TSP: Top Carolina Hurricanes Prospects

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Andrei Svechnikov Carolina Hurricanes Prospects
DALLAS, TX - JUNE 22: The Carolina Hurricanes draft Andrei Svechnikov in the first round of the 2018 NHL draft on June 22, 2018 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Welcome to the 2018 Top Shelf Prospects series.  As we go through the Summer of 2018 LWOH will be featuring a team-by-team look at the top prospects in the NHL. We will go team by team through the NHL bringing you a look at each Teams Top Prospects. We will be following the order of the first round of the NHL draft (as if there were no traded draft picks) and you can find all the articles here.  Since we had an extensive NHL Draft preview, we will not be reviewing the players who were drafted in the 2018 draft, as there have been no games since then, and our reports on them will not have changed.

What we will be doing is linking you to those articles, as well as taking a look at prospects that were acquired before this year’s draft; their progress, and their chances of making the 2018-19 roster of the NHL team in question. We will also bring you one sleeper pick – a player who was either drafted in the 4th-round or later, or was an undrafted free agent signing who we pick as our dark horse to make the NHL. For those wondering, the cut-off for what is or isn’t a prospect is typically about 50 NHL games played (including playoff games) or is 25 years old. These are not hard or fast rules though, and we may make some exceptions depending on the circumstances.

TSP: Carolina Hurricanes Prospects

The Carolina Hurricanes had a bit of a topsy-turvy season. While they struggled at times, they seemed to be just outside the playoff bubble for most of the season. However, a change in ownership and lack of additions at the trade deadline seemed to seal the team’s fate. The season would take a downswing and they would end up finishing sixth in the Metro division, 14 points out of a playoff spot.

The disappointing end to the season would bring change in Carolina. Coach Bill Peters and general manager Ron Francis are gone, replaced by Rod Brind’Amour and Don Waddell respectively. At the draft, the team completed a blockbuster trade, with Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm off to Calgary, and Dougie Hamilton, Micheal Ferland and Adam Fox coming back in return. Then there was the biggest acquisition of the off-season. The Hurricanes moved up to second overall in the NHL Draft Lottery, and as a result were able to select Russian sniper Andrei Svechnikov.  Things may be a lot different in Carolina next year, but the future is looking brighter already.

2018 NHL Draft Picks: Andrei SvechnikovJack DruryLuke Henman, Lenni KillinenJesper SellgrenJake Kucharski,
Graduations: Haydn Fleury,

 

Top Prospect: Andrei Svechnikov

The Hurricanes drafted Svechnikov with the 2nd overall pick in this year’s NHL draft. Prior to the draft, we did an in-depth scouting report on Svechnikov. As no games have been played since that report; we will not repeat it. You can check out the report here.

 

#2 Prospect: Martin Necas

Centre — shoots Right
Born January 15th, 1999 — Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic
Height 6’1″ — Weight 167 lbs [186 cm / 76 kg]
Drafted by Carolina Hurricanes in the 1st round, #12 overall, at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft

Necas got a short look with the Hurricanes, just one game, bef+ore being sent back to the Czech Republic for further development. He put up nine goals and 17 points in 24 games for Kometa Brno. He also added two points in two Champions League games and four goals and five assists in 14 playoff games. it was his international performance that was particularly encouraging though. Necas had 11 points in 7 games at the World Juniors, helping the Czechs to fourth place. He also had five points in 7 games at the Men’s World Championships.

Skating

Necas is an outstanding skater with a good stride along with excellent agility and balance. He has very good speed and good acceleration. Necas has a powerful lower body, allowing him to win battles on the boards and in front of the net. This should only improve with time, as he adds more muscle to what is generally a pretty skinny frame right now. Necas can use his agility and edgework to get around defenders. Once he gets a step, his ability to change speeds and quickly accelerate allows him to drive to the front of the net. Necas drops his shoulder and is gone in a flash.

Offensive Game

Necas can handle the puck and make plays while moving at top speed. His hands are quick and soft, and he protects the puck well. This makes him extremely dangerous on the rush. Necas has excellent vision and makes tough passes through tight areas. He is very creative with his passing game and can find openings that other players wouldn’t try. Necas sees the ice extremely well and has the hockey IQ to anticipate plays before they happen. He seems to know what his teammates are thinking ahead of time. He can also be dangerous as a shooter with a quick release on both his wrist and snapshots. Necas will need to add more power going forward.

Necas needs to get to the dirty areas of the ice more consistently. He sometimes has a tendency to play too much of a perimeter game. At his best, he gets involved in the corners and in front of the net. He may be willing to do this more as he continues to add strength to his frame. He is good in the cycle game, using his body to protect the puck, and his vision and passing skill to make plays for teammates.

Defensive Game

Necas is responsible defensively. He understands how to apply back pressure, as well as how to support the defence down low in the cycle game. Containing his man can be an issue right now due to a lack of strength and muscle mass, but his positioning is good and the effort level is there, so this should improve in time. He is also already good in the face-off circle. Necas understands how to cut down passing and shooting lanes with his body.

Outlook

The Hurricanes would become a much more dangerous team if they had a top line centre. They are hoping that Necas can be that player, and at this point, there is a reason to believe that he can be. Necas will be given every opportunity to make the Hurricanes in training camp and could make an immediate NHL impact as a rookie.

 

#3 Prospect: Jake Bean

Defence — shoots Left
Born Jun 9th, 1998 — Calgary, Alberta
Height 6’1″ — Weight 172 [185 cm/78 kg]
Drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 1st round, #13 overall, at the 2016 NHL Draft

Bean was traded at the WHL trade deadline from the Calgary Hitmen to the Tri-City Americans. Overall he put up 12 goals and 36 assists for 48 points in 57 games. His playoff performance was even better with 18 points in 14 games. Bean also played for Team Canada at the World Juniors, picking up three assists and winning a gold medal. He finished the season playing one game for the Charlotte Checkers in the AHL Playoffs.

Skating

Jake Bean shows outstanding skating. He is blessed with very good speed and excellent acceleration. This is true in both directions and really helps him to be a two-way defender. Add to that, outstanding edge work and agility and Bean has the ability to walk the line to open up passing and shooting lanes, as well as to pivot quickly to transition from defence to offence and vice-versa. He is capable of covering a lot of ice, and of pinching in at the line and knowing he can still get back defensively. Bean could stand to add a bit of lower body strength and improve his balance in order to improve his ability to battle in the corners and in front of the net. This will become more important as he hits the next level and faces bigger and stronger opponents

Offensive Game

Bean has great puck control and combines with his skating skill to elude forecheckers and move the puck into good areas to start the rush. In that way, he can lead the rush himself or make a strong pass to get the transition game going. He shows poise with the puck in the offensive zone, and as mentioned he walks the line well in the offensive zone opening up those passing and shooting lanes. His slap shot is hard and accurate, while his wrist shot features a quick release and he uses it effectively to get pucks on net quickly and through heavy traffic. He has very good vision and passing skills, able to thread the needle to set up his teammates for good scoring opportunities.  Bean is a dynamic offensive blueliner.

Defensive Game

Bean can play a more physical game if he can add some muscle this year.  He’s got good height but needs to add strength to his frame. Bean is not a huge hitter, but he’s not afraid to get involved physically battling for pucks in the corners or in front of the net. His defensive game matches his offensive game. Bean has very good positioning, he shuts down the middle of the ice and keeps attackers to the outside. He uses an active stick to cut down passing and shooting lanes.

Outlook

With his junior career behind him, Bean is ready to take the next step up to professional hockey. He is not quite NHL ready and the competition for spots on the Canes blueline is steep. Expect to see him spend the year with the Charlotte Checkers, playing big minutes and continuing his development. He could see some call-ups during the year if injuries hit, but should not be expected to be a full-time NHLer before 2019-20. His potential though is extremely high-end, and the Canes have three outstanding prospects in their system.

 

#4 Prospect: Adam Fox

Defence — shoots Right
Born February 17th, 1998 — Jericho, New York
Height 5’11” — Weight 185 lbs [180 cm / 84 kg]
Drafted by the Calgary Flames in the 3rd round, #66 overall at the 2016 NHL Draft
Traded to the Carolina Hurricanes in June, 2018

Despite missing some time due to injury, Fox had an excellent sophomore season with Harvard. He put up six goals and 28 points in just 29 games. He was also one of the top defencemen on Team USA at the World Juniors with five points in seven games and helping the team to a silver medal.

Skating

Adam Fox is an undersized defenseman but an elite offensive producer. He has elite skating ability, moving around the ice with very good speed and acceleration. He can lead or join the rush or pinch at the blue line and still get back to defend his own zone as well. Fox has very good agility and edgework. He can weave in and out of traffic while rushing the puck up the ice, and use quick cuts to avoid opponents, be they forecheckers trying to pin him in his own end, or defenders against the rush. Fox could stand to add muscle as he needs to improve his balance and get stronger on the puck. This has already started to happen at the college level but should continue.

Offensive Game

Fox has extremely good stickhandling ability. He shows poise with the puck at the blue line, being patient, and willing to use his agility to walk the line to open up shooting and passing lanes. Fox has outstanding vision and the ability to feather a pass through the tightest of openings. He can use this ability while quarterbacking the power play, carrying the puck on the rush, or in making a strong first pass to start the rush. He is especially adept at making long breakaway passes.

Fox’s wrist shot is accurate and features a quick release, but could use a bit more power. He has a knack for getting his slap shot through traffic and keeping it low and on the net, allowing teammates to get tip-ins and rebounds. Fox could improve both shots with more upper body strength.

Defensive Game

Fox uses his quick feet to keep attackers in front of him off the rush. He has good backwards skating and a quick stick and is tough to beat one-on-one. Fox’s size and strength become an issue in the defensive zone though. He can be overpowered in puck battles and has issues clearing the front of the net. This is the biggest flaw in his game, and the main question mark surrounding Fox.

Outlook

Fox heads back to Harvard for his junior season. With the light college schedule, he will get plenty of time to bulk up. There is real offensive talent here, but he must round out his game before reaching the pro level. The Flames had concerns about signing Fox and that was one of the reasons he was involved in this spring’s blockbuster trade. Carolina does not seem to think this is an issue, and the general belief is that he will sign his first pro contract when his college season concludes.

 

#5 Prospect: Valentin Zykov

Left Wing — shoots Right
Born May 15th, 1995 — St.Petersburg, Russia
Height 6’2″ — Weight 224 lbs [185 cm / 102 kg]
Drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2nd Round, 37th overall, at the 2013 NHL Draft
Traded to the Carolina Hurricanes in February 2016

Zykov shoots up the Hurricanes prospect rankings after an impressive season. He was a dominant force at the AHL level, putting up 33 goals and 54 points in 63 games. He also put up four goals and six points in eight playoff games. As the impressive stats piled up in the AHL, Zykov also got some time with the Hurricanes. He impressed in the NHL with three goals and seven points in 10 games.

Skating

Zykov’s skating is very unorthodox. His hunched-over style means that his top-end speed and acceleration are not as good as they could be. He has improved over the last several years, but there is still work to be done. In particular, his first few strides need improvement, as he needs to be quicker. He does have good agility, and great balance though. A powerful stride and well-developed lower-body allow him to fight through checks and to drive to the front of the net with power. The skating issues have been Zykov’s biggest impediment to date. While he will likely never be known for his skating ability he has worked to minimize this deficiency as much as possible and it should no longer hold him back from an NHL career.

Offensive Game

Zykov is a big forward, who plays with a gritty edge and is developing into a power forward. He goes to the net very hard and knows what to do when he gets there. He has great hands in tight and can make slick moves, tip-in shots, or bury rebounds. A natural goal scorer, Zykov also has a strong wrist shot and quick release. Zykov also works extremely hard in the corners, winning board battles, and playing a gritty, physical game. He is very strong on the puck and protects it extremely well in the cycle game. He uses his body to shield off checkers and is strong on the puck and rarely knocked off of it by contact.

Zykov has improved his playmaking over the years. He finds open teammates out of the cycle game. Zykov uses his ability to control the puck and to extend plays, waiting for teammates to get open. He has very good vision and hockey sense. Zykov finds open teammates when he has the puck. He also knows how to get open and set up for a shot without the puck.

Defensive Game

Zykov is also a hard worker in the defensive zone, using his size and ability to win board battles to help out on the backcheck, and to help his defence contain against the cycle game. He anticipates well, creating turnovers and transitioning to offence.

Outlook

Following his impressive season, it is expected that Zykov will become a full-time NHLer this season. He has the skills to take the next step and has learned all he can learn at the AHL level. The only question that remains is exactly how high in the lineup he will play.

 

#6 Prospect: Janne Kuokkanen

Centre — shoots Left
Born May 25th, 1998 — Oulunsalo, Finland
Height 6’1″ — Weight 188 lbs [185 cm/85 kg]
Drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2nd round, #43 overall, at the 2016 NHL Draft

Kuokkanen had an excellent rookie season in the AHL, with 40 points in 60 games. He also added three goals and four points in eight playoff games. Kuokkanen also played in the World Juniors, with two points in five games. All of this earned him his first four NHL games, but he is still searching for his first NHL point.

Skating

Kuokkanen is a good skater. While he is not known as a speedster, he keeps up with the play and it can not be said that he is a slow skater either. He does have excellent agility and edgework. Kuokkanen is extremely shifty and is able to avoid defenders and get around them in one-on-one situations. He is also able to move quickly to change angles and open up passing lanes. Kuokkanen can work on adding strength, specifically in his lower body in order to improve his balance, and not be pushed off the puck as easily.

Offensive Game

Kuokkanen is a smart and efficient playmaker. He has very good stickhandling ability, able to protect the puck and make quick moves in tight spaces. His vision and passing skill is excellent. He slows down the play and finds openings that most other players do not see, and is able to put a pass through a tight opening or make a saucer pass that lands on a teammates tape. Kuokkanen has very good anticipation and hockey sense as he seems to see openings before they are there.

His shot could stand to be harder but is very accurate and he possesses a very quick release. Kuokkanen seems to defer to passing and could stand to use his shot more often. He could also be more involved in the dirty areas of the ice, as Kuokkanen prefers to play more of a perimeter game at this point in his career. He could stand to bulk up in order to be better in tight to the net, and in battles along the boards.

Defensive Game

Kuokkanen shows good defensive instincts, with solid positioning and a good stick. He reads the play well and creates turnovers with good anticipation and by keeping attackers in front of him. Once he does create that turnover, he is quick to start the transition game. Kuokkanen is also very good in the face-off circle. Again, he could stand to be stronger and more physical, as he can get pushed around by bigger, more physical forwards.

Outlook

Kuokkanen will head to training camp looking to win an NHL job. However, he likely needs a bit more time in the AHL before he is ready for a full-time NHL job. If injuries hit the Hurricanes, Kuokkanen will be an option for a call-up but his full-time NHL arrival will likely have to wait another year or two.

 

#7 Prospect: Warren Foegele

Left Wing — shoots Left
Born April 1st, 1996 — Markham, ONT
Height 6’2″ — Weight 190 lbs [188 cm/86 kg]
Drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 3rd round, #67 overall, at the 2014 NHL Draft

Foegele had an excellent season with the Charlotte Checkers, putting up 28 goals and 46 points in 73 games. However, he couldn’t find his goal-scoring touch in the AHL playoffs as he scored just three points in eight games. Foegele played two NHL games, scoring two goals and adding an assist.

Skating

Foegele is an excellent skater. His long, smooth stride generates excellent speed. This helps him to be dangerous off the rush as well as to get in quickly on the forecheck and pressure defencemen to cause turnovers. Foegele’s powerful stride and good lower-body strength allow him to fight through checks and get to the front of the net. They also allow him to win battles along the boards. Foegele has above average edgework and agility as well.

Offensive Game

A natural goal-scorer, Foegele has a very good wrist shot and a quick release. He knows how to find soft spots in the defence and set up for the one- timer. He is also not afraid to get to the front of the net and has finishing ability when he gets there. Foegele has the soft hands to finish with tip-ins, quick dekes, pouncing on rebounds or taking a quick shot in tight to the net. Foegele uses his size to protect the puck well in the cycle game and he uses his grit to win battles in the corners. While he does not throw a lot of big hits, he does not shy away from the physical aspects of the game.

Foegele is a straightforward, north-south type of player with the puck. He has good stickhandling and puck protection, but is not really a creative playmaker. Instead, he makes the simple play with the puck. This can be effective in helping to maintain possession but he’s unlikely to be known as much of a playmaker.

Defensive Game

Foegele brings his grit and strong work-ethic in all three zones. He is an efficient backchecker and helps support the defence down low. He is not afraid to put his body on the line to help the team win, as he gets in shooting lanes and blocks shots. Foegele is willing to fight for loose pucks in the corners and transition them to offence.

Outlook

Foegele will compete with Zykov and other wingers for a spot at training camp. There may not be enough room for him on the NHL roster yet, but could force this issue with strong pre-season play. Even if sent back to the AHL, expect to see Foegele get an NHL opportunity at some point this year.

 

#8 Prospect: Julien Gauthier

Right Wing — shoots Right
Born October 15th, 1997 — Pointe-aux-Trembles, Quebec
Height 6’4” — Weight 224 lbs [193 cm/102 kg]
Drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 1st round, #21 overall at the 2016 NHL Draft

Gauthier struggled in his first pro season, putting up 16 goals and 25 points in 65 AHL games. He also put up just one goal and one assist in the playoffs.

Skating

Gauthier is a great skater for a big man with very good top end speed as well as the power to fight through checks, or bowl over a defender on the way to the net. His agility and ability to weave through traffic could be improved. Currently, he is more willing to just bowl over a defender on his way to the net than to move around him. He has very good lower body strength and balance, allowing him to win board battles or establish a position in front of the net. He’s strong on the puck, which makes him able to use his body to shield off defenders in the cycle game.

Offensive Game

At 6’4″, Julien Gauthier is a power forward prospect with the size and the strength to dominate the game down low. Gauthier throws big hits on the forecheck, protects the puck on the cycle, takes the puck to the front of the net, and wins battles with opposing defenders. He also has an outstanding wrist shot, with great power and a hair-trigger release. He also has shown good hockey IQ and a knack for eluding defences and finding openings in the defence where he can set up to unleash a wicked one-timer. His stickhandling is very good, and he has the ability to make plays while skating at top speed.

One concern is that he has developed a bit of tunnel vision, in that he seems to fire everything at the net, even when sometimes a pass to a teammate might be a better play in the zone. He worked to correct that problem a bit over the last two years but it can still be an issue from time to time though.

Defensive Game

Gauthier shows a strong defensive game. He plays his tenacious puck pursuit game in all three zones, backchecking and battling for pucks in his own end. Gauthier has shown a bit of a mean streak at times. He is also not afraid to block shots and uses his big frame to effectively cut down on passing and shooting lanes. Once he is able to gain control of the puck, he transitions quickly to offence.

Outlook

Gauthier struggled early in the season, as the AHL game seemed to be too fast for him. He improved as the season went along and was better in the second half. It can take big forwards time to adjust to the pro game, and one should expect to see him back in Charlotte. He could come up for a few games as an injury replacement. Gauthier could be a full-time NHLer by the 2019-20 season.

 

#9 Prospect: Nicolas Roy

Centre — shoots Right
Born February 5th, 1997 — Amos, Quebec
Height 6’4″ — Weight 209 lbs [193 cm / 95 kg]
Drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 4th round, #96 overall at the 2015 NHL Draft

Roy had a solid rookie campaign in the AHL. He put up 11 goals and 38 points in 70 games. Roy also added three assists in eight playoff games. Roy earned a one-game call-up with the Hurricanes

Skating

Roy’s skating is a work in progress. His speed and acceleration are just average. He worked hard to improve this area and it’s no longer a liability, but it isn’t really a strength either. The bigger issue is his first step, which really needs to be improved. Roy has decent agility for a big man. He does have good lower body strength and power. Roy is able to fight through checks and get to the front of the net.

Offensive Game

At 6’4″, Roy plays a power forward’s game. He controls play below the circles, using his long reach and a big body to protect the puck and extend plays. He works to get the puck to the front of the net, and causes havoc there, looking to bang away at rebounds, screen goalies, and tip in shots. Roy also has an excellent wrist shot and release.

Roy can also facilitate. He has good vision and the ability to make passes through tight openings. His puck protection game leads to extended possession and more scoring chances. The skills were always there; the criticism around Roy that dropped him to the fourth round had mainly focused on the fact he did not seem to be putting all those skills together to get points. His hockey IQ was questioned. Roy has put those doubts to bed in his last two seasons.

Defensive Game

Roy’s defensive game is very good. He played a shutdown role against opponent’s top lines in junior and this continued with a pretty big defensive role with the Checkers despite being an AHL rookie. Roy is excellent in the face-off circle. He also plays an extremely smart positional game and helps support the defence down low. He cuts down passing and shooting lanes, and is willing to put his body on the line to help his team win.

Outlook

Roy is likely headed back to Charlotte next season, where he will look to continue to improve his skating and put up even bigger offensive numbers. Roy might take a little longer in the AHL, as sometimes bigger players take a little longer to find their game when transitioning from junior to pro. This is more true for a player like Roy who is still working on his skating. Centre is also a tough position to learn.

 

#10 Prospect: Morgan Geekie

Centre — shoots Right
Born July 20th, 1998 — Strathclair, Manitoba
Height 6’2″ — Weight 190 lbs [188 cm / 86 kg]
Drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 3rd round, #67 overall, at the 2017 NHL Draft

Geekie scored 30 goals and 84 points in 68 games with Tri-City last season. He was even better in the WHL playoffs where Geekie put up 17 goals and 27 points in just 14 games. Despite losing in the Conference Finals to Everett, Geekie led all WHL players in playoff goals.

Skating

Geekie has really improved his skating over the last two years, but there is still a bit more to go. While he once was considered slow, he is now at above-average speed. His first step and acceleration are also decent. While he does not blow anyone away, the fact that he is better able to keep up with the play has been a big key in Geekie’s approvement.

He also has improved his agility and edgework. Geekie is now making tighter turns, as well as generating better power and acceleration better with his crossovers. This along with better cuts has helped him to be more effective in both ends of the ice. He has good balance. It is tough to knock Geekie off the puck, and he wins battles in the corners as well as the front of the net.

Offensive Game

Geekie creates most of his offence in the dirty areas of the ice. With the puck on his stick, he looks to manufacture offence by getting to the front of the net. From there he can dish the puck to a linemate through a tight opening, or finish in close to the goaltender. He has very good vision and makes smart plays with the puck on his stick. He also has the hands necessary to pounce on rebounds and to redirect shots into the net. Geekie has also really improved his one-timer and loves to let it go from between the face-off circles. He usually fires either a quick wrist or snapshot, with good power and an excellent release.

Geekie is not afraid to take punishment to make plays, and he battles hard in the corners and in front of the net. He cycles the puck well, protecting the puck while fighting through checks, and getting it to teammates. However, he is not the type to make a big hit.

Defensive Game

Geekie is very good defensively. He is one of the best in the WHL in the face-off circle and is a key penalty killer for the Americans. He is also used to match-up against other teams top lines. Geekie works hard to almost always be on the right side of the puck. He uses his body to block shots, as well as an active stick to cut down passing lanes. Geekie provides support to the defence down low and keeps his man to the outside when defending the cycle. He also transitions quickly to offence when an opportunity presents itself.

Outlook

Geekie moves to the pros and will likely play for Charlotte in the AHL next year. The Hurricanes hope that his offence will translate at the pro level. He is likely a year or two away from the NHL, but could be a middle-six forward with a two-way game when he gets there.

 

Sleeper Prospect: Lucas Wallmark

Centre — shoots Left
Born September 5th, 1995 — Umea, Sweden
Height 6’0″ — Weight 176 lbs [183 cm / 80 kg]
Drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 4th round, #97 overall at the 2014 NHL Draft

Wallmark bounced between the AHL and NHL last season. He put up 17 goals and 55 points in 45 games with the Checkers, as well as three goals and five points in eight AHL playoff games. In 11 games with the big club, he didn’t have quite the same offensive impact, scoring just one goal.

Skating

Wallmark’s skating is his biggest weakness. It is what is currently holding him back from being an NHL player. He has a short, awkward stride and poor acceleration. Wallmark has worked hard to improve it and while he has gotten better, it is still the big sore spot. Quicker feet would also likely lead to better agility. He has a strong lower body, and good balance, allowing him to protect the puck in the cycle game and win battles along the boards.

Offensive Game

Wallmark is a playmaking centre with good vision and hockey sense. He anticipates plays extremely well and almost always makes the smart play with the puck. Wallmark has good stick handling and controls the play. He slows things down so his teammates can get open. When they do, he is ready to feather a tape-to-tape pass through traffic. While not known for his goal scoring, Wallmark has worked to improve his shot. His wrist shot is accurate, and he has added more power. He also has learned to vary his release points. This has created a problem for goalies in the AHL.

Defensive Game

Wallmark is also a strong two-way player. He is good at faceoffs. He uses his good hockey sense in the defensive zone, anticipating plays and creating turnovers. Wallmark has strong positioning and uses an active stick to cut down passing and shooting lanes. He is not afraid to block shots or battle with forwards down low.

Outlook

Wallmark will battle for a spot in training camp. However, the Hurricanes top nine might be too tough to crack at this point in his career. He will likely be the top centre in Charlotte  and have opportunities for call-ups if injuries arise. The 22-year-old could be NHL ready in 2019.

 

System Outlook

As seen above, the Hurricanes have a particularly deep forward group. 2018 second-round pick Jack Drury adds to that group. The Hurricanes also have intriguing prospects in Aleksi SaarelaStelio MattheosDavid Cotton, Cliff Pu, and Eetu Luostarinen. On the back end, Roland McKeown and Luke Martin have NHL potential while Trevor Carrick and Michael Fora are further down the depth chart. The Hurricanes don’t have an elite goalie prospect but will hope that one of Callum Booth, Jeremy Hellvig, or Alex Nedeljkovic will emerge as a future NHL starter. Overall, the system is amongst the NHL’s best, with high-end talent and plenty of depth.

 

DALLAS, TX – JUNE 22: The Carolina Hurricanes draft Andrei Svechnikov in the first round of the 2018 NHL draft on June 22, 2018, at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)6

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