The ongoing tour through Canadian juniors and US NCAA hockey to check in on Hurricanes’ prospects below the AHL level continues with a stop in the US Northwest, more specifically Spokane, Washington where 2016 draftee Hudson Elynuik plays.
Hudson Elynuik 2016-17 season capsule
Hudson Elynuik was selected by the Carolina Hurricanes in the third round of the 2016 NHL draft. The 6-5 center was drafted as a raw talent but obviously with a projectable NHL frame and some skill to boot. After summer trips to Raleigh for the prospect camp and then the NHL training camp, Elynuik returned to the Spokane Chiefs for the 2016-17 season. Thus far for the 2016-17 season, Elynuik has accumulated 20 goals and 36 assists in 49 games and has also been playing on both special teams units.
Mid-season interview on Hudson Elynuik with Brandon Rivers from DUB Network
Canes and Coffee: How would you summarize and describe Hudson Elynuik’s play in 2016-17 through just more than half of the season?
Brandon Rivers: Hudson Elynuik has shown glimpses of greatness through about 3/4 of the season but has struggled with consistency. There are certain areas of his game that are elite and some that are below average.
Canes and Coffee: Comparing Hudson Elynuik from the 2015-16 season to the current season, is there anything that jumps out at you as significantly improved or different?
Brandon Rivers: His skating has improved and he has more explosiveness than I remember him having in 2015-16. He also has perfected how to use his reach both offensively and defensively. He is very dangerous on the penalty kill as shown by the four short-handed goals he has this year. Players at the WHL aren’t able to deal with the long reach the six-foot-five Elynuik has and he has created a lot of short-handed looks for himself and others by poking the puck away from opponents at his own blue line and starting a rush the other way.
Canes and Coffee: What areas do you see for necessary improvement as Hudson Elynuik continues to develop his game and ready it for the NHL down the road?
Brandon Rivers: Elynuik’s shot and strength could use a lot of improvement. In my opinion these two areas are likely the reason he has not earned a professional deal yet. He plays with a lot of creative players and should have far more than the 20 goals he has through 49 games. His release is quick but he does not get enough power or precise placement on his shot. He also relies too much upon his reach in board battles and is pushed around by players younger and smaller than him often.
Canes and Coffee: Hudson Elynuik will have had a successful second half of the 2016-17 season in terms of helping the Chiefs and also preparing for the NHL if he _______________.
Brandon Rivers: I think he needs to finish more of his chances and end up with another 10 goals over the last month of the WHL season. It seems likely Spokane will not make the playoffs and this will hurt his chances of impressing the Carolina scouts with more viewings. I’d like to see him bully players around more and show more hunger when engaged in puck retrieval. He is a very good net-front presence on the power play for Spokane and so will get his chances to add to his point total with improvements in these areas.
More on Hudson Elynuik plus menu of previous MIDTERMS on Hurricanes prospects
Previous coverage on Hudson Elynuik at Canes and Coffee includes:
Canes and Coffee’s ‘Back to School’ article on Hudson Elynuik on September 21 featured an interview with his coach Don Nachbaur.
In addition, our ‘Reading List’ article from June 26 includes links to 4 articles on Hudson Elynuik from prior to the draft.
If you missed them and want to catch up, you can find the other entries in the ‘Midterms’ series here: