Hurricanes jump nine spots, land second overall pick in draft lottery

Carolina should land the draft's top-rated forward

Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner celebrates with teammates after scoring at PNC Arena. There is an agreement in place for Peter Karmanos Jr. to sell a majority stake of the team to Tom Dundon. (James Guillory / USA TODAY Sports)

Not much has seemingly gone as planned for new Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon since he took over the team in January.

Saturday night, something went very right.

The Hurricanes landed the second overall pick in June’s NHL Draft, jumping nine spots from their slotted 11th spot. The Buffalo Sabres, who had the best chance of earning the top pick, will pick first overall and likely will take Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin.

“When you go into the day and you start off with the No. 11 pick, you worry about going backwards,” said interim general manager Don Waddell, who represented the Hurricanes at the televised lottery unveiling. “You know you’ve got a 3 percent chance to go forward. And then when it got to be No. 11 and our name didn’t come up there, it’s like, ‘Wow, do you believe just what happened?'”

What happened is Carolina will have its its choice of any other player not named Dahlin. For a team with an already young defense, the Hurricanes picked a good time to land the second overall pick in a draft where they now have their pick of wingers Andrei Svechnikov, Filip Zadina or Brady Tkachuk.

Svechnikov — a 6-foot-3, 184-pound right wing from Barnaul, Russia — was the Ontario Hockey League rookie of the year after scoring 40 goals and piling up 72 points in just 44 games with the Barrie Colts. He added another five goals and six assists in eight playoff games. Svechnikov, who had five assists in five games with Team Russia at the World Junior Championships, is seen by many as the clear second-best player in this class.

Zadina had a dominant first season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, piling up 44 goals and 38 assists for 82 points in 57 games. In nine playoff games, he added five goals and seven assists. Furthermore, the Czech-born Zadina (6-foot-1, 192 pounds) played on a line with Martin Necas — the Hurricanes’ first-round pick last year — at the WJCs and was named to the all-tournament team with seven goals and one assist in eight games.

Tkachuk also had a solid World Juniors, registering three goals and six assists in nine games for Team USA. He had eight goals and 23 assists in 40 games during his freshman season at Boston University. He is the son of longtime NHLer Keith Tkachuk and brother of Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk. Tkachuk, listed at 6-foot-3 and 197 pounds, was named the Hockey East Rookie of the Year.

“For us, we pretty (much) know what’s going to happen at No. 1.” Waddell said. “And so by having the No. 2 pick, at least we’re going to (be in) control. If you’re three, you’re worried about who’s going at two. At two, you certainly know who’s probably going at one, so you can really plan for who you really want to take if you keep the pick.”

The Montreal Canadiens will select third in the draft, a final lottery order that was announced during the second intermission of Saturday’s Game 2 between San Jose and Vegas.

The NHL Draft will take place June 22-23 in Dallas.