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Tweetmail No. 21: First Round, Drafting & UFAs

Wednesday, 06.25.2014 / 2:30 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Tweetmail No. 21: First Round, Drafting & UFAs
Michael Smith
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Hello and welcome to a weekly feature on CarolinaHurricanes.com in which I take your Twitter questions about the Carolina Hurricanes or other assorted topics and answer them in mailbag form. Hopefully, the final product is insightful to some degree, and maybe we have some fun along the way.

Let’s get to it.

Should the Canes be focusing on a defenseman, someone like Haydn Fleury, with their first-round pick more than a forward? – Chris P. (@chrispudsey)

Plain and simple, with the seventh overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft the Canes will be looking to snag the best player available.

Positionally, this player will most likely be a forward. Should there be a defenseman available for the picking at No. 7, Haydn Fleury would be that guy. Of the forwards the Canes could mull over in the seventh slot, Nikolaj Ehlers, Kasperi Kapanen, William Nylander, Brendan Perlini, Nick Ritchie and Jake Virtanen seem to be the probable options. As I said last week, I lean toward Ritchie or Virtanen, but I’m yet a humble web producer and don’t have near the amount of knowledge or background on these kids that the Canes’ amateur scouts have gathered over the past 12-plus months.

Where you might see teams pick more positionally-based is in the later rounds; even then, you don’t want to pick a defenseman for the sake of picking a defenseman if a forward or goalie you have internally ranked much higher is available.

With Ron Francis as the new general manager, do you think the Canes’ drafting style will change dramatically? – Anthony F. (@Generalisimo5)

Dramatic or not, changes are ahead under Executive Vice President and General Manager Ron Francis in both the scouts’ focus and the development of players within the system.

“We had our meeting with our scouts,” he said after last week’s coaching news conference. “We talked about some of the things we want them to do that might be a little bit different.”

When Francis took over reins as general manager, he had to jump head-first into a coaching decision and a subsequent extensive and thorough coaching search, draft prep and free agency prep, among other items.

Once the offseason settles down, Francis aims to put in place a master organizational plan that will set in motion a standard for the years to come.

“It’s our plan to put a complete structure in place from when we draft a kid to when he plays in the National Hockey League with us,” Francis said. “We’ll start working on that so that our scouts understand what kind of player we’re drafting for, our development guys understand what we want in the development process, our coaches in Charlotte understand with what we’re trying to do in developing players and our coaches here know what we’re bringing in.

“I think it’s important for us as a smaller market team to have that; we’ve got to have very solid depth guys so if we get into a situation where we can’t afford a guy, we have another guy who can step in and take his place.”

And then – at some point – Francis will get some sleep.

“Let’s just say that sleep has been very overrated,” he said of his first couple of months as GM. “There have been a lot of nights that I’ve been waking up at four or five, and my mind is just going, thinking about everything. But the thing that’s been great for me is that I’ve got a great, hard-working staff.”

Which unrestricted free agent do you think would make the best addition to the Canes? – Andrew S. (@aschnitt53)

This much has been said: this isn’t the best free agent market. And you’ve already seen some teams, including the Canes, lock in some pieces before free agency begins.

Because there isn’t a Parise sweepstakes or a Suter sweepstakes to be had this year, you might see more in the way of trades in the next week or so as general managers attempt to tweak their rosters in that manner.

But, for the question’s sake, let’s pretend I am a general manager with a lot of money to spend. Scary, right? Landing Paul Stastny or Brad Richards down the middle would be nice. Thomas Vanek, yeah, he’s not a bad option either as a top-six scoring winger. On defense, Matt Niskanen presents a very intriguing option.

From a financial standpoint, I’m not sure these players would make sense for the Canes. But the bottom line is that there isn’t a whole lot out there and a lot of teams are anxious to re-sign their talent while they can. That dilutes the pool and drives up market prices, which could make the next week very intriguing. We’ll be here to bring you everything as the clock strikes noon on Tuesday, July 1.

Will the Canes be wearing their third jersey at all next season? – Brandon G. (@bcgunning)

Yes!

While a schedule of dates are still to be announced, you can plan on seeing the Canes don their black alternate uniform set 12 to 15 times in the 2014-15 season.

***

Join me next week for more questions and more answers!

If you have a question you’d like answered or you’d like to discuss this week’s episode of 24, which was one of the best in the show’s entire history, you can reach out to me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes.



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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
N. Hanifin 79 4 18 -14 22
J. Slavin 63 2 18 1 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81