The Hurricanes have had a few draft follies. In the last four drafts, only five players, David Tanabe, Tommy Westlund, Niclas Wallin, Josef Vasicek, and breakthrough rookie Shane Willis, have made the NHL.
The Hurricanes are coming off a very positive season, where they made the playoffs, and took the defending champion New Jersey Devils to six games, in a very hard-fought series, and in no small part left their own imprint on the 2001 playoffs, as one of the harder-working teams. Backed by the goaltending of Arturs ‘Archie’ Irbe, the Hurricanes have a franchise goaltender, but he’ll need help in the future, as nobody is ageless. The defense, anchored by David Tanabe and Sandis Ozolinsh, could use a bit of re-tooling, but is solid as an overall unit. The forwards, who are led by cornerstone Jeff O’Neill and nearly-ageless Ronnie Francis, look to be in good shape, as well. A solid, if unspectacular unit overall.
The Hurricanes were in need of another defensive prospect, with Nikos Tselios being their only decent D prospect, and he hasn’t scratched the surface of the NHL thus far.
With the number fifteen selection in the Draft, the ‘Canes selected Russian Defenseman Igor Knyazev.
Knyazev, a solid two-way defenseman, has the body to be a solid D-man on both sides of the puck. He has a good shot from the point, and good overall offensive instincts. Even though his statistics may not dictate that he is offensively-oriented, young defenders in Russian hockey are geared towards solid defensive play first. He was named Captain of the Russian Natio Read more»