligible to file for salary arbitration, and indeed all eight of the players tendered today by the Hurricanes are arbitration-eligible.

  • Qualified: Warren Foegele, Haydn Fleury, Steven Lorentz, Clark Bishop, Spencer Smallman, Oliwer Kaski, Roland McKeown, Gustav Forsling
  • Not qualified: Callum Booth, Jacob Pritchard

Round 4, No. 115
Hurricanes Select: Zion Nybeck, LW, HV71 (Sweden)

So the Canes now count among their prospects a Duke fan (Seth Jarvis, who told us last night that he “grew up” watching the Devils) and a guy named Zion. Looks like the scouting staff wants courtside seats at Cameron to next year’s Duke/Carolina game.

This isn’t Zion Williamson, though. In fact, he’s much closer to 5’4” Nathan Gerbe than to the 7’ redwoods that typically roam the court in Durham. But don’t let Nybeck’s small stature — he’s officially listed at 5-foot-8 — fool you. He’s already set records in Sweden’s SuperElit league, gathering the most assists and points by an under-18 player ever. In the 2019-20 season, he recorded 66 points (27 goals, 39 assists) in 42 games in the SuperElit, as well as getting 15 games in the SHL for HV71. Nybeck is described as a hard worker who has been able to deal with the physical play that comes with playing against larger, older players.

The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler described Nybeck as “deceptively strong”, showing that he’s already learned to compensate for his smaller stature. He uses his agility and speed to evade opposing players in order to get better positioning on the ice. He’s got an endless motor and will keep moving his feet until he finds or creates the right opportunity for himself. Nybeck had been projected to go far earlier in the draft, but concerns over his size and slower development than other top-end prospects led to him slipping down in the draft. - Sarah Avampato

Round 5, No. 140 (from Montreal)
Hurricanes Trade to L.A. Kings for Pick No. 159 and 2021 7th Round Pick

Round 6, No. 159 (from LA Kings)
Hurricanes Select: Lucas Mercuri, C, Salisbury (Massachusetts prep)

Before you ask: yes, it’s pronounced like the planet.

Mercuri was the top center on the Salisbury team that captured the New England prep championship, the final championship awarded in the United States in 2020 before the pandemic shutdown according to The Hockey News. Mercuri is playing with the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL this season, and has committed to the University of Massachusetts for next season after flipping his commitment from Vermont.

Mercuri spent the 2019-20 season going between prep school hockey, 18U squads, and finally a quick stint with the Des Moines Buccaneers, where he’s slated to begin the 2020-21 season. He’s described as a power forward and already is known for finishing his checks and not being shy about going up against opposing players. Mercuri has shown a good awareness of what’s happening on the ice in order to jump into plays or to get the puck to a teammate who’s open for a scoring chance. He was inconsistent in the few USHL games he played, but with time to get comfortable playing the next level up, he should be more of an impact player this coming season. Like many young players, his skating could stand to be improved. He is already aware that this is a weaknes of his and seems willing to put in the work to improve in this area. He is committed to the University of Massachusetts, expected to start there in the 2021-22 season. - Sarah Avampato

Round 7, No. 199 (from Toronto)
Hurricanes Select: Alexander Pashin, RW, Tolpar Ufa (MHL)

The Hurricanes scoop up another player who slipped down the draft, largely because of his small stature. Pashin is listed at 5-foot-7 and was largely expected to go in the first three or four rounds. He is primarily a playmaker, collecting 22 assists (and 39 overall points) in 37 MHL games in the 2019-20 season. Pashin is a high-risk, high-reward pick, as his offensive instincts are excellent, especially when paired with his passing, puck handling, and skating, but he may struggle with physical play and overall consistency from shift to shift. As a smaller player, he needs to improve his strength and physicality, as well as working on improving his defensive awareness. Spending a seventh-round pick on someone who could have such a high upside, if his game rounds out and matures, could turn out to be a steal for the Hurricanes. - Sarah Avampato

Round 7, No. 208
Hurricanes Select: Ronan Seeley, D, Everett Silvertips (WHL)

Seeley is one of the younger players in this draft and has been a late bloomer at the WHL level. As he adapted to the WHL, his performance exploded, going from nine points in 2018-19 to 32 points in the shortened 2019-20 season. He played a far bigger role for the Silvertips this past season and didn’t waste the opportunity to get himself noticed. Seeley eats up a lot of minutes for the Silvertips, including on the penalty kill, and is generally solid in the defensive zone. His skating is elite, with excellent acceleration going both forwards and backwards. Because of this, he’s easily able to jump up into plays where needed, but can still get back to defend if his team loses possession. Seeley is working on gaining strength and improving his shot, both of which are areas he’s been criticized for by scouts. He was initially projected to go in the third round. - Sarah Avampato