30 in 30 Carolina Hurricanes

Kevin LeBlanc

2016-07-07

Draft Breakdown

The Carolina Hurricanes were armed with nine picks at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft and in turn, had many different directions they could move in. Lets take a closer look at the nine players that joined Carolina’s prospect ranks this season.

 

Jake Bean – D – Calgary Hitmen – First Round, 13th Overall

Jake Bean

With a few coveted forward prospects taken just picks before the first of two of Carolina’s first round picks, the Canes went the best player available route. Bean becomes yet another addition to the talented, young defense that is being built in Raleigh. With Justin Faulk (24), Jaccob Slavin (22), Brett Pesce (21), Noah Hanifin (19), Haydn Fleury (19) and Roland McKeown (20) already in the system, Carolina has a wealth of talent (and assets) on the blueline moving into the future.

Bean has the potential to be the best offensive defenseman taken in this draft. As a smooth skater with terrific vision, he is at his best when breaking the puck out of his own zone and transitioning to offense. The Calgary-native thrives with the man advantage, using time and space to set up his linemates for open scoring opportunities. He has the knack to find pockets of space in high-danger areas in order to release his accurate shot.

When returning to the WHL this season, Bean will continue to get stronger and refine the defensive side of his game. He finished among the top-six highest scoring defensemen in the league last season (64 points in 68 games) and there is no reason to believe he won’t improve on that in 2016-17.

 

Julien Gauthier – F – Val-d’Or Foreurs – First Round, 21st Overall

Julien Gauthier

Carolina used their second first-round pick, acquired in the 2015 Andrej Sekera deadline deal to select Gauthier, a power forward prospect who possesses a skill set that Canes fans have been clamoring for in recent years. At 6’4” and 225 pounds, Gauthier is a physical freak of an athlete who shows above average skating ability and hands despite his size. 

In his last two seasons with Val-d’Or, Gauthier has scored 79 goals in just 122 games. Once viewed as a potential top-five pick, Gauthier’s draft stock fell over the second half of the season as he flat lined a bit from a production standpoint for a fourth place Foreurs team that crashed out of the playoffs in the first round.

He effectively uses his speed and strength to win one-on-one battles with defenders throughout the neutral and offensive zones. Gauthier will prove to be a weapon on the power play, and thrives when talented distributors are able to get him the puck in scoring areas. Given that he has an NHL-ready body and the Canes are lacking a player of his skill set, he should get a long look at camp.

 

Janne Kuokkanen – F – Kärpät – Second Round, 43rd Overall