(Note: Since this article was written, David Tanabe has announced that he will forgo his final three years of NCAA eligibility, and may be joining Kootenay of the WHL next season)
Eight of the Carolina Hurricanes prospects have chosen to remain in college. Four centers, three left wingers, and one defenseman are hitting the books and the ice this year. Here is an overview of future Canes who are going to school.
1. Erik Cole. A third round pick in 1998, this sophomore left winger was Clarkson’s leading scorer. A dominating player, whose physical play makes him excellent along the boards. Erik led the nation in 98-99 with six shorthanded goals. At 6’0″ and 185 pounds, he scored 21 goals and 18 assists during the regular season. His junior year holds a legitimate shot at the Hobey Baker Award.
2. David Tanabe. Carolina’s first round pick in 1999, this Wisconsin freshman was named to the WCHA All-rookie Team. He was the Badgers third leading scorer with 10 goals and 12 assists. An excellent skater and passer, the 6’1″, 195 pound Tanabe could have a bright future filling in Carolina’s need for offensive defensemen.
3. Ryan Murphy. A fourth round pick by the Hurricanes in the 1999 draft netted them Bowling Green’s third leading scorer. Murphy had 9 goals and 22 assists for the Falcons. Five of his goals came on the powerplay. This left wing is 6’1″ and 185 pounds, and could develop into a real scoring threat for the Canes.
4. David Evans. Another freshman picked by Carolina in the 1999 draft, this eighth rounder won Clarkson’s Most Improved Player Award. The freshman center scored 3 goals and 9 assists during the regular season and all of the Golden Knights’ goals in the NCAA tourney, one of them on a penalty shot. At 6’3″ and 200 pounds, he could become a dominating player in the near future. (Also listen to a Real Audio Interview with David Evans, which was done a few months back)
5. Mark Kosick. The Canes eighth round pick in the 1998 draft, this sophomore was Michigan’s fourth leading scorer with 9 goals and 17 assists. A center for the Wolverines, Kosick is 5’11″ and 187 pounds.
6. Don Smith. Another center from Clarkson, Smith had five powerplay goals this year. The Golden Knights sophomore was selected in the seventh round of the 1998 draft. He has excellent vision and scored 8 goals and 12 assists. At 6’3″ and 189 pounds, he could add some real punch to the Canes powerplay.
7. Brad Defauw. At 6’3″ and 210 pounds, this junior scored 11 goals and 12 assists for North Dakota. He made good use of his tallies, scoring four game winning goals and four powerplay goals for the Sioux. he is a left wing who was selected in 1997.
8. Andrew Merrick. Another Wolverine picked by the Canes, this center is one of the top penalty killers. He scored 1 goal and 3 assists along with 51 penalty minutes for Michigan, this, his junior year. Picked in the 1997 seventh round, he is 5’11″ and 202 pounds.
It will be interesting to see these players mature at the collegiate level and possibly move into the Canes system.