Carolina Hurricanes 2012 draft review

By Cory Lavalette

Daniel Altshuller - Carolina Hurricanes

Photo: Daniel Altshuller is one of two goaltenders selected by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2012. (Aaron Bell/CHL Images)

There was no bigger moment at the 2012 NHL Draft than when the host Pittsburgh Penguins dealt Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes for a package that included Carolina's eighth overall pick, emerging center Brandon Sutter, and promising defensive prospect Brian Dumoulin.

While Carolina certainly gave up a lot, a top-10 pick plus two young players who were selected in the first and second round, they were able to sign Staal to a contract extension and perhaps solidify their top six by adding one of the game's top two-way centers.

After the Staal acquisition, the rest of the draft understandably struggled to live up to the Friday night fireworks. But the Hurricanes were able to fill some holes on Saturday, adding a mix of forwards and defenseman along with much-needed goaltending depth.

Phil Di Giuseppe, LW – University of Michigan (CCHA)
2nd round, 38th overall
Height: 6'0 Weight: 197 lbs

A high school friend of 2011 first round pick Ryan Murphy, Phil Di Giuseppe was one of the older players in his first year of draft eligibility, having already played a season with the University of Michigan in 2011-12.

Choosing NCAA hockey over the CHL isn't a path often taken by Canadian-born prospects, but Di Giuseppe knew it was the right one for him.

"When I got drafted (into the OHL by Niagara in 2009) I wasn't physically or mentally mature," Di Giuseppe said. "I was a late bloomer, so I thought college would be the better place for me to grow."

It would appear Di Giuseppe made the right decision after scoring 11 goals and registering 26 points in his freshman season.

"I love it there, whether it's on ice or off ice just with my teammates," Di Giuseepe said. "It's older hockey, I think it's great hockey and that's why I went to school there and played there. I'm happy with my decision and happy to go back next year."

But his first year wasn't without its difficulties. A long goal drought tested his resolve, especially for a player that specializes in scoring.

"Last year I came in strong and started scoring right away," Di Giuseppe said. "And I think the biggest part of my game that kind of fell was my consistency, and that's what I have to work on in the summer."

If he can continue to grow as a player, he fills a big void in the Carolina prospect pool that lacks scoring punch on the wing.

"Had we been picking late in the first round, [Di Giuseppe] was right there and we would have taken him," Tony MacDonald, director of amateur scouting, said. "So we're kind of pleased with how that worked out."

Brock McGinn, LW, Guelph Storm (OHL)
2nd round, 47th overall
Height: 5'11 Weight: 174 lbs

With their other second-round pick, the Hurricanes selected McGinn, the brother of Avalanche forward Jamie McGinn and 2010 Flyers draft choice Tye McGinn, as the latest in a long line of players with NHL bloodlines.

McGinn is a hard-nosed forward who plays a lot like his coach, former Hurricanes winger Scott Walker. McGinn missed more than half of the 2011-12 season with a wrist injury, but still managed 12 goals and six assists in 33 regular season games, plus he scored a goal and added an assist in six postseason games.

McGinn was perceived as a bit of reach at number 47, and he will certainly need to add more weight to his frame.

"He's going to get bigger and add some weight," MacDonald said.

But his style of play and determination help him make up for any lack of size. He was also an alternate captain for Guelph last season.

"Scottie [Walker] really loves this kid and we like him, too," MacDonald said. "He's a very gritty, tough, hard-nosed player but he also has great hockey sense and a great feel for the game. He knows when to go in and make a big hit. He knows when to step in and try and ignite a fire under his teammates."

Daniel Altshuller, G, Oshawa Generals (OHL)
3rd round, 69th overall
Height: 6'3 Weight: 191 lbs

Carolina filled a big void in goal by selecting Altshuller with their third round pick. Altshuller served as Oshawa's number two goaltender for most of 2011-12, but seized the top job during the postseason and rallied Oshawa against Niagara after replacing starter Kevin Bailie.

"Playoffs were a great experience," Altshuller said. "I went in down 0-2 in the series to Niagara. Unfortunately we weren't able to win the series, but we were able to rally back and make it 2-2 and make it interesting."

That performance has basically assured that the Generals will look to Altshuller as their number one in 2012-13 rather than have Bailie return to Oshawa for an overage season.

"I'm more of a butterfly goalie," Altshuller said. "I kind of like to play the numbers and just cut off the angles and don't really give anything for the shooters to shoot at."

He finished last season with an 11-16-3 record with a 3.55 goals-against average and .900 save percentage.

Erik Karlsson, C, Frolunda J20 (SEL)
4th round, 99th overall
Height: 6'0 Weight: 161 lbs

With the first of three fourth-round selections the Hurricanes looked to Europe, selecting the speedy Karlsson. Like McGinn, Karlsson is an undersized forward but makes up for it with a fearless style with added high-level skating.

"I think I'm a two-way forward, good skater, and I like to work hard," Karlsson said after he was selected.

Karlsson spent the majority of 2011-12 with Frolunda's second-tier team, registering 33 points, including 14 goals in 47 games. He was also second in penalty minutes with 70.

"We've been watching him for a couple years in Sweden," MacDonald said. "He's a quick skater and he's kind of a puck hound. … He plays the game the right way and plays it well on both ends of the ice."

Karlsson came to North America for the draft and participated in Carolina's prospect conditioning camp, but will return to Frolunda for the 2012-13 season.

Trevor Carrick, D, Mississauga St. Michael's Majors (OHL)
4th round, 115th overall
Height 6'2 Weight 171 lbs

Carrick was the first of two defenseman chosen by the Hurricanes in the fourth round. Like many of Carolina's recent defensive selections, he has a big frame but can still skate. He's also another determined player who outworks opponents.

"I'm a shutdown defenseman but I can chip in offensively as well. I take care of my own end first and I like to jump up into the play too," Carrick said.

Carrick finished the season with six goals and 13 assists in 68 games with Mississauga, but he played his best at the end of the campaign when reunited with injured partner Stuart Percy, a 2011 first-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Carrick's brother, Sam, was also a 2012 draft pick of Toronto, and both are cousins of former Hurricanes draft pick Bobby Hughes.

"He brings a physical dimension to the game and is a puck-moving defenseman," MacDonald said of Carrick. "He's also a devastating player. We felt he was an under-the-radar type."

Jaccob Slavin, D, Chicago Steel (USHL)
4th round, 120th overall
Height: 6'2 Weight: 170 lbs

It will probably be a while before anyone knows what kind of potential Slavin has. The Colorado-born defenseman has played the last two seasons with the USHL's Steel and, although committed to attend Colorado College, will have to wait one more year before joining the NCAA ranks.

Both Central Scouting and International Scouting Services did not rank Slavin, but two of the Hurricanes' amateur scouts pushed hard for the team to take him.

"Burt Marshall really liked him and Bob Luccini saw him play in the USHL, and they really stepped up and felt strongly about taking him in that spot, and we're happy to have him," MacDonald said.

Slavin registered 30 points in 60 games with the Steel last season, and also participated in the USHL/NHL Top Prospects game.

"Consistency is one of his fortes," MacDonald said. "He's not an overly physical guy, but he's a very efficient defender. He's an angle-and contain guy and he handles the puck pretty well and doesn't make too many mistakes."

Brendan Woods, LW, University of Wisconsin (WCHA)
5th round, 129th overall
Height: 6'3 Weight: 200 lbs

The Hurricanes added scoring and hustle to their forward corps with earlier picks, and in Woods they get much-needed size. Woods, the son of former Washington Capitals assistant coach Bob Woods, was selected in his final year of eligibility.

Woods wasn't picked in his first two years of draft eligibility, likely due to the after-effects of suffering a broken leg and dislocated knee while playing in the USHL in 2009.

Woods is a two-way player who will crash the net. He registered five goals and five assists for Wisconsin in his freshman season with the Badgers.

Collin Olson, G, USNTDP (USHL)
6th round, 159th overall
Height: 6'4 Weight: 197 lbs

Despite taking Altshuller earlier in the day, the Hurricanes couldn't pass on Olson when he was still on the board late in the draft.

"He was a kid that we really, really liked," MacDonald said. "We feel we've got two big goaltenders in the system that we're pretty excited about. It's pretty nice to get a kid like Collin Olson in the sixth round."

Olson, who was 7-6-1 with a 2.55 goals-against average and .898 saved percentage for the U.S. Development Program team last season, is also a big goalie like Altshuller.

"I'm a bigger guy and use my size well," Olson said. "I move well for my size."

Olson is headed to Ohio State this fall where he hopes to land the number one job for the Buckeyes.

"I'll definitely compete to start," Olson said. "They have a senior there now but my mindset is to give him a good run for his money."

Brendan Collier, LW, Malden Catholic (Mass H.S.)
7th round, 189th overall
Height: 5'9 Weight 168 lbs

The Hurricanes drafted Collier with their final selection, the fourth left winger chosen by the team. Collier led his high school in scoring last season with 64 points and was second in goals with 26 in just 25 games, helping Malden Catholic to a second straight state title.

He was named as ESPN Boston's 2012 Mr. Hockey and is headed to Boston University this fall. Like Di Giuseppe and Karlsson, Collier will need to overcome his smaller stature, but like several of Carolina's 2012 picks he makes up for it with determination.