Carolina Hurricanes

Hurricanes beat the odds, have No. 2 pick in 2018 NHL Draft

The Carolina Hurricanes, with the 12th pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, selected center Martin Necas (88) of the Czech Republic.
The Carolina Hurricanes, with the 12th pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, selected center Martin Necas (88) of the Czech Republic. cseward@newsobserver.com

The Carolina Hurricanes weren’t the biggest NHL lottery winner Saturday. They didn’t get the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.

But there were no complaints about coming away with the second overall pick, especially when the Canes were slotted 11th in the draft order before the lottery in Toronto.

The Buffalo Sabres won the No. 1 pick and the Montreal Canadiens will have the No. 3 selection in the draft.

The Canes had a 9.9 percent chance of finishing in the top three and a 3 percent chance of taking the No. 1 pick. But team president Don Waddell went to Toronto for the lottery confidently saying, “I’m a lucky person” and the Canes beat the odds.

The NHL draft will be held June 22-23 in Dallas. That's the hometown of Tom Dundon, Carolina's new majority owner, and having the No. 2 pick will add another level of excitement to the draft for the Canes.

"He's happy," Waddell said of Dundon. "The value of the 11 pick is good. The value of a No. 2 pick is great."

The Canes also are in the process of hiring a new general manager and head coach. Having the opportunity to add an impact player in the draft could make both positions more attractive to potential candidates.

"You put another big asset into your team," Waddell said. "To have that kind of asset that you didn't have before the day started, I think makes it even more appealing to what we have going on right now in Raleigh."

There was a long wait Saturday before the final three spots were announced. The NHL announced the top three lottery teams and set the fourth through the 15th spots for the draft before the start of the San Jose-Vegas playoff game on NBC, but the 1-2-3 positions were not shown for another two hours, until the second intermission of the Sharks-Golden Knights game.

"When it got to be No. 11 and our name didn't come up there, it's like, 'Wow, can you believe what just happened?'" Waddell said. "Then the two hours seemed like eight hours."

The Hurricanes have never had the No. 1 pick in their franchise history. The franchise picked second in three previous drafts, taking forward Sylvain Turgeon in 1983, defenseman Chris Pronger in 1993 and center Eric Staal in 2003.

Waddell, also serving as the Canes’ interim general manager, noted the team will have their scouting meetings the next two weeks and will have to readjust their sights for the first round.

Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin of Sweden is an almost consensus choice to be the No. 1 pick in the draft and a likely pick by the Sabres.

Russian forward Andrei Svechnikov of the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League is the No. 1 rated North American skater by NHL Central Scouting after scoring 40 goals in 44 games this season. Forwards Brady Tkachuk, who plays at Boston University, and Filip Zadina from Halifax in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League also have positioned themselves to be a potential top-3 pick.

Tkachuk is the son of former NHL player Keith Tkachuk and the younger brother of Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk, who was the sixth pick in the 2016 NHL draft. Brady Tkachuk has good size at 6-2 and 195 pounds and has gotten high marks from scouts for his competitiveness.

Zadina is from the Czech Republic and has played in international competitions with forward Martin Necas, the Czech center the Canes drafted with the No. 12 pick last year.

In recent years, the No. 2 picks have included forwards Patrik Laine (Winnipeg), Jack Eichel (Buffalo) and Aleksander Barkov (Florida). A team dynamic can change quickly.

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