With the NHL Draft being on the horizon, now would be a good time to evaluate the Hurricanes farm system and look at some areas they should consider addressing with their picks this year. When it comes to draft discussion, most people focus on the first round because that is where you are most likely to land a future star or an NHL player in general. However, the rest of the draft is also very important, especially for the Hurricanes because their farm system can use some rebuilding. Not too long ago, they had a decent amount of great-looking process but over the past few years, they have either become full-time NHLers (Skinner & McBain), were traded (Dumoulin & Alt) or are reaching their mid-20's and are still playing in the lower levels (Boychuk & Dalpe). The Canes still have a interesting prospects in their system but their pedigree isn't nearly as high as it was a few years ago. This draft can be a good chance to change that, though and it will be interesting to see what the Hurricanes do with their five draft selections.
Before that happens, we're going to take a look at who is in the Hurricanes system now, where their prospects stand and which areas need to be addressed. Today we'll start by looking at their centers, which is where Carolina is the most set at. Eric Staal is still in his late-20's and should be able to hold the fort down on the first line for the next few years. Meanwhile, Jordan Staal is only 24 and has the second line center spot nailed down for awhile and can possibly take over for Eric when he gets older depending on how much he progresses offensively. With the Staal brothers anchoring the top two lines, the Hurricanes mostly just need someone to pivot the third & fourth lines for the next few years. They might also need someone to take over the second line center spot if one of the Staals is traded or moved to the wing, but the likelihood of either happening is pretty low.
Anyway, with the way the team is set up now, the Hurricanes are going to need one of their younger players to step up as the third or fourth line center within the next year. The good news is that they have plenty of centers who are capable of doing so and one of them, Riley Nash, was in the NHL for the majority of the last season. Some believe that he is the team's third line center of the future and while that is possible, there are a lot of other players the Canes can turn to if Nash doesn't work out as a full-time NHLer. After the jump, we'll take a look at some of these players, how they've progressed in the past year and evaluate where the Hurricanes at this position in terms of prospect depth.