BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Carolina Hurricanes talked about needing to add scoring punch to their lineup. When it came time to make the first of their two first round picks at 13th overall, they did that — but with a defenseman.
Jake Bean, a 6-foot, 173-pound defenseman from Calgary of the WHL, is different from Carolina’s current crop of defenseman in that he brings instant offense from the blue line.
Bean had 24 goals and 40 assists in 68 games with the Hitmen last year, his second full WHL season, and was one of 14 defensemen invited to Canada’s World Junior summer camp. Bean is one of the younger players in the draft, having turned 18 on June 9. His father, John, is COO of the Calgary Flames.
It marks the third straight season the Hurricanes took a defenseman with their first pick: they took Haydn Fleury at No. 7 in 2014, and used the fifth overall pick to choose Noah Hanifin last June.
Here’s what some draft experts and scouting services had to say about Bean:
International Scouting Services: Ranked No. 16, rated him the second best offensive defenseman in the draft (behind Mikhail Sergachev).
“A talented, fluid skater with an effortless stride that handles the puck well. Uses his excellent mobility effectively on both offence and defence. Very good walking in from the point, has the ability to make guys miss and get himself into high quality scoring areas. Seems to make something happen every time he has the puck. Big shot and tremendous vision. Tough playoffs he was getting keyed on all series, as the games went on you could see him fade off quite a bit due to tiredness and getting pretty beat up. Can still get pushed around in front of the net and in the corners due to less than ideal NHL size for a defender. Prone to occasional lapses in concentration.”
ESPN’s Corey Pronman: Ranked No. 19, ranked him No. 10 in Hockey IQ in the draft.
“Bean was one of the top defenders in the WHL this season, which is pretty incredible given that he was never drafted into the WHL and has improved by leaps and bounds. “NHL hockey sense, he’s got it,” one NHL GM said. Bean processes the game so well, and when he gets the puck he moves it quickly and into the right spots. He never gets pressured into bad calls by fore-checkers, evading checks and maintaining possession very well. He’s certainly an offensively tilted player, with above-average hands, and high-end vision on top of having a quality shot. Bean has improved his skating a lot from 12 months ago, but his first step or so is still a little slushy. Despite average size and skating, he’s still a decent defensive player due to his hockey sense, and could potentially play on a second PK unit at his peak in the NHL; however, he’s not a real physical defender.”
NHL Central Scouting: Ranked No. 15 among North American skaters.
“A puck-moving defenseman comfortable at both ends of the ice, Bean finished first among Western Hockey League defensemen with 24 goals and 12 power-play goals in 68 games for the Calgary Hitmen in 2015-16 earning WHL (East) Second All-Star Team honors.”
The Hockey News: Ranked No. 16.
“Even though he has work to be done on his defensive game, Bean is seen as an impact offensive defenseman who has the vision, skating ability and hockey sense to run a power play at the NHL level. He can also lug the puck out of his own end and make plays off the rush.”
TSN: Ranked No. 12.
“Excellent skater with quickness who has a mind to match and creates offensive opportunities. Excellent passer who uses deception and has ‘ice-in-his-veins’ poise.” — TSN’s Craig Button