The decision on which player the Carolina Hurricanes should take with the eighth pick in the NHL Draft is anything but unanimous but one thing that can be agreed on is that it should be a forward. The Canes do have a decent future up front with Jeff Skinner and Brandon Sutter already contributing at the NHL level, but their prospect pool is very thin. The team's best forward prospects who aren't currently on the roster project to be 2nd/3rd liners in the NHL or have little chance to even make the league, so they definitely need to strengthen the depth of their forward corps and this draft is a great chance for them to do that. While there are a lot of defensemen projected to go in the first round, there are also a lot of very talented forwards who the Canes can take with any of their picks.
Carolina has ten picks this draft and while lower round picks never project to amount to much, you can never have too many good young players in your system, so the Hurricanes need to make their picks count. There are always a few late round picks who make the pros out of nowhere and it's possible that there might be a few lurking in this draft. Countless times you will see a GM value things like talent, size and skill over their performance which leads to some guys falling in the draft. One way to find these players is to look at their point-per-game total at their current level and see who is playing well by this standard.
Over the next couple of weeks, we are going to use this method for different leagues to evaluate certain players in the draft and see which ones might be available when it's the Hurricanes turn to pick. It isn't perfect because goals and points alone aren't the best way to judge a player, especially ones who are in junior hockey. A player could have a great season that's driven completely by a high shooting percentage or he might be used in more favorable situations compared to others among other complications. Unfortunately, the amount of data available in these leagues is very limited so this is the furthest amount of statistical analysis that can be done for a lot of prospects. I was also going to include their NHL Equivalency value, but that probably doesn't mean much to the Hurricanes. There's a 90% chance that all of the players they take will not make the team next year, so how their performance last season compares to the NHL level doesn't mean much.
After the jump, we are going to take a look at the forward prospects who played in the Canadian Hockey League last season. This is the most popular junior league in the world and a good chunk of the players in the draft usually come from there, so we are going to get a decent sample of players to examine here. Are there any hidden gems coming from the CHL this year? Let's find out.