MONTREAL — The Hurricanes weren’t very involved on the first day of the NHL Draft in Montreal, but Carolina made sure to be a big part of Day 2.
While Carolina didn’t do anything stunning with their seven selections on Day 2 at Bell Centre, they did alter their defense by trading the rights to restricted free agent Tony DeAngelo to Philadelphia for the 101st pick along with a third-rounder in 2023 and a second in 2024.
There was a theme with the seven players the Hurricanes selected. As usual, the focus was on talent. But Hurricanes assistant general manager Darren Yorke, who runs the team’s draft, doesn’t see Carolina’s draft tendencies as being high-risk, high-reward.
“I think we’ll swing for the fences,” Yorke said. “But I don’t know how much riskier that is than any other pick. I think risk is really determined by what pick you’re at. … We’re trying to find players that we feel like have the highest chance to have the highest impact in the National Hockey League.”
Carolina went overseas for six of their seven choices, drafting four Russians, a Swedish defenseman, a goalie from Czechia and a University of Wisconsin-bound forward from Minnesota. There was concern ahead of that draft that Russian prospects may slide because of the uncertainty surrounding the ongoing war in Ukraine, but Carolina said that didn’t impact their draft.
“We don’t go into any draft and think, ‘Let’s get one country over another,’” Yorke said. “It’s sort of we build our list irrespective of whatever passport they have. If other organizations thought they’d be risky, we just didn’t see it that way.”
Only one of the seven players was in Montreal this week, but Carolina was expecting three of the newest Hurricanes to be in Raleigh for next week’s prospect development camp.
Here’s a look at the seven players Carolina drafted on Friday.
Gleb Trikozov, LW
2nd round, 60th overall
6-foot-1, 185 pounds; Omsk, Russia
NSJ rank: 50th
With their first selection of the draft, Carolina drafted the first of four Russians they would take on Day 2 in Montreal.
And true to form, the Hurricanes targeted talent in taking Trikozov.
“He’s an incredibly high-end offensive player,” Yorke said of Trikozov, “and really young, August birthday. … He’s really smart transition to the puck and carrying it from the neutral zone into the offensive zone.”
Trikozov was the 15th-ranked European skater by NHL Central Scouting but had a first-round grade from several draft analysts, including Elite Prospects (22nd) along with DobberHockey and McKeen’s (both 26th).
The Hurricanes are likely banking on Trikozov’s elite vision translating to production as he develops. In Russia’s junior league, the MHL, Trizokov had 23 goals and 22 assists in 35 games last season.
What they’re saying
The Hockey News: “Dynamic talent has skill, size and length, but scouts would like to see more consistency.”
Elite Prospects: “There’s top-six upside here, but it’s going to take a rigorous development regimen to bring out the best in him.”
Corey Pronman, The Athletic: “He can create for himself with his skill while also showing great vision and instincts as a playmaker to find seams.”
Alexander Perevalov, LW
3rd round, 71st overall
6 feet, 191 pounds; Mezhdurechensk, Russia
NSJ rank: 53rd
Carolina’s second pick at the 2022 draft isn’t all that different from its first: a talented Russian winger.
“Alexander Perevalov is actually a very similar player (to Trikozov),” Yorke said. “High-end offensive player, good skater, another one that has over a point a game at the MHL level. So both these guys are really able to drive that offense.”
While there are some concerns about Trikozov’s skating, that shouldn’t be an issue for Perevalov. On the flip side, there are questions about Perevalov reading the game — something that Trikozov does at an extremely high level.
Again, the Hurricanes targeted a player with exceptional talent that will need to be helped along to one day reach the NHL. Both McKeen’s (25th) and TSN’s Craig Button (21st) had Perevalov graded as a Round 1 talent.
What they’re saying
Scott Wheeler, The Athletic: “I like that he can be the driver on a line as the go-getter or the skill guy. Now it’s just about proving it up levels and doing it more consistently.”
Elite Prospects: “Perevalov can sprint up-ice, and without ever breaking stride, beat a defender and launch a shot past the goalie.”
Corey Pronman, The Athletic: “He can make plays into seams and off the rush, which combined with a hard shot makes him a threat on the power play.”
Simon Forsmark, D
4th round, 101st overall
6-foot-2, 191 pounds; Orebro, Sweden
NSJ rank: 70th
In trading DeAngelo, the Hurricanes got three picks in all — including this fourth-rounder from Philadelphia.
Forsmark was the lone Carolina draft pick in Montreal this week. And while he admitted he knew little about the franchise, he was excited to join the Hurricanes nonetheless.
“I’m really excited,” he said. “It’s a little bit unreal, but it’s a great feeling.”
While there are some concerns among evaluators about his skating, Yorke said he fits what Carolina is looking for on defense.
“A big left-handed D that’s able to generate offense as well be able to play a strong defense,” Yorke said of Forsmark. “He was another player that we felt like he would fit into how we want to play with the ability to gap up and hold the defensive zone blue line.”
Forsmark, who said he patterns his game after countryman Victor Hedman, is one of three draft picks the team hopes will be in Raleigh next week for the team’s prospect development camp. He’ll then return to Sweden but wants to one day make the jump to North America and the NHL.
“It would be a dream to come here and play,” Forsmark said, “but right now it feels a little bit unreal. So I need to take it in. I’m thrilled to be here.”
What they’re saying
Elite Prospects: “Anything that doesn’t require much movement in open ice (he’s) at a reasonably advanced level for a player this age.”
Corey Pronman, The Athletic: “Forsmark is a solid two-way defenseman who doesn’t offer a ton of flash. … There’s enough to his tool kit to potentially be a third-pair defender.”
The Hockey News: “Size and smarts are the keys to Forsmark’s game.”
Cruz Lucius, RW
4th round, 124th overall
6-foot-1, 184 pounds; Lawrence, Kansas
NSJ rank: 75th
Lucius was the lone North American player selected by the Hurricanes. The right winger and brother of 2021 Jets first-rounder Chaz came back from a wrist injury this season to help stabilize the third line of the U.S. National Team Development Program.
While his older brother just finished his freshman season at the University of Minnesota, Cruz is headed to Wisconsin in the fall for his collegiate hockey.
“One of our scouts has known him since he was 15 years old and was trying to recruit him to the WHL at the time,” Yorke said. “But he’s a high-end offensive player, great shot, great around the net, can make you miss with his hands. And so we’re excited that he was able to be there when we selected him.”
Yorke said Lucius should be at development camp next week.
What they’re saying
Elite Prospects: “When he gets the space to prepare his plays, he can manipulate defenders and connect highly difficult plays.”
Corey Pronman, The Athletic: “Lucius is a very skilled and creative forward. He shows the offensive mind to improvise well with the puck and create chances with his stickhandling.”
Scott Wheeler, The Athletic: “He will ultimately be defined … by his ability to continue to wait for plays to develop and stay cerebral as the speed of the level around him ramps up. If he can, he’ll be a complementary playmaking winger.”
Vladimir Grudinin, D
5th round, 156th overall
5-foot-10, 158 pounds; Angarsk, Russia
NSJ rank: 93rd
The Hurricanes love a player who slides down in the draft, and that’s Grudinin. Both Elite Prospects (31st) and McKeen’s (32nd) graded him as a first-round talent, and Carolina pounced when he was still available in the fifth round.
Yorke said Grudinin showed the ability to be able to defend against older players despite his slight frame and then flashed his offensive flair when going against players his age at the World Junior Championships.
“The ability to create separation and as well as defend was something that was exciting for us,” Yorke said.
Elite Prospects’ scouts rated him as the player with the best four-way mobility in this draft class, and he also received multiple votes for best neutral zone defender.
What they’re saying
Elite Prospects: “The skating, transition ability, and in-zone defensive play should be enough to elevate Grudinin to a third-pairing role at the NHL level.”
Corey Pronman, The Athletic: “There are shades of Kings prospect Brock Faber in his ability to defend with his feet and advance play in the right direction.”
Scott Wheeler, The Athletic: “I have a hard time seeing him at his size and without great feet being a strong defender versus better players so it’s why he’s a ‘has a chance guy’ now for me.”
Jakub Vondras, G
6th round, 171st overall
6-foot-3, 180 pounds; Czechia
NSJ rank: not ranked
The Hurricanes probably didn’t need to add another goalie to their prospect pool, but it’s never a bad idea to take a chance on a goaltender with a late-round pick.
Vondras is the rare goalie who catches with his right hand, and according to NHL.com, there have only been 98 goalies to reach the pinnacle of the sport doing that. Many of the ones that have — Tony Esposito, Tom Barrasso, Grant Fuhr, Tomas Vokoun, Gilles Meloche and Jose Theodore, to name a few — did all right for themselves.
“Incredibly smart goalie, lots of little shoulder checks and be able to recognize side-to-side plays and have the athleticism and power to get across,” Yorke said. “So somebody that we’re excited to bring into our into our organization.”
Vondras is expected to be in Raleigh for development camp.
Alexander Pelevin, D
7th round, 205th overall
6-foot-1, 183 pounds; Balakhna, Russia
NSJ rank: 162nd
Pelevin wasn’t on the radar of most evaluators, though Elite Prospects did have him 66th in their rankings.
“A little bit similar to Grudinin in being able to hold tight gaps, be able to get up in the play and join the rush,” Yorke said. “And we feel like once he’s able to sort of transition to North America, some of that offensive game will be a little bit easier for him because of how well he skates and how well he holds tight gaps. And the competitive aspect of his game is really strong as well.”
Elite Prospects praised Pelevin’s defensive game, saying he plays in his own end with “enthusiasm” and projected him as a shutdown defender.
What they’re saying
Elite Prospects: “You’re probably not getting a high-flying offensive dynamo in your favourite team’s top-four, but a defence-first role on a bottom-pairing doesn’t seem out of the question.”
Corey Pronman, The Athletic: “He shows flashes of skill, but whether he’s a natural enough puck-mover will be the question on his game versus better players.”