Everyone thought Jeff Skinner would be the first big name shipped out of Raleigh at this weekend’s NHL Draft.
Instead, it was Noah Hanifin.
And Elias Lindholm.
The return was big. In a blockbuster trade with the Flames, the Hurricanes landed 6-foot-6 Dougie Hamilton, who tied for the lead in goals among NHL defensemen with 17 last season, gritty forward Micheal Ferland and college defenseman Adam Fox.
“We’re excited to add two great young players to our lineup in Dougie Hamilton and Micheal Ferland, as well as an exciting prospect in Adam Fox,” Hurricanes general manager Waddell said in a release. “We’d like to thank Noah and Elias for their contributions to the team and we wish them the best of luck moving forward.”
Both outgoing players, restricted free agents, were at a contract impasse with Carolina, whereas Hamilton is signed to four three more years at a $5.75 million cap hit. He will make that much in 2018-19, and $6 million the last two years. Lindholm and Hanifin will be reunited will Bill Peters, who walked away from the final year of his contract with the Hurricanes and was promptly hired as the Flames’ next coach.
Hamilton, just turned 25, was the ninth overall pick by Boston in 2011, but was traded to Calgary after three years following the conclusion of his entry-level contract. The Flames — who will now negotiate new RFA deals with both Hanifin and Lindholm — signed Hamilton to a six-year, $34.5 million contract.
Yet despite missing just one game and averaging 14 goals and more than 45 points in three years with the Flames, Hamilton’s on the move again.
His acquisition creates a logjam on the right side of Carolina’s defense. Brett Pesce’s new six-year, $24.15 million contract kicks in this season, meaning Justin Faulk — a subject of trade rumors — could be the odd-man out on the Carolina defense.
Ferland, who will make $1.8 million ($1.75 million cap hit) will be an unrestricted free agent after next season. He set career highs in goals (21), assists (20) and points (41), and is also a physical presence (6-foot-2, 208 pounds) who brings snarl to the Hurricanes’ forward ranks.
Fox was a third-round pick in 2016 by the Flames and played for Harvard the past two seasons. He represented Team USA at the last two World Junior Championships, wearing an “A” this past year while registering a goal and four assists in seven games. Fox (5-foot-10, 185 pounds) was an All-American in his first two collegiate seasons. He is not yet signed.
The biggest news of the day was the monster trade, but Carolina still had other work to do in Dallas. A day after taking Andrei Svechnikov second overall, Carolina made five picks on Day 2 of the draft, trading away the penultimate pick to the Rangers in exchange for a seventh-rounder (Boston) next year. Here’s a recap of the picks.
Round 2, 42nd overall: Jack Drury, C, Waterloo (USHL)
5-11, 174 pounds • No. 38 in NSJ Top 100
With their second pick, Carolina took Drury, son of former NHLer — and one-time Whaler —Ted and nephew of Cup-winner Chris, at No. 42. Drury had 24 goals and a team-leading 65 points with Waterloo last season and is headed to Harvard this fall. He’s a high-energy player and leader who will draw his team into the battle, but he will need to get bigger and more explosive to make it to the NHL. He will be a teammate of trade acquisition Adam Fox next season with the Crimson.
Round 4, 96th overall: Luke Henman, C, Blainville-Boisbriand (QMJHL)
5-11, 150 pounds • No. 87 in NSJ Top 100
Henman is a late bloomer — he didn’t play his first full major junior season until last year and, at 150 pounds, has a lot of work to do to be ready for the NHL. On a stacked Armada squad, Henman ranked fifth in scoring and had just nine goals but was overshadowed by older teammates on a team striving to reach the Memorial Cup. A playmaker first, Henman was the lightest player at the combine (Raleigh’s Tyler Weiss was third-lightest at 150½) but should get bigger and take on a larger role next season.
Round 4, 104th overall: Lenni Killinen, RW, Espoo (Finland)
6-1, 180 pounds
It’s no surprise Carolina took another Finn, and Killinen fits the Finnish mold. He has a consistent motor and could develop into having power forward size and strength. He played mostly junior hockey last season with Espoo, but will join Assat next season and could wind up playing with third overall pick Jesper Kotkaniemi. If he develops, he projects to be an energy player who can provide depth scoring.
Round 6, 166th overall: Jesper Sellgren, D, MODO (Sweden)
5-11, 169 pounds
It took until Round 6 for Carolina to select a defenseman, and they took the undersized Sellgren with the 166th choice after being passed over in last year’s draft. Sellgren, who just turned 20 this month, played for Sweden at the World Junior Championships this year, earning a silver medal. Sweden’s coach compared Sellgren to Tobias Enstrom — a small and mobile defenseman who also plays with an edge and can defend.
Round 7, 197th overall: Jacob Kucharski, G, Des Moines (USHL)
6-3, 215 pounds
Kucharski, who is headed to Providence College in the fall of 2019, was 8-13-2 with a 3.56 goals-against average and .881 save percentage with Des Moines of the USHL last season. The native of Erie, Pa. is a big, mobile goalie who is a raw talent who will need time to develop.