Headed into the 2008 off-season, there were two distinct trends in the Hurricanes' draft history under GM Jim Rutherford: they preferred not to draft defensemen or European forwards in the early rounds. For the most part, the Hurricanes elected to use their picks on forwards playing in North American leagues. The 2008 draft class was a very talented crop, but most of the better prospects were defensemen.
The Hurricanes were arguably the NHL’s busiest team the past six months, adding Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin to their top six while committing more than $150 million in guaranteed money to both their new acquisitions and their core players.
The focus is clearly on winning — and winning now. Carolina traded one of their top prospects in defenseman Brian Dumoulin to Pittsburgh to land Staal, and the one-year deal for Semin shows that Carolina’s braintrust is willing to take a risk.
One could argue that since the Hartford Whalers became the Carolina Hurricanes, the franchise has never had the true number one defenseman most teams covet. Even the 2006 Stanley Cup-winning team was a mash-up of role players.
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