The 2014 NHL Entry Draft is 24 days away and the Wild are looking to find that next NHL star to raise their franchise to the next level. Hockey Wilderness is counting down the days with a daily mock draft. We are at pick number 7 today.
Hurricanes Prospect Pool
Hockey's Future ranks the Carolina Hurricanes system at 29th in the league. And this is including Elias Lindholm, a great two-way center prospect, as well as Ryan Murphy, who is a dynamic offensive-defenseman prospect. Both of these players saw substantial time in the NHL, so they'll be leaving the system soon. While Brock McGinn broke out as a goal-scorer, and there seems to be good depth on the defense, there doesn't seems to be a dearth of game-breaking talent currently in the system. Transactions like the Jordan Staal trade didn't help in this regard.
But before you start to think that Carolina is a dead-ringer for the Minnesota Wild's situation pre-Chuck Fletcher, it's important to know that there's more elite talent outside of Lindholm and Murphy. It just happens to be in the NHL, not the minors. Jeff Skinner is only 22, and he's one of the most prolific shooters in the league, as well as a two-time 30 goal scorer. Justin Faulk is also 22 years old, and his mobility makes him a fixture on the Hurricanes blue-line.
That said, new Hurricanes GM and NHL Hitz 20-03 terror Ron Francis needs to keep infusing young talent into his prospect pool. So, with the 7th pick in the Hockey Wilderness Staff Mock Draft, the Carolina Hurricanes select Brendan Perlini.
The Pick: Brendan Perlini
There are a lot of good prospects on the board, so why did I pick Brendan Perlini? It's not because his Twitter handles has "Bubz" in it, but it was a pleasant surprise to this "The Wire" fan.
Let's start with Perlini's size. He's 6'3", 205 pounds, which is massive for an 18-year-old. That's size that is firmly in power-forward territory. But Perlini isn't a lumberer by any stretch of the imagination, he has speed that makes Corey Pronman declare Perlini having "probably the best size-to-skating ratio in the draft".
Watching Perlini highlights, he just screams out at you "I'm a finisher!" Not only is he able to use his size, speed, and shot to score in just about every way imaginable, these skills create scoring opportunities for his teammates when the puck doesn't go in the net. But while he stands out as a natural goal-scorer, he is lauded for his ability as an all-around offensive player, as well as his ability to possess the puck.
The knock on him is that his two-way game isn't quite where it needs to be as of yet. But it isn't from a lack of trying, he seems to be quite coachable. From Niagara IceDogs assistant coach David Bell raves about his willingness to learn, saying "A lot of guys, all they want to talk about is points.... [He asks] ''where should I have been on that goal against?' or 'where should I have been on that penalty kill?'" That's exactly what anyone wants to hear from their draft pick.
Where Would He Fit on the Wild?
People have talked at length about the Wild's inability to get a high draft pick when they were bad. Yes, the Wild would pick in the 7-10 range, but the Wild are going are going to miss the "good" old days this year, as they'll miss out on talents like Perlini.
At least the Wild have that whole "Winning a playoff round" thing to fall back on, amirite?!
But were Perlini to fall down to 18 (or if the Wild were to trade up to obtain his rights), he'd add a big goal-scorer to their ranks. Something that outside of Nino Niederreiter- and maybe Charlie Coyle- the Wild do not have. Though he wouldn't just fit in with the Wild. I don't know if anyone in the NHL thinks: "Big, skilled, fast goal-scorers? Nope! Got plenty of those!"