Welcome to our annual 31-in-31 Summer Series here at DobberProspects! Every day in July we will be bringing you a complete breakdown of a team’s draft, notes from their development camp, and insights into their off-season moves so far. Following this up, the August 31-in-31 Series will dive into every team’s prospect depth charts with fantasy insights and implications for the upcoming seasons. Check in often, because we plan on filling your hockey withdrawal needs all summer long!
Fresh off an improbable run to the Eastern Conference Finals, Carolina came into the draft looking to add to an already impressive prospect system with 10 picks across the two days in Vancouver. They did that and more, ending up with 12 picks, were among the most busy organizations on the trade front. It was a terrific draft overall, where the team took advantage of taking the best players available to them at their draft slots throughout all rounds of the draft.
1st round, 28th overall: Ryan Suzuki, C – Barrie (OHL)
Carolina was in enviable position sitting at 28, being able to select the best player available on their draft board. When forwards started to fall late in the first round, the Hurricanes were rewarded with a player who skill-wise probably was more of a top-15 talent. In Caronlia’s organizational depth chart the pivot slots in just behind Martin Necas in terms of ceiling, assuming Suzuki’s former junior teammate Andrei Svechnikov’s graduation from prospect status.
Suzuki is a pass-first center who’s vision is among the best in the draft. His ability to find his teammates both in the zone and on the rush is elite, and allows for plenty of high-danger chances.
He will continue to ply his trade in the OHL for the foreseeable future, and likely will be one of the leagues top scorers as soon as 2019-20. Carolina finally has the luxury of not rushing prospects due to an improving roster, and a prospect group with many players on the brink of an NHL roster spot. This bodes well for Suzuki’s long-term development, as the team can allow him whatever time needed to properly prepare himself for being a full-time NHL difference maker.
2nd round, 36th overall: Pyotr Kochetkov, G – SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)
With the draft selection that the Hurricanes acquired in the Jeff Skinner trade with Buffalo before the 2018-19, Carolina selected a candidate to become their franchise goaltender down the road. It was the first time since Alex Nedeljkovic was drafted in 2014 that the Canes had addressed the position with such a high pick.
Kochetkov was the consensus second goaltender behind Spencer Knight, and the number one rated European goaltender in this year’s draft. As a 19-year-old, Kochetkov is likely closer to the NHL then most of the prospects available which fits well with Carolina’s positional depth chart.
Nedeljkovic signed a two-year agreement this off-season that is a two-way contract for 2019-20 and a one-way contract for 2020-21. The organization will give him every opportunity to be the starter long-term, but