Mock drafts are always fun, and even if you don’t get a single player right, they’re still a lot of fun to build. I have three separate mock drafts that I’m going to go into detail. Two are from Draft Prospects Hockey’s draft simulator and the other is from FC Hockey’s mock draft builder. Obviously, there will be differences in the rankings and how the computer simulates the drafts, which is what makes it fun. Let’s talk about the FC Hockey one first. After, we’ll do a Draft Prospects Hockey mock with a minor trade and then finish with what I feel like the ideal draft for the Hurricanes could be.
Mock Draft One
60th Overall - Danny Zhilkin
I like Zhilkin a lot and he seems like a solid fit for the Hurricanes. He’s definitely more of an offensive driving player and could help the Hurricanes down the line. If Zhilkin does fall this far in the draft, he’s a player I’d keep an eye on.
71st Overall - Adam Sykora
Sykora has skyrocketed up some draft boards in recent months because of his intriguing package of speed and hockey sense. He was excellent for Slovakia at both the World Championships and the U18s, too. I feel like this is another fantastic value selection for the Hurricanes, who are able to nab a winger with top-six upside in the early third.
124th Overall - Topi Ronni
It wouldn’t be a Hurricanes draft without at least one Finn taken. Ronni is a tall playmaker with some middle six upside. Another player that fell, surprisingly. I don’t know if Ronni will ever be more than a third line center, but in the late stages of the fourth round, that’s perfect value.
156th Overall - Ben Hemmerling
Hemmerling is a sleeper pick for this year’s draft. He’s a quick and incredibly smart playmaker with a ton of upside. He was buried on a deep Everett team this past year but should get a chance to shine next season. Hemmerling could make the Hurricanes look even smarter in a few years.
171st Overall - Niklas Kokko
It’s smart to take at least one goalie in every draft, just in case the ones you have don’t pan out. Kokko is a big goalie that should see more Liiga games within the next year or so. As he develops, he could turn into a legitimate NHL prospect. Right now, he’s still pretty raw.
188th Overall - Dans Locmelis
Locmelis seems like a jack of all trades, master of none type of player. I think of someone like Spencer Smallman for the Wolves when I’ve watched Locmelis this season because there isn’t one area that screams “elite,” but there isn’t an area of his game that looks outright bad. The Hurricanes can afford to take a chance and see which areas of Locmelis’ game end up developing more than others.
205th Overall - Nicholas Moldenhauer
Moldenhauer is a great two way forward that will absolutely get selected higher than 205th overall during the actual draft. I love his overall game and I feel that you’re getting an absolute steal at this point in the draft. I don’t see high end offensive upside, but I do see a player that projects as an NHL third line forward.
220th Overall - Zachary Bookman
Bookman is a double overage defenseman playing in the AJHL, so it wouldn’t shock me if teams decide to pass up on him this year. However, Bookman’s offensive skill set and overall compete and hockey sense make him an intriguing selection.
Mock Draft Two
60th Overall - Julian Lutz
Lutz didn’t play a lot this year, and while he has shown flashes of really solid play, a lot of people are questioning his upside. He may be a true boom or bust prospect, but if there is any team that could get the most out of Lutz, it’s the Hurricanes. He could be that physical top six forward that the Hurricanes have needed and could fit seamlessly into most NHL systems in a few years.
71st Overall - Adam Sykora
I don’t have much more to say about Sykora than I already have. I really like the player.
124th Overall - Devin Kaplan
Kaplan falling this far would be another shock, but he’d be a great pickup for the Hurricanes. He’s an NHL player, and once he improves his finishing, he could be a legitimate power forward and scoring threat on the ice.
156th Overall - Josh Filmon
Filmon struggled with consistency in my viewings, but he’s a big forward that has some tremendous offensive skills. He’ll need to fill out in order to be truly effective, though.
171st Overall - Theo Wallberg
Wallberg is a massive defenseman with some third pairing upside.
TRADE: The Hurricanes and Canadiens swap picks, with the Hurricanes trading picks 188 and 220 for picks 194 and 216. I moved back because I knew that I could draft the player I liked at 194 and move up a few spots later on in the draft.
194th Overall - Marcus Nguyen
Screaming this one out into the universe. Nguyen can play. He’s a true pain and combines elite skating with strong hockey sense and puck skills. Once he gets more of an opportunity with Portland, there’ll be no stopping him.
205th Overall - Aidan Castle
Taking a flyer on an OHL player that had solid production on a horrendous team this year.
216th Overall - Colin Kessler
The Hurricanes love to take at least one prep school kid in every draft. Kessler was undoubtedly the best player on his team and so it wouldn’t surprise me if the Hurricanes take a shot on him here.
Mock Draft Three
This one was probably my ideal outcome for the Hurricanes. Let’s dive into it before I give my full take.
60th Overall - Elias Salomonsson
Salomonsson is another solid two way defender to add to the pipeline. With this pick, the Hurricanes will have a ton of excellent defensive prospects in the pipeline. It never hurts to stock up, after all.
71st Overall - Gleb Trikozov
Trikozov is a fantastic offensive forward whose effort level has been a question mark at times this year. He’s dynamic enough to be a top six forward at the NHL level but he doesn’t always give the most sterling effort imaginable. He’ll fall into the third round, which is where the Hurricanes pounce. Russian players will plummet in this draft, so it’s possible that the Hurricanes could have him as an option later, but based on upside, he’s undoubtedly the right selection.
124th Overall - Devin Kaplan
Again, I would love if this happened for the Hurricanes. You grab a top four defenseman with your first pick and then two potential steals with your next two picks. The Hurricanes would be rushing to make sure that Kaplan is their selection at this point in the draft.
156th Overall - Tucker Robertson
Robertson was invited to the Prospects Showcase this past fall and is in his second year of draft eligibility. He’s a feisty player with a lot of excellent offensive skills and a great shot. I see him almost as a Jamieson Rees type of player, but likely peaking as a third line forward instead of a possible second line forward. At this point in the draft, it’s a fantastic selection that could help the Hurricanes down the line.
171st Overall - Alexander Pelevin
I wasn’t thrilled with Pelevin’s game when I did a profile on him, but at this point in the draft, I feel that he’s a good pick. His skill set easily projects to the NHL and you’re looking for players like that in the late rounds of the draft.
188th Overall - Jan Spunar
I wasn’t sure who to go with here. I felt that the Hurricanes needed a goalie, and Spunar actually made a lot of sense. He’s a big goalie and the third ranked European goalie by NHL Central Scouting. His international play wasn’t fantastic, but the Hurricanes would have the opportunity to let him develop for as long as possible.
205th Overall - Marcus Nguyen
Nguyen would be a fantastic pick. He has legitimate skill and could be a 50-point NHL player if he reaches his peak. A lot has to happen in order for that to become a reality, but Nguyen is a hard enough worker where I believe that he’ll experience success at the next level.
220th Overall - Cedrick Guindon
Picked another player that fell here. Guindon can do a bit of everything in the offensive zone and while he may not be elite in any area, he’s a well-rounded player.
All in all, this would be close to an ideal draft for the Hurricanes. I love Corey Pronman’s mock draft for the Hurricanes, but I can’t see some of the players falling as far as he has them falling. Getting Lane Hutson, Vladimir Grudinin, Gleb Trikozov and Ben Hemmerling with their first fourth picks would be incredible value, but I don’t see Hutson or Grudinin falling that far. Of course, now that I’ve put these picks out into the universe, we won’t see the Hurricanes select any of these players. I hope you’ve enjoyed this, and I’ll see you later on in the week for an analysis on our needs heading into the draft.