‘Canes Draft in Review

By pbadmin

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 National Junior team in the year 2000, and despite the responsibility, Igor responded quite well. At the Under-18 championships, Igor scored five points (1g, 4a), and had 24 PIM, with a +16 rating throughout the tournament. There are almost no knocks on Igor for his overall play, although sometimes he may take a silly overreaction penalty.

This is a good pick, although it seemed that Rutherford and Co. were drafting more for a need than for the ‘Best Player Available’. The ‘Canes will no doubt be in need of some help on the blueline in four or five seasons, and that also makes him a very good pick.

Tale of the tape
Name: Igor Knyazev
Birthdate: January 27, 1983
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 196
Position: Defense
Central Scouting: Number 7 European Skater
Hometown: Elektrostal, USSR

00-01 Spartak 42 6 3 9 64

In round two, the Hurricanes had one selection, and there were many players available. With their pick, they selected 1999 Re-entry Michael Zigomanis, who played for the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL. He is a skilled overall player who is not at NHL-level yet. He needs to work on his skating a bit in the minors before he can be effective player in the NHL. He’s a very talented scorer, but needs to work on those two aforementioned aspects of his game, which are holding him back.

He played well this season, but his skating problems, and lack of size appeared to be more and more evident. The ‘Canes have a lot of smaller skill-players, such as Sami Kapanen, Byron Ritchie and Brett Lysak, so where does Zigomanis fit in? One large positive about drafting him is that he’s two years older than most of the other players you could get here, so he will be able to go straight into the minor leagues, or, if he’s lucky, the big club.

Tale of the tape
Name: Michael Zigomanis
Birthdate: January 17, 1981
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 190
Position: Centre
Originally Drafted by Buffalo, Round 2 #64 Overall in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft.
Hometown: North York (Toronto), Ontario

Year Team GP G A P PIM
00-01 Kingston 52 40 37 77 44
Canada(Jr.) 7 2 2 4 0

In the third round, the Hurricanes took BCJHL scoring ace Kevin Estrada.

Estrada, the 138th ranked North American skater, is going to be attending Michigan State University next season. He led the BCJHL (British Columbia Junior Hockey League) in scoring with 118 points, and had 84 assists. He’s a very good set-up man, but he’s still developing, and could be a lot more, if he sees fit to become that.

The ‘Canes probably could have gotten him lower than at 91. He’s a good player, with a good head on his shoulders, and will only get better. He was smart to go to college instead of going straight to the NHL. Someone to look out for in the future.

Tale of the tape
Name: Kevin Estrada
Birthdate: May 28, 1982
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 185
Position: Left Wing
Central Scouting: Number 138 North American Skater
Hometown: Surrey, British Columbia

Year Team GP G A P PIM
00-01 Chilliwack 59 34 84 118 65

In the fourth round, the Hurricanes had many options, they could shore up their goaltending situation, add another defenseman, or possibly gamble on troubled Guelph Storm winger Colt King. The selected former Atlanta Thrashers draftee Rob Zepp.

J.M. Pelletier may not turn out as the goaltender of the future for the ‘Canes, so taking the Zepp was probably the right choice.

Continuing in the selection of Plymouth Whalers, Zepp was made a ‘Cane, and with good reason. He had a very good season with the Whalers, and was one of the final cuts on the Canadian National Junior Team. He’s got very good composure in the net, and is very technically sound. He can step right in, and provide relief on the farm, and even, possibly take over from Tyler Moss as the team’s full-time back-up goaltender.

Tale of the tape
Name: Rob Zepp
Birthdate: September 7, 1981
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 181
Position: Goaltender
Originally Drafted by Atlanta, Round 4, #99 Overall, in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft.
Hometown: Scarborough, Ontario

Year Team GP W L T GAA SV%
00-01 Plymouth 55 34 18 3 2.26 .916

In a puzzling selection, Rutherford and Company selected another goaltender, this time going to the Goaltender Factory of the QMJHL, this time stopping by the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, and goaltender Daniel Boisclair.

Boisclair is a good overall goaltender, with no glaring weaknesses in his game, he is decent at clearing the puck, has a good glove-hand, and loves to play in the big games.

The need to select another goaltender after taking Zepp in the fourth is unclear, but he provides good depth to the organization and wasn’t a reach.

Tale of the tape
Name: Daniel Boisclair
Birthdate: November 2, 1982
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 180
Position: Goaltender
Central Scouting: Number 6 North American Goaltender
Hometown: Sept-Iles, Quebec

Year Team GP W L T GAA SV%
00-01 Cape Breton 47 16 23 2 3.98 .877

In round seven, there is even more risk with players. The Canes took Sean Curry. Curry, in his first season with the WHL’s Tri-City Americans, racked up seventeen points (5g, 12a) in 72 games.

You can never have too many big bodies on your blueline, and at 6’4″, 230, Sean Curry definitely fits that mold. He’s big and strong, and plays a decent positional game on the back-line. He was only in his rookie season this year in Tri-City, so expect more offensive production next season.

Tale of the tape
Name: Sean Curry
Birthdate: April 29, 1982
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 230
Position: Defense
Central Scouting: Number 76 North American Skater
Hometown: Burnsville, Minnesota

Year Team GP G A P PIM
00-01 Tri-City 72 5 12 17 113

In the eighth round, may have the Hurricanes pulled off one of the biggest steals of the Draft, landing a guy who was ranked 31st overall by Central Scouting’s Final Ranking, and fell all the way to the eighth round. The Hurricanes drafted Ottawa ’67’s Defenseman Carter Trevisani with pick #244.

Trevisani is a very good skater, and is a good checker to get back, albeit not very physical. He’s an offensive-minded defenseman who has a very good point shot, and works dilligently at improving his own game.

Tale of the tape
Name: Carter Trevisani
Birthdate: June 15, 1982
Height: 6’1
Weight: 185
Position: Defense
Central Scouting: Number 31 Ranked North American Skater
Hometown: Carlisle, Ontario

Year Team GP G A P PIM
00-01 Ottawa 35 9 10 19 22

The final selection of the Carolina Hurricanes took place in round nine. The ‘Canes selected a former Toronto Maple Leafs second-rounder, in Defenseman Peter Reynolds. Reynolds, who scored 29 points last season for the OHL’s North-Bay Centennials. He failed to come to terms with Toronto, but didn’t improve all that much in his two seasons after originally being drafted. His offensive stats didn’t improve any, but he became more solid defensively, and refined that area of his game.

Someone who was a second-rounder only two years before had to be doing something right. He’s not particularly offensively gifted, but plays a sound defensive game. He will probably be more of a stay-at-home blueliner in his pro game, but has a bit of offensive skill, which could shine through. He’s a very hard worker.

Tale of the tape
Name: Peter Reynolds
Birthdate: April 27, 1981
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 195
Position: Defense
Originally Drafted by Toronto, Round 2, #60 Overall in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft.

Year Team GP G A P PIM
00-01 N.Bay 58 2 27 29 85
St. John’s 2 0 0 0 0

Note: The ‘Canes 5th Rounder was traded to Colorado, for Left Winger Chris Dingman. Colorado used the pick to select Defenseman Mikko Viitanen from Ahmat in Finland.

Best pick: Rob Zepp
Worst pick: Daniel Boisclair (didn’t make sense)
Reach: Kevin Estrada
Steal: Carter Trevisani
Player with highest ceiling: Igor Knyazev
Project: Kevin Estrada
Overall Grade for the Draft: B+

All the needs of this franchise for the future were satisfied. A number of defensemen were taken, all of which appear to be pro caliber, two goaltenders, one who can step in on the farm right away and provide help, the other, provides hope for the future. Also a little fireball named Kevin Estrada, who might be a very important player in the future for the Hurricanes.