Hurricanes 2006 draft review

By Glen Jackson

The Carolina Hurricanes sacrificed their first round pick to St. Louis in order to land Doug Weight in their ultimately successful pursuit of the franchise’s first Stanley Cup. That left GM Jim Rutherford and his staff with more free time than usual on draft weekend despite rumors leading into the draft that the ‘Canes might trade up in order to select Jordan Staal (PIT).

In the 2006 NHL Entry Draft the ‘Canes picked up a few players from most positions and for the second consecutive draft they didn’t take a single goaltender, perhaps finally sated in that department with Kevin Nastiuk and Justin Peters following Conn Smythe winner Cam Ward up to the pro ranks.

They continued with the recent trend of taking defensemen from the US program, and they also dipped into the OHL pool for two picks, with a third CHL pick coming from the QMJHL.

Jamie McBain, D
2nd round, 63rd overall – U.S. National U-18
6’2, 190 lbs (1988-2-25)

Like the Hurricanes’ first pick in 2005, defenseman Jack Johnson, blueliner Jamie McBain spent time playing with Shattuck-St. Mary’s Prep School before becoming a Hurricanes draft pick. In 2004-05, the native of Fairbault, Minnesota native moved on to the US Under-17 team and had 19 points in 62 games and had a strong showing at the Four Nations Cup where he was named the Most Outstanding Defenseman.

McBain spent 2005-06 with the US Under-18 National Team and in 55 games he had nine goals and 21 assists along with 41 penalty minutes. Six of his nine goals came on the power play.

Although some scouts considered McBain’s abilities to be merely average, the ‘Canes felt the two-way defenseman would add valuable blueline depth to the system late in the second round. In 2006-07, McBain will play for the University of Wisconsin.

Harrison Reed, RW
3rd round, 93rd overall – Sarnia (OHL)
6’1, 178 lbs (1988-1-18)

With their second pick of the draft the Hurricanes turned to the OHL, one of their favorite leagues for the claiming of prospects. They went with Reed who, as a rookie on a week Sarnia Sting team, was able to collect 50 points (26 goals) in 68 games. His prowess in the offensive zone is noted, as is his strength on his skates, and his nose for the puck. However defensive deficiencies can’t be denied and Reed doesn’t always make a beeline for his own zone as evidenced by his team-worst -31 plus/minus rating.

Although a rookie in 2005-06, Reed first broke into the OHL in 2004-05 with the eventual Memorial Cup champion London Knights. He played only six regular season games with limited ice time and was as -1 and in the playoffs he appeared in four games and had one assist.

The 6’0, 178-pounder still has some growing to do, but his ability to fill the net bodes well for his long-term prospects.

Bobby Hughes, C
4th round, 123rd overall – Kingston (OHL)
5’11, 170 lbs (1987-11-11)

The Hurricanes stuck with the OHL in the fourth round, taking center Bobby Hughes from the upstart Kingston Frontenacs. The Richmond Hill, Ontario native blossomed in his third season with the Frontenacs, refining his goal scorer’s touch and reminding everyone why he was such a highly-prized early draft pick when he came into the league at the age of 16. Spending time on a line with Cory Emmerton (DET), who was picked in the second round of the draft by the Detroit Red Wings, certainly helped Hughes’ production, but Hughes already had a pair of impressive seasons under his belt before the 2005-06 campaign kicked off, and having Hughes fall to the fourth round was a pleasant surprise for the ‘Canes.

He wowed scouts and fans alike with 11 goals and 27 points in his rookie season – showing the ability to drive to the net and Hughes steadily improved the next year with 17 goals and 38 assists in 66 games last year. This year, playing on the team’s top line, the 18-year-old center bettered his two-year goal total with 35, adding 40 assists.

Hughes has compensated for his lack of height with phenomenal strength. Not content to be an offensively gifted player on the fringes, Hughes is tough to knock off his skates and can hold his own against bigger, stronger defenders.

Hughes is a two-time member of the Ontario Under-17 Team at the World Hockey Challenge and he was also a participant in the Top Prospect game. Questions remain as to whether Hughes is a product of the talent that he plays alongside in Kingston or a catalyst in allowing that talent to blossom, but his development last season has allayed any fears that he may not be a good prospect at center.

Stephane Chaput, C
5th round, 153rd overall – Lewiston (QMJHL)
6’2, 190 lbs (1988-3-11)

Chaput was originally selected in the third round of the 2004 QMJHL Draft out of West Island. He was a late cut in training camp, but did see occasional spot duty over the course of the season for Lewiston, picking up five points in eight games. Chaput made the squad out of training camp in his second attempt, catching a spot on the third line. Chaput’s tenacity, hard work, and offensive skills saw him move rapidly up the depth charts, and by mid-season, Chaput was a regular contributor on the second line, playing both on the power play and on the penalty kill, bringing a hard hitting, tireless forechecking style of play. He finished his first full season with 48 points in 69 games.

Chaput is full of energy on the ice, willing to hit regularly. He is a strong skater with a good nose for the net, and is willing to work hard in the trenches to create plays. A tenacious forechecker as well as a responsible backchecker, Chaput is also a valuable defensive forward, giving fits to the opposition’s top players, and playing hard on the Lewiston penalty kill.

Chaput would make a great third or fourth line energy player for Carolina, but also someone who has offensive skills strong enough that he could step up onto a second line role.

Nick Dodge, RW
6th round, 183rd overall – Clarkson (NCAA)
5’10, 175 lbs (1986-5-1)

Nick Dodge was a team MVP and league All-Star in Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey for the Oakville Blades and it resulted in a chance to play for the Clarkson Golden Knights. In his freshman season in 2004-05 he had 18 points (six goals) in 37 games, and in 2005-06 boosted his offensive production to lead the Golden Knights in scoring with 41 points (16 goals) in 38 games. That was also the third-highest point total in the ECAC conference. Three of his 16 goals came on the power play, while four were shorthanded. Dodge was also a +9 on the season.

For his efforts, Dodge was awarded with Clarkson’s Bill Harrison Most Valuable Player Award, the same honor the Hurricanes’ Erik Cole won twice in the late 90’s. He was also the first sophomore in more than 25 years to serve in a leadership capacity on the Golden Knights (Dodge was an Assistant Captain). Those factors all made the 20-year-old native of Oakville, Ontario an easy sixth round selection for the ‘Canes despite Dodge’s fairly diminutive stature.

Justin Krueger, D
7th round, 213th overall – Penticton (BCHL)
6’2, 205 lbs (1986-10-6)

The Hurricanes used the final pick of the 2006 Entry Draft to take another defenseman to go along with McBain, and they looked to the British Columbia Hockey League and Justin Krueger. Krueger had 28 points in 64 games with the Penticton Vees in 2005-06, but offensive stats are often inflated for prospects at that level. However, Krueger is average in size but moves well and the Hurricanes hope that he will continue to develop his game well and become a late-round success.

Krueger represented Team Germany at the 2006 World Under-17 tournament and is the son of Hurricanes’ European scout Ralph Krueger, who also coaches the Swiss National Team. He will spend 2006-07 with Cornell University where it will become clearer what he has to offer.

Jason Menard, Leslie Treff, Phil Laugher, Sean Ruck, and Kevin Forbes contributed to this article. Copyright 2006 Hockey’s Future. Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.