After the impressive run the Carolina Hurricanes made this year in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, the franchise and its fans have displayed a newfound interest for anything ice hockey related here in the triangle. This includes the annual NHL draft, which took place in Toronto. Armed with the 25th overall selection, the Hurricanes sat patiently as the big name prospects disappeared from the boards.
Coming as a bit of a surprise to most, the Hurricanes selected the starting goaltender of the WHL‘s Red Deer Rebels, Cam Ward. Ward was rock solid for the Rebels last season and earned himself a selection to the All-Star First Team of the WHL Eastern Conference. He posted a 2.26 goals against that paced the league and loggoed 30 wins, which was good enough for 2nd among WHL tenders. He also was a member of the 2001 Memorial Cup winning team, which shows that he doesn’t give in to pressure. Not a physically intimidating presence in the crease, Ward has to use quick reflexes and a highly respected glove to fend off most shots.
This is a good pick because the Hurricanes have some big-time question marks they need to address in the system at the goalie position. JM Pelletier was once dubbed the "goalie of the future" for the franchise, but he has yet to pan out like the club thought he would. Rob Zepp has shown flashes of brilliance throughout his career and is making strides in development. Tyler Moss proved himself unworthy of the backup position that was once handed to him and has since left the organization. All of this means an opening for the 18-year-old Ward.
Upon losing some of the targets that the Hurricanes had slated for the 2nd round, they chose to complete the deal of another Ward, Aaron Ward. They opted the 50th overall selection to the Detroit Red Wings and decided to keep the 2nd rounder in 2003.
With no selection until the 5th round, the Hurricanes decided that a move was in order. They re-aquired their 3rd round pick from the Philidelphia Flyers for a third and sixth round selection in 2003. They used this pick to select defenseman Jesse Lane from the Hull Olympiques of the QMJHL. After starting the season with Harvard University, Lane decided that hockey was higher on his list of priorities and decided to pursue his career on a greater platform. He went on to score 16 goals and assist on 24 others to collect 40 points in only 48 games. Which was good enough to lead all QMJHL rookie blueliners. Scouts have had mixed opinions about him, with most of the negatives pointing towards his defensive zone play. But scouts can’t argue the fact that this young man has a knack for playmaking.
Carolina then pulled off a deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning that sent a 6th, two 8th’s and a 9th in return for a 4th rounder in 2003. This left them with a 5th rounder and a 7th rounder. With these two picks, they selected goaltender Daniel Manzato and centerman Adam Taylor.
Summary of Selections
1st Round (#25 overall) G Cam Ward
3rd Round (#91 overall) D Jesse Lane
5th Round (#160 overall) G Daniel Manzato
7th Round (#224 overall) C Adam Taylor