Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 06/27/10 at 05:26 PM ET
The Hurricanes entered the 2010 Entry Draft with a league-high eleven picks. Although they didn’t make a big move to parlay some of the three second rounders into an additional first rounder, they were busy making trades with those draft picks. I’ll analyze the draft selections later. For now, I’ll give a rundown of the trades that brought a forward prospect, a free agent forward prospect and a defenseman who may be NHL-ready.
Full details after the jump
In the second round, Carolina was scheduled to have three draft selections. While they had tried to package the 46th and 53rd overall pick for one in the lower first round, that wasn’t meant to be. Instead, Jim Rutherford made the first of three moves on the day.
Carolina sent the 46th overall pick to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for center Riley Nash. The pick originally belonged to the Ottawa Senators, and was shifted to Carolina in the Matt Cullen trade. The Sens got Cullen and the Canes got defenseman Alex Picard plus this pick.
Nash, who just completed his Junior season at Cornell University, was drafted by the Oilers with the 21st overall pick in the 2007 Entry Draft. I don’t know if they’ve grown tired of waiting for him to leave school or if he made it clear that he didn’t want to sign with the Oil, or if there were some personality conflicts between the kid and the Oilers front office. I tried to get some idea by reading Lowetide, but the opinions on this matter are pretty diverse over there. There’s also some unsubstantiated speculation that the top brass in Edmonton have taken a new anti-NCAA stance. Some of the commenters on Lowetide are speculating that Nash was playing some sort of Jack Johnson game with the Oil, so they should be lucky to have gotten anything at all out of the deal. Since he’s an NCAA player, if Nash isn’t signed within 30 days of leaving college (graduation or other), he re-enters the next draft.
This is a player who Ron Francis has had his eye on for some time, so I assume that the Hurricanes have done enough homework to know whether he intends to play out his Senior year and re-enter the draft, play his Senior year and immediately sign, or if the player is considering leaving college now. They’ve certainly suggested that they’d rather have him playing professional hockey sooner than later, but they’ll leave it up to him. Either way, I would like to think that they’ve ruled out a situation where Nash re-enters the 2011 draft.
”I sure think we’d like him to be playing pro as soon as possible, but that’s up to him and management to see if we can convince him to do that,” said (Hurricanes director of amateur scouting Tony) MacDonald. “If he stayed at Cornell it wouldn’t be the worst thing that could happen, but we think he’s ready to play.”
At Cornell, Nash played alongside his older brother Brendon, a defenseman who signed a free agent contract with the Canadiens this spring. Riley, who is 6’1” and 173lbs was third on the Big Red this season with 35 (12/23) points in 30 games and has amassed 102 (37/65) in 102 career games. According to a decidedly slanted Wikipedia entry, he is also the cousin of Columbus Blue Jackets’ superstar Rick Nash.
The second move came a little later in the afternoon, and it will probably pay immediate dividends. The Hurricanes traded away their own sixth round pick in this year’s draft and a second round pick in next year’s draft for Rangers defenseman Bob Sanguinetti. The 2011 pick was originally that of the Capitals, and it was acquired in the Joe Corvo trade that sent Corvo to the Caps for defenseman Brian Pothier, forward Oskar Osala and the pick. For the record, Pothier and Corvo will both become free agents on July 1.
Sanguinetti is on the final year of an entry-level two-way contract, and he’s scheduled to earn $855k against the cap at the NHL level and $62,500 at the AHL level. He’s been a steady defenseman with the Hartford Wolfpack for the last two seasons and had two brief call-ups to the Rangers this past season. Like Nash, Sanguenetti was selected with the 21st overall pick in his draft year (2006). At 6’3” and 190, he’s a big dude, and he’s really capable of handling and distributing the puck. In two full AHL seasons, he registered 80 (15/65) points and 64 PIMs. In five total games with the Rangers, he had no goals or assists, four penalty minutes and a +/- of zero.
Judging from the little bit of browsing I did on Rangers blogs and sites, this seems like it’s just a numbers thing. Some fans are upset that he’s the one that got caught up, but the Rangers had a glut of defensemen, and this is a guy the Hurricanes organ-eye-zation can use right away. Even if he doesn’t play for the big team, he’ll log some big minutes on the top pairing in Charlotte.
The third of the trades has question marks by it. Carolina shipped the 26th pick of the seventh round (206th overall) to the Philadelphia Flyers for center Jon Matsumoto. He’s just played out the final year of his entry level contract, and he’ll become a restricted free agent on Thursday. He was a third round (79th overall) pick by the Flyers in the 2006 draft and has played three full seasons with their AHL club.
Last season, the six-footer led the Adirondack Phantoms in goals (30) and points (62). Over the last three seasons, he has 169 (79/90) points. The words from Jim Rutherford suggest that he doesn’t have the skill set for the NHL, but he’ll do just fine in Charlotte. He’ll make a nice addition to the Checkers. By the time the season is in its second week, Matsumoto will be 24 years old, which would make him pretty old for the AHL, but with this youth movement, he’d even be old for the Hurricanes.
So these were the three trades. Carolina also were very busy with the drafting. They picked up eight players in the draft, and that’ll be a different post.
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David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.