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: Trevor Carrick profile

Checking In: Trevor Carrick profile

A successful transition from juniors for 2014-15 season As the Checkers saw multiple key defensemen called up to NHL, one player stepped up as the team’s top blue liner. Trevor Carrick was drafted by the Hurricanes in 2012 as a fourth round pick, from the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL. In 2014-2015 he played his rookie season in Charlotte, putting up 32 points in 76 games, both records for Checkers rookie defensemen.   2015-16 season Carrick started the season on the left side of the second defensive pairing, with Danny Biega as his defense partner. It wouldn’t take long before he would be moved up to the first defensive pairing in place of NHL call-up Brett Pesce, and he would not be moved from that first pairing for the rest of the season. He tallied 20 points in the first half of the season and would start to become a consistent force on the power play. By the end of 2015, the Checkers had lost Pesce and Jaccob Slavin to permanent NHL call-up, leaving the bulk of defensive responsibilities in Carrick’s hands. His strong play in the first half of the season would earn him an invitation to represent Canada in the 2015 Spengler Cup. After the New Year, Carrick would keep up his solid play on the blue line and in late January he was invited to play for the Central Division in the AHL All-Star Classic that was held in Syracuse. He would put up 22 more points during the second half of the season, totaling 42 points for the year. That was good enough for eighth...
Evaluation points for Trevor Carrick

Evaluation points for Trevor Carrick

In training camp, Trevor Carrick was 1 of the young players that I was watching closely. I figured he was the second most likely young gun on D (behind only Noah Hanifin) to push up into the NHL mix. He was coming off of a solid season in Charlotte that gave him the advantage of a full season of pro hockey under his belt compared to the newly-arriving kids like Brett Pesce and Jaccob Slavin. It was actually in watching Carrick that I grew a quick appreciation for the maturity of Brett Pesce’s game and his seemingly seamless transition to a much faster pace. Carrick and Pesce were a regular pairing in the scrimmages and the red/white game. First, it is important to note that my evaluation of Carrick was at a specific point in time that was almost a full season of hockey ago. So it is NOT a read on where he is today, but rather a starting point for evaluating his development over the past 6 months.   The positives The positive on Carrick is that he is yet another young Canes defenseman who is a decent skater, and he plays with an edge, physical side and occasional nastiness that can be a positive. And he also brings offensive upside and the skill set to chip in scoring-wise.   His key hurdle, room for improvement and evaluation point My read on Trevor Carrick at the time was that he still had some work to do in adjusting to the NHL pace and also reading situations quickly. He had a tendency to want to carry the puck...