May 07, 2018

PROSPECT REPORT: Svechnikov or Zadina – tough choice awaits the Hurricanes

TOUGH CHOICE. The Carolina Hurricanes must choose between two immensely talented forwards in Andrei Svechnikov and Filip Zadina. Photo: Bildbyrån

The Carolina Hurricanes faithful may soon see the fortunes of their beleaguered franchise shift after the Canes exited the April 28th NHL draft lottery with the second overall pick.

With just a 3,3% chance of snagging the second pick, the Raleigh-based franchise beat the odds by jumping up ten spots and came out looking like the biggest winner of the draft – so far at least. Now the pressure is on new majority owner Tom Dundon and whoever he installs as the Hurricanes’ general manager to figure out who they will select once Swedish superstar Rasmus Dahlin is off the board.

They have three options; select Andrei Svechnikov and ride off into the sunset, select Filip Zadina and ride off into the sunset or go off the board. Well, four options. They could trade the pick. That’s not happening though. So, without further ado, let us take a look at the Carolina Hurricanes prospect situation before they select their next franchise superstar.


5. Nicolas Roy, C/RW, Charlotte Checkers (AHL)
A late pick for the ‘Canes back in 2015, Roy has seen slow but steady development in the years since. He spent two seasons post-draft honing his skills with Chicoutimi Saguenéens of the QMJHL before making the jump to the AHL this season, scoring 38 points in 70 games. A powerful center with size and reach aplenty, Roy looks like he’ll able to play a 2
nd or 3rd line role for Carolina quite soon.

4. Julien Gauthier, RW, Charlotte Checkers (AHL)
This late 97-born right winger was a first-round pick for Carolina back in 2016 (21
st overall). Like Nicolas Roy, Gauthier has great size and power and, again like Roy, spent his junior playing days in QMJHL before going pro for the Charlotte Checkers this year. Once he gets adjusted to the pro game, the sky is the limit.

3. Janne Kuokkanen, C/W, Charlotte Checkers (AHL)
Younger and smaller in stature than Roy and Gauthier, this Finnish winger was a bit of a dark horse coming into the season. 62 points (26 goals) in 60 games for London Knights in the OHL is certainly nothing to sneeze at, yet Kuokkanen wasn’t as highly touted as his fellow Canes prospects. With 40 points (11+29) in 60 games, Kuokkanen put up better point totals than both Roy and Gauthier and looks to have carried his strong play into the playoffs where he has three goals in five games thus far.

2. Jake Bean, D, Tri-City Americans (WHL)
The only defenseman on this list (mainly because 21-year old Haydn Fleury was deemed a full-time NHL:er for the purposes of this list), Bean had a terrific playoff run recently for the Tri-City Americans in the WHL. The Americans made it to the third round before bowing out to Everett Silvertips with Bean supplying 18 points (1+17) in 14 games during the run. Bean also suited up for the championship-winning Team Canada squad in the World Junior Championships. All in all, a solid season for Bean who should be able to join the already young and talented Hurricanes D corps within a season or two.

1. Martin Necas, C/RW, HC Kometa Brno (Czech)
The Canes have a real gem on their hands with this young Czech. Necas was the top selection for the red, white and black in the 2017 draft (12
th overall) and has done nothing but add to the hype ever since. Skating a regular shift for HC Kometa Brno in the Czech top league this past season, Necas scored nine goals and added eight assists for a total of 17 points in 24 games. He did miss some time for Kometa around Christmas… but that was only because he was busy tearing up the WJCs for Team Czech Republic with eleven points (3+8) in seven games. Currently closing out his season skating for the national team in the 2018 Denmark World Championships.

Martin Necas. Photo: Uffe Bodin


The Hurricanes have a strong pipeline of forwards and with Bean on the way to enforce a D corps that already includes youngsters Haydn Fleury and Noah Hanifin, defense looks set to become a position of strength for Carolina. Goaltending needs to be looked at in the later rounds of the draft since Cam Ward ain’t getting any younger and Scott Darling didn’t exactly light the world on fire this season. The Canes do have some goaltending prospects like Callum Booth and Alex Nedeljkovic, but neither has turned in Grade-A performances thus far. As for the #2 pick in the entry draft, most would claim Svechnikov is the stronger pick. I’ve argued Zadina’s merits before and will continue to do so, especially for Carolina. Three of their top forward prospects coming up – Roy, Necas and Gauthier – are all right-handed shots most comfortable on the right wing and while both Svechnikov and Zadina shoots left, Svechnikov is a natural RW and Zadina a natural LW. Certainly not THE factor in making the call between the two but should Canes’ management consider both prospects equal, it could become a factor.


Let me get one thing out there: Carolina is going to be an exciting NHL team to follow in the next couple of years.

A defensive unit of Justin FaulkBrett PesceJaccob Slavin, Haydn Fleury, Noah Hanifin and Jake Bean looks tremendously appealing. At the same time, well-needed reinforcements are on their way at forward to help Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teräväinen supply some offense. While I hope to see the electrifying Zadina in a Hurricanes uniform come October, a Svechnikov pick certainly isn’t going to stop me from tuning in to catch the new and improved Canes make their way through the 2018-19 NHL season.



Buffalo Sabres: Need to win the draft lottery
Arizona Coyotes: Better than they seem
Ottawa Senators: Strong at center, in need of game-changer

Hampus Duvefelt
October 14, 2018

An unexpected youth movement: how the Canadiens is embracing its talent

Since the very first puck dropped on opening night, there’s been something different about the Montreal Canadiens. With veteran defender – and captain! – Shea W...
October 08, 2018

The Great Young Hope – Bouchard out to prove himself in the NHL

He wasn’t supposed to be this good. Not yet, at least. When Evan Bouchard was selected 10th overall in the 2018 NHL draft this summer, the perception was that t...
September 11, 2018

A yellow and blue Maple Leaf – how Toronto is becoming the new Detroit

It used to be the Detroit Red Wings that could ice a lineup made up entirely of Swedish players to start a game. Then, once Nicklas Lidström, Jonathan Ericsson,...
August 30, 2018

A journey into non-traditional hockey markets: the importance of role models

“Hockey”. For those of us that choose to be around this hauntingly beautiful sport, the mere mention of the word can send the mind racing. In an instant, you re...
August 26, 2018

Sharing a wealth of experience – Patrik Elias wants to give back to Czech hockey

ÖRNSKÖLDSVIK, SWEDEN (ELITEPROSPECTS.COM) The U20 Four Nations’ Tournament in Örnsköldsvik features some prominent talent. Finland has Montréal Canadiens&...
July 22, 2018

In the footsteps of the Sedins – Dahlén and Pettersson dream big

Elias Pettersson was awarded the 2018 Elite Prospects Award as the most prominent junior player in the SHL earlier this week. As we handed out the award to the...
July 19, 2018

And the winner is… Elias Pettersson

Since 2013, has handed out Elite Prospects Award to the best junior player in the Swedish league. This year, the jury had an easy task at han...
June 21, 2018

Grigori Denisenko – The Little Ball of Russian Hate

Picking the best player available is a common strategy during the draft. But what makes a player “the best available”? Is it talent? Attitude? A combination of...
June 19, 2018

EP Premium – a new beginning

When Johan Nilsson registered in his dorm room in Kalmar, Sweden back in 1999, he probably didn’t envision himself serving millions of ho...
June 19, 2018

Vitali Kravtsov – in the footsteps of Yevgeni Kuznetsov

Vitali Kravtsov was born in Vladivostok, in the far east of Russia. Today, the city has it’s own KHL team, but when he grew up, the hockey boom was yet to...
June 14, 2018

Nils Lundkvist – a Swedish surprise a head of the draft

When the 2017/18 season started, he was pretty much an unknown commodity in Swedish hockey. As we approach the 2018 NHL Entry draft in Dallas, Nils Lundkvist co...
May 23, 2018

PROSPECT REPORT: Detroit’s run of success finally caught up to them

After an unprecedented two-decade-long period of success that saw four Stanley Cup championships and the Hall of Fame careers of players like Steve Yzerman, Nic...
May 10, 2018

PROSPECT REPORT: After disappointing season – can the Canadiens reload quickly?

If you were to sum up the 2017-18 season for the Montreal Canadiens you could probably do it in a thousand words. Or, you could do it with just one: disappointm...
May 04, 2018

From July to May – Lias Andersson’s long journey continues

How much hockey can you play without getting burned out? If you are to believe Lias Andersson, there’s no upper limit.  And he should know. The 19 year-ol...
April 30, 2018

Swedish Olympian to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs

At 26 years of age, he’s not by any means a prospect anymore. But Pär Lindholm is a late-bloomer who has had two seasons of great progress with Skellefteå...
April 29, 2018

Clock is ticking for Valeri Nichushkin – can he make a triumphant return to the NHL?

When Valeri Nichushkin was drafted by the Dallas Stars with the 10th overall pick in 2013, it was a bit of a surprise. After all, the Russian was picked ahead o...
April 26, 2018

PROSPECT REPORT: Senators strong at center, in need of game-changer

The Ottawa Senators made a lot of noise this season. Just not the right kind of noise. Coming off a 2016-17 campaign in which the  franchise reached its third e...
April 26, 2018

Erik Brännström cherishes the opportunity to compete with NHL stars

One by one, the established NHL players have taken over the Swedish World Championship squad. Stars like Oliver Ekman Larsson, John Klingberg and Mika Zibanejad...
April 24, 2018

Adam Boqvist looking forward to his second NHL draft

Unlike most of his peers, Adam Boqvist went to the NHL Entry Draft one summer before it was his draft year. Not because he wanted to learn about the event, take...
April 23, 2018

PROSPECT REPORT: The Coyotes are better than they seem

It was another difficult season in the desert as the Coyotes finished with the worst record in the Western Conference. But, under the radar, Arizona had a solid...