Ranking the Carolina Hurricanes prospects — Part 2: Defensemen

Ranking the Carolina Hurricanes prospects — Part 2: Defensemen

Early on Monday morning, I started on a tour of the Hurricanes prospect pool and even talked myself into forging down the road of doing rankings at least at a positional level. The first article in the series which you can find here addressed the goalies.   Defensemen Part two will look at the prospect pool for the blue line. Because the Hurricanes have spent so many recent high draft picks on defensemen and also benefited from Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce rising up ahead of schedule, the general perception in our Hurricanes hockey community seems to be that the team is deep in terms of youth on the blue line. That is very clearly true at the NHL level where the team boasts a top with an average age under 23, but the rapid rise of the young NHL group has actually left a bit of a gap behind them in terms of the prospect pool. Francis restocked a bit in the 2017 NHL draft selecting three defensemen and there are still a couple higher-end players who are near NHL-ready but the volume of depth is actually still a little bit light right now. Without further ado, here is my ranking for the Hurricanes defense prospect pool…   Established prospects with top half of the roster potential #1 – Haydn Fleury (Charlotte Checkers-AHL) Fleury (Article log HERE) tops my list of prospect defensemen based on both reasonably high upside and a high probability of at least some leve of success. I have had him penciled in as a #5/#6 defenseman at the NHL level for some time now....
Checking In: ‘First impressions’ on Roland McKeown, Lucas Wallmark and Alex Nedeljkovic

Checking In: ‘First impressions’ on Roland McKeown, Lucas Wallmark and Alex Nedeljkovic

This part 2 in a series of articles that offers first impressions of Hurricanes prospects who are new at the AHL level this season (or only had a cup of tea there at the end of another season). In case you missed it, part 1 profiled Valentin Zykov, Haydn Fleury and Andrew Poturalski. Part 2 today will feature Roland McKeown, Lucas Wallmark and Alex Nedeljkovic.   Roland McKeown Pre-arrival Roland McKeown is projected to be a potential top four defenseman at the NHL level once he fully develops. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings 50th overall in the 2014 NHL Draft. McKeown has spent the previous three seasons with the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL. In 2015-2016, his last season with the Frontenacs he posted 7 goals and a career high 35 assists. Starting role For most of the season McKeown has been playing on the second defensive pairing with second year Checker Jake Chelios. He has also played on the second unit of the power play and the penalty kill from time to time with Chelios. First Impressions McKeown, like Haydn Fleury, has yet to make a large impact with the Checkers. However, although not an outstanding playmaker so far, he also does not make many mistakes turning over the puck. He often favors making the simple play and does not try to force the puck up the ice. He also displays beautiful vision sometimes when he is hits an offensive player with a nice breakout pass leading to a Checkers two on one or three on two heading into the opposing team’s defensive zone. McKeown...