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July 25, 2013
Top 10 Prospects 2013
Carolina Hurricanes

by Corey Pronman

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Full list of NHL Organizational Rankings

Carolina Hurricanes Top 10 Prospects

1. Elias Lindholm, Center
2. Ryan Murphy, Defense
3. Victor Rask, Center
4. Zac Dalpe, Center
5. Brett Pesce, Defense
6. Phil Di Giuseppe, Left Wing
7. Jeremy Welsh, Center
8. Brock McGinn, Left Wing
9. Danny Biega, Defense
10. Michal Jordan, Defense

Organizational Ranking: 25th

System Overview

Carolina's system is top heavy. They boast an elite prospect in Elias Lindholm, a very good one in Ryan Murphy, and Victor Rask is above average, but there is separation after that. The rest of their system is comprised of safe prospects with average upside, such as Dalpe, Pesce, and McGinn, and players with tools but also question marks, such as Di Guiseppe, Welsh, and Biega.

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1. Elias Lindholm, Center
2011-12 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 12/02/1994
Age: 18
Height: 6'0''
Weight: 192
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 48 GP, 11 G, 30 P (Brynas, SEL)
Acquired: First round, fifth overall in 2012 by Carolina

Year in Review: Lindholm had one of the best first-year draft-eligible seasons by a forward in the SEL in recent memory. He played on the top line at times and would sometimes log over 20 minutes of ice time. He was a second line center for Sweden at the World Juniors.

The Good: Lindholm does just about everything well. He is a highly-skilled puck handler with great instincts at both ends. He makes many plays due to his coordination, vision, and game processing quickness. Lindholm skates well, plays a gritty game, and helps on defense. He can play center or wing effectively.

The Bad: Lindholm needs to get stronger as well as work on fine tuning his positioning and quickness, but those concerns are nitpicking at best.

Projection: He could be an All-Star forward.

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2. Ryan Murphy, Defense
2011-12 Ranking: 1st
Date of birth: 03/31/1993
Age: 20
Height: 5'11''
Weight: 179
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 54 GP, 10 G, 48 P (Kitchener, OHL)
Acquired: First round, 12th overall in 2011 by Carolina

Year in Review: Murphy was up-and-down this season, as he struggled in the first half and at the World Juniors, but began to regain his form in the second part of the campaign.

The Good: Murphy has all the offensive gifts anyone would want. He is an elite skater who leads rushes as well as any defense prospect can. He is also a high-end puck handler and offensive thinker. Murphy makes plays that other defensemen do not consider attempting, and he controls the puck at a very desirable level. He also has a big shot from the point.

The Bad: Murphy's defensive play and physical game remain significant issues. He is a small player who still needs to put on strength. He also can be off with his defensive positioning, and he can be too much of a gambler with his attacks.

Projection: He could be a good second pairing defenseman who plays on a top power play unit.

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3. Victor Rask, Center
2011-12 Ranking: 2nd
Date of birth: 03/01/1993
Age: 20
Height: 6'1''
Weight: 195
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 37 GP, 14 G, 41 P (Calgary-WHL)
Acquired: Second round, 42nd overall in 2011 by Carolina

Year in Review: Rask started the season in the AHL, but after early season struggles, he was sent back to play for a top WHL team in Calgary. He was one of the top scorers in the WHL playoffs.

The Good: Rask is a great puck possession forward who has good, if not great, puck skills and offensive awareness. He is a top of the line playmaker and is very dangerous from the sideboards. Rask has average size but protects the puck effectively. He has also improved his defensive play and he is decent in the faceoff circle.

The Bad: Rask's skating continues to be an issue. He has a bit of a wobbly stride, and while his speed is decent, it is not threatening. He also is not the most physical forward, although that does not mean he lacks work ethic.

Projection: He could be an average second line center.

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4. Zac Dalpe, Center
2011-12 Ranking: 4th
Date of birth: 11/01/1989
Age: 23
Height: 6'1''
Weight: 189
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 54 GP, 21 G, 42 P (Charlotte-AHL)
Acquired: Second round, 45th overall in 2008 by Carolina

Year in Review: Dalpe remained in limbo, as he was a good AHL player, but unable to establish himself into a full NHL role. He played well in limited NHL time, but also had some injury issues.

The Good: Dalpe is an above-average to plus skater who can play with a high level of pace and energy. Despite taking few penalty minutes, scouts say he has physical value, as he can protect the puck well, and pressure defenders effectively. The former Ohio State Buckeye has slightly above-average puck skills, but his offensive value comes from his great speed and shot. He can play center and wing.

The Bad: Dalpe's hockey sense is average, and his defensive game still needs improvement. He is not an overly creative player with the puck, and he projects as more of a complementary piece at the top level.

Projection: He could be a third line forward.

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5. Brett Pesce, Defense
2011-12 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 11/15/1994
Age: 18
Height: 6'3''
Weight: 170
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 38 GP, 1 G, 6 P (Univ. of New Hampshire, NCAA)
Acquired: Third round, 66th overall in 2013 by Carolina

Year in Review: Pesce was a quality shutdown defender as a freshman in a tough conference, but he did not provide much offense.

The Good: Pesce is a smart and aware defenseman. His stick and body positioning are usually correct, and he closes gaps effectively. Pesce has decent size, and he will use it, as he is tough on his checks, and he will lay out hits. He is an active, energetic defender. Pesce is always moving his feet, engaging his check, or keeping the play in front of him, away from the danger area.

The Bad: While Pesce has a decent skill level, offense is not his strong suit, aside from a fine first pass. He also has a little hitch in his stride, as he does not extend fully. Pesce also needs to bulk up.

Projection: He could be an average NHL defenseman.

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6. Phil Di Giuseppe, Left Wing
2011-12 Ranking: 7th
Date of birth: 10/09/1993
Age: 19
Height: 6'1''
Weight: 200
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 40 GP, 9 G, 28 P (Univ. of Michigan, NCAA)
Acquired: Second round, 38th overall in 2012 by Carolina

Year in Review: Di Giuseppe was up-and-down this season, as were many of his Michigan Wolverine teammates. He did not take a step backwards, but he also did not take many steps forward.

The Good: Di Giuseppe is a speedy, skilled forward who has above-average hands and high-end puck skills. At the top of his game, he can create chances in bunches due to his offensive talent. He is a good skater, and not only does he have have a good top gear, but he also is good along his edges, and he is very shifty. He has good raw offensive instincts as well, and he could be a quality playmaker at some point.

The Bad: Di Giuseppe struggled this year with pace and decision making in what was overall an inconsistent season for him. He could stand to improve his defensive play as well.

Projection: He has top-six upside, but he is a ways away.

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7. Jeremy Welsh, Center
2011-12 Ranking: 3rd
Date of birth: 05/30/1989
Age: 25
Height: 6'3''
Weight: 208
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 69 GP, 14 G, 26 P (Charlotte, AHL)
Acquired: College free agent

Year in Review: Welsh struggled to start the season, but he picked up his game as he went along. Still, his first pro season was only average.

The Good: Welsh has solid two-way instincts, and he shows innate hockey sense that could translate to the top level. His skating, while decent overall, is good for a bigger player. He is big and strong, and he protects the puck well. Welsh kills penalties effectively, and if his offense does not come around, he could have some defensive value. He can play center or wing.

The Bad: Welsh struggled with the faster pace of the pro level, and overall, his season was underwhelming. He has the tools to play at both ends, but as an older player, he simply needs to display more output.

Projection: He could be a bottom-six forward.

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8. Brock McGinn, Left Wing
2011-12 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 02/02/1994
Age: 19
Height: 5'11''
Weight: 186
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 68 GP, 28 G, 54 P (Guelph, OHL)
Acquired: Second round, 47th overall in 2012 by Carolina

Year in Review: McGinn was an above-average player for Guelph, and he also was one of the OHL's top physical players.

The Good: McGinn's best traits are his energy, physicality, and intangibles. He is hard working and he embraces the physical side of the game. Despite being a little small, he can really crush players. He also has above-average speed, and solid instincts. He flashes average vision with the puck.

The Bad: McGinn's offensive upside is questionable, as he is not the most gifted puck handler, or the most creative player. He does not project as someone who can play on an NHL power play.

Projection: He could be a third line forward.

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9. Danny Biega, Defense
2011-12 Ranking: 5th
Date of birth: 09/29/1991
Age: 21
Height: 6'0''
Weight: 205
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 32 GP, 2 G, 11 P (Harvard University, NCAA)
Acquired: Third round, 67th overall in 2010 by Carolina

Year in Review: Biega followed up a great junior season at Harvard with an underwhelming senior season, where he was not as effective at either end of the rink.

The Good: Biega is a good skater who is mobile in every direction, changes speeds well, and can lead a rush effectively. He is a gifted offensive defenseman with solid puck skills and quality offensive instincts, and he can create a significant number of scoring chances. He works hard, hits at a fine level, and will grind out battles when he needs to engage.

The Bad: Biega's decisions at both ends still need some work, which was apparent this season. He can try to be too risky at times, and his defensive reads are not the greatest.

Projection: He could be a third pairing defenseman, capable of manning a power play.

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10. Michal Jordan, Defense
2011-12 Ranking: 11th
Date of birth: 07/17/1990
Age: 23
Height: 6'1''
Weight: 196
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 54 GP, 6 G, 16 P (Charlotte, AHL)
Acquired: Fourth round, 105th overall in 2008 by Carolina

Year in Review: Jordan had another solid AHL season, as he played tough defensive minutes and was decent offensively as well.

The Good: Jordan is a smart player who regularly displays the above-average hockey sense to be an effective defenseman at the pro level. He reads the play well, is a good stick checker, and has solid offensive instincts as a puck mover. Jordan has average size, but competes well, and he wins a fair amount of battles.

The Bad: Jordan's skating is his one notable issue, and that is what has kept him out of the NHL. He moves at a below-average level, with a sluggish first few steps.

Projection: He could be a third pairing defenseman.

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The Next Five

11. Trevor Carrick, Defense: Carrick is a physical defenseman with shutdown potential. He displayed more puck moving skill this year than expected.

12. Chris Terry, Left Wing: Terry is a skilled player who can finish, but his size and skating have kept him from advancing to the NHL. He is entering his prime but he may end up as a career AHLer.

13. Keegan Lowe, Defense: Lowe is a tough character, as he skates well and hits hard. He still needs work on his reads, and his offensive upside is average.

14. Erik Karlsson, Center: He is a long way away, but Karlsson has good speed, work ethic, and skill. He needs to put on a lot of strength, and his hockey sense is replacement level.

15. Justin Shugg, Left Wing: Shugg is a bit of a long shot, but his skill and intangibles are there if the rest of his game can develop.

The Sleeper: Tyler Ganly, Defense

While not a high upside player, Carolina's sixth round pick in 2013 is a smart defenseman, with a good first pass and toughness. Ganly will not amass large point totals, but his offensive output does not tell the entire story about his game.

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Carolina Hurricanes Organizational Top 10

Players 22 or under as of 09/15/2013 or still considered a prospect as defined here.

1. Justin Faulk, Defense
2. Jeff Skinner, Left Wing
3. Elias Lindholm, Center
4. Ryan Murphy, Defense
5. Victor Rask, Center
6. Zac Dalpe, Center
7. Brett Pesce, Defense
8. Phil Di Giuseppe, Left Wing
9. Jeremy Welsh, Center
10. Brock McGinn, Left Wing

Faulk is an emerging star defenseman. His skill, hockey sense, physical game, and elite shot make him a cornerstone for Carolina. Skinner continues to impress. He is a very talented puck handler and skater who can finish. His hockey sense is high end, and arguably better than that. He is a top line forward for Carolina with the potential to be a star.

Corey Pronman is an author of Hockey Prospectus. You can contact Corey by clicking here or click here to see Corey's other articles.

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<< Previous Article
Top 10 Prospects 2013 (07/23)
<< Previous Column
Top 10 Prospects 2013 (07/23)
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Top 10 Prospects 2013 (07/26)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Howe and Why (07/26)

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