July 32-In-32: Carolina Hurricanes

Nick Bass

2023-07-08

The Hurricanes entered the draft with the 30th overall selection after getting swept by the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference Finals. They also entered free agency with, shockingly, the fifth most cap space in the NHL.

Next season promises to be another year of being close to the promised land, winning the Stanley Cup. But as some smart people say, “You can’t win a Stanley Cup in July but you can certainly lose it.” So, can the Hurricanes finally make the big move that they had been rumored to make for the past 3 years, or will it be another year of rumors with no move?

Draft Recap

Round 1, Pick #30 – Bradly Nadeau

From the Penticton Vees of the BCHL, Bradly Nadeau is a pure shooter. We can talk about “weak league” all we want, but anybody that can score 45 goals in 54 games is a welcome addition. Add on to that 68 assists for 113 points and you got yourself a very solid prospect. Nadeau also boasts a solid defensive game and some silky hands to go along with his game, as well as being quoted to have a tremendous work ethic. A big step up in competition is coming for Nadeau as he heads off to Maine in the NCAA next year.

Round 2, Pick #62 – Felix Unger Sorum

 

Unger Sorum’s hockey IQ, combined with his incredibly low age (if he was born not even 2 days later, he would’ve had to wait until the 2024 draft) gets him selected here at 62. His passing ability is constantly on display in all facets of the ice. Carolina certainly has a type, drafting for the highest possible upside to try and find those players that can end up playing big roles in the top 6 and if Unger Sorum hits his top end potential, that’s where they can expect him.

Round 3, Pick #94 – Jayden Perron

 

Perron *somehow* falls to pick 94 and the Canes get some incredible value late in the third. Perron’s offensive game is unquestionably good, with his passing and ability with the puck on his stick being the traits that jump out immediately. There are some question marks, mainly about his size and if his game can translate to the NHL, but the upside is well worth taking the bet on.

Round 4, Pick #100 – Alexander Rykov

 

Regarded as one of the more underrated players in this draft class, Rykov has a high compete and hockey IQ that matches the Hurricanes drafting strategy. His skating is above average and has already skated in KHL games as a 17 year old, which is where he’ll play the majority of his games next year. Fun fact, Rykov has the highest ever points per game played for a U18 player in VHL history (with a minimum of 20 games).

Round 4, Pick #126 – Stanislav Yarovoi

 

A double overage player, Yarovoi has skated in 45 games for Vityaz in the KHL which is still impressive for someone under the age of 20. Scouts like his ability with the puck on his stick plus his shot has some nice touch and power, which helps him stick around in the KHL.

Round 5, Pick #139 – Charles-Alexis Legault

 

The first defenseman taken in this draft by the Canes, Legault played for the championship winning Quinnipiac Bobcats in the NCAA. Legault moves incredibly well for his size, being 6 ‘3 and 209 pounds, as well as having a well developed defensive game for his age. His offensive game is also nothing to scoff at, being a solid distributor at the blue line as well.

Round 5, Pick #158 – Ruslan Khazheyev

 

The first goaltender taken by the Canes, Khazheyev is a big lad, standing at 6’4. Khazheyev posted a .923 save percentage and a 2.38 goals against average. Only 5 playoff games for him but his numbers only improved, with a 2.34 goals against average and a .929 save percentage. Khazheyev has real potential as he fits the prototypical mold of a Russian goalie that is taking over the higher end talent in the NHL.

Round 6, Pick #163 – Timur Mukhanov

 

Mukhanov is a smaller player, but makes up for size with immense offensive upside and talent. The Hurricanes certainly have a type and Mukhanov fits that type like a glove. Scouts love his skating ability and vision, which can be seen by his 17 points in 15 games in the MHL for Omskie Yastreby. He also latched on in the VHL for the parent club, putting up 8 points in 31 games.

Round 6, Pick #190 – Michael Emerson

 

Emerson is an overager that played for the Chicago Steel in USHL, coincidentally with Jayden Perron, former Steel and Chicago Wolves head coach Brock Sheahan and Hurricanes 4th round pick in 2021, Jackson Blake. A jump in points from 7 in 2021-22 to 64 last year shows his great improvement in offensive development. Emerson also brings size, toughness and grit to the table, which is always welcome to a team.

Round 7, Pick #222 – Yegor Velmakin

 

Velmakin is another Russian goaltender who put up solid numbers in the VHL, a .937 save percentage and a 2.17 goals against average, who gets drafted to the Canes as the third to last pick. Velmakin is signed with Dinamo Minsk in the KHL for the upcoming year, so it’ll be interesting to see if he can play well enough to latch onto a spot against the tougher competition.

The Off-Season

 

Incoming

 

Dmitri Orlov, D – $7.75M x 2 years – This one took me by surprise since the Hurricanes front office doesn’t normally go for the big name free agents, especially a defenseman given how strong the Hurricanes have been defensively in recent years. Orlov is a solid puck mover and a good defensive rover, the defenseman that roams around and just takes the puck or moves the man with the puck, off the puck. The money is a little extreme but the term is the big sticking point, letting Orlov become a free agent again when the cap goes up in a more extreme sense.

Michael Bunting, LW – $4.5M x 3 years – A huge raise from his league minimum contract, the oldest rookie in the league from 2021-22 signs for the Carolina Hurricanes. Bunting has the skill to play up and down the lineup with a wide variety of players and has the necessary grit and annoyance to go with it, something the Canes haven’t had in a while. If head coach Rod Brind’amour can get him to stop taking unnecessary penalties, which hasn’t worked wonders for Andrei Svechnikov so far, Bunting will be the perfect player the Canes need.

Fantasy wise, I fully expect Jack Drury to make the opening night roster and play all 82 games (unless he is traded in a bigger deal, staying true to his trade request from midseason). One of Vasili Ponomarev or Jamieson Rees should be with the club as the fourth line center, depending on how things go in training camp. Ryan Suzuki is a sleeper pick as someone who could sneak into NHL games this year, but it all depends on if he can stay healthy and show that his game has developed. Pyotr Kochetkov will also play in NHL games this year, but is more than likely limited in how many he will actually play due to the Canes bringing back both Freddie Andersen and Antti Raanta.

Outgoing

 

Calvin de Haan, D – 775k x 1 year with TBL

Mackenzie MacEachern, LW – 775k x 2 years with STL

Max Pacioretty, LW – 4M x 1 year with WSH

Jesse Puljujarvi, LW – Not qualified

Max Lajoie, D – 775k x 1 year with TOR (two-way)

Shayne Gostisbehere, D – 4.125M x 1 year with DET

Paul Stastny, C – Unrestricted free agent

Derek Stepan, C – Unrestricted free agent

Ondrej Kase, RW – Unrestricted free agent

Dominik Bokk, LW – Not Qualified

Stelio Mattheos, C – Not Qualified

Development Camp

 

The Hurricanes have not announced a development camp yet, but I realistically think that it will happen before the midway point of July. We already know that undrafted prospects Max Namestikov and Josh Nadeau, Bradly’s brother, will be at Development Camp.

If you read all this, thank you so much. I recently took over @CanesProspects from my good friend, Matt Somma, so you can follow me there to get all updates on any Canes Prospects.Or you can follow me, @nickbutnot.

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