Canes don't vary from draft plan

Staff WriterJune 26, 2010 

If there was ever any doubt before, it's perfectly clear now: Carolina Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford really, really, really, really, really, really, really doesn't like taking defensemen in the first round of the NHL Draft.

There were three top-tier defensemen in this year's draft, all expected to go before the Hurricanes picked at No. 7 on Friday. Two of them, Cam Fowler and Brandon Gormley, unexpectedly fell to Carolina, changing the landscape but not Rutherford's mind.

Rutherford's position is that defensemen take so long to develop that by the time they're any good they're already free agents. So the Hurricanes instead took Jeff Skinner, a high-scoring center out of the Ontario Hockey League - their scouting comfort zone, which bodes well for his prospects.

That was the plan going in, with two of Carolina's three second-round picks reserved for defensemen today. The unexpected availability of Fowler and Gormley didn't change that, although Rutherford said the Hurricanes tried to move back into the first round when the defensemen lingered on the board.

Skinner, despite a preposterously low rating from NHL Central Scouting, looks like a player. Only time will tell whether passing on the defensemen to take him was worth it.

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