The Carolina Hurricanes are on the clock, and it is my duty to play the role of Don Waddell, Darren Yorke, and the rest of the scouting staff. This is a weaker draft and you’re likely looking at 3-4 years before your first round pick is available. There’s still talent on the board, however. After the Wild take Francesco Pinelli with the 25th overall pick, the Carolina Hurricanes elect to pick left winger Brennan Othmann.
I had to put myself in the mindset of the Hurricanes’ scouting staff for this pick. The three best players on the board, in my opinion, were Othmann, Xavier Bourgault and Zachary L’Heureux. L’Heureux has his problems and I don’t think the Hurricanes will want a player with maturity issues in their pipeline. Bourgault is a fine choice, but he lacks the upside that Othmann has.
For me, Othmann was the easy choice. The Hurricanes tend to select players that have some combination of the three S’s: Skill, Skating, Smarts (also known as Hockey Sense). Othmann possesses a lot of skill as a puck carrier and goal scorer as well as a power forward. His skating is only slightly above average but he can motor through the offensive zone and plow through defenses. His hockey sense is also above average, so he checks all three boxes that the Canes covet.
Othmann also has higher upside than most of the players available on the board, giving me another reason to select him. Othmann could be a second-line power forward capable of 25-30+ goals at the NHL level. His tenacity on the forecheck and strength on the puck make him a fit for the Hurricanes’ system as well. As a coach, Rod Brind’Amour has implemented a system where players can’t take a shift off. They have to be responsible in both ends of the ice and they have to be active on the forecheck. Othmann seems like he was built for Brind’Amour’s system.
Other teams made it tough for the Hurricanes, taking some of my favorites such as Oskar Olausson, Francesco Pinelli and Nikita Chibrikov. Othmann snuck under the radar, however, and I can’t see the Hurricanes passing on a player with that much upside and scoring talent. This is where scouts earn their money, after all. It’s easy to draft players in a deep draft, but in a weaker draft, you have to pick players that project to become NHL players. Othmann projects as an NHL player and his style of play will translate to the Hurricanes’ system.
The Colorado Avalanche are on the clock.