Welcome to the 2021 Top Shelf Prospects series. As we go through the Summer of 2021 LWOH will be featuring a team-by-team look at the top prospects in the NHL. You can find all the articles here. Since we had an extensive NHL Draft preview, we will not be reviewing the players who were drafted in the 2021 draft, as there have been no games since then, and our reports on them will not have changed. Today, we look at the 2021 Carolina Hurricanes Prospects.
What we will be doing is linking you to those articles, as well as taking a look at prospects that were acquired before this year’s draft; their progress, and their chances of making the 2021-22 roster of the NHL team in question. We will also bring you one sleeper pick – a player who was either drafted in the 4th-round or later, or was an undrafted free agent signing who we pick as our dark horse to make the NHL. For those wondering, the cut-off for what is or isn’t a prospect is typically about 50 NHL games played (including playoff games) or is 25 years old. These are not hard or fast rules though, and we may make some exceptions depending on the circumstances.
2021 Carolina Hurricanes Prospects
Hurricanes Season and Off-Season
The Hurricanes finished the year in first place in the NHL’s Central Division, putting up 80 points in 56 games. They quickly dispatched the Nashville Predators in the first round, taking the series in six games. However, the Hurricanes ran into the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round. They fell in five games, ending a promising season.
The off-season was an interesting one in Carolina. They lost Morgan Geekie in the expansion draft. The team also traded away Calder Trophy finalist Alex Nedeljkovic and defenceman Jake Bean. The trades continued with the Hurricanes acquiring Ethan Bear for Warren Foegele. Free agent losses also included Dougie Hamilton, Peter Mrazek, James Reimer, Brock McGinn, Cedric Paquette, Joakim Ryan, Drew Shore, David Warsofsky, and Jani Haakanpaa. Free agent additions include Frederick Andersen, Antti Raanta, Tony D’Angelo, Ian Cole, Brendan Smith, Jordan Martinook, Derek Stepan, and Josh Leivo. The Hurricanes also made the shock move of the summer, acquiring Jesperi Kotkaniemi when the Montreal Canadiens declined to match their $6.1 million offer sheet.
2021 NHL Draft Picks (A): Scott Morrow, Aleksi Heimosalmi, Ville Koivunen, Patrik Hamrla, Aidan Hreschuk, Jackson Blake, Robert Orr, Justin Robidas, Bryce Montgomery, Nikita Quapp, Yegor Naumov, Nikita Guslistov, Joel Nystrom,
Graduations: Morgan Geekie (expansion), Jake Bean (trade), Steven Lorentz
Top 2021 Carolina Hurricanes Prospect: Seth Jarvis
Right Wing/Centre — shoots Right
Born February 1st, 2002 — Winnipeg, Manitoba
Height 5’10” — Weight 172 lbs [178 cm / 78 kg]
Drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 1st Round, #13 Overall, at the 2020 NHL Draft.
With a delay in the start of the North American hockey season, Jarvis started his season at Team Canada’s World Junior Training Camp, where he was one of the last cuts. He then joined the Chicago Wolves in the AHL. Jarvis scored seven goals and 11 points in just nine games. Jarvis then went back to Portland in the WHL where he put up 15 goals and 27 points in 24 games.
Jarvis is an excellent skater. His first few steps and his acceleration are explosive. His top-end speed is just good, but not great. It must be remembered that hockey is often about short bursts of speed rather than a two-hundred-foot race down the ice. Jarvis is more than capable in those short areas. He also has excellent edgework and agility. Jarvis is able to change directions and change speed quickly. These weapons make him hard for defenders to cover. Despite his diminutive size, he has very good balance and is surprisingly strong on his skates. It is tough to knock him off the puck. He could get stronger though. This will help him to win a greater share of his battles on the boards.
Jarvis is a pure sniper. He has an excellent array of shots. He can score with his wrist shot, snap shot, slap shot, one-timer, and even his backhand. All of these shots feature power, accuracy and a quick release. When defenders back off to respect his skating ability, he uses the defender as a screen and fires a shot on the net.
He also has a knack for getting open without the puck and putting himself into a position to get a scoring chance. Jarvis is gritty and he is not afraid to get to the front of the net and battle to create opportunities. He can finish in tight with the quick hands to pounce on rebounds, deke a goalie, or tip in a teammate’s shot. He is a real pest and creates havoc in front of the opponent’s net. Jarvis has the ability to drive opposing goaltenders crazy and takes up a lot of attention.
Jarvis can also play the role of a playmaker. He is an effective stick handler who can make moves while skating at top speed. A quick shift of his hands and wrists can open up a passing lane and he can find an open teammate with a pass. He is a smart player and has excellent vision and anticipation. When this is combined with his passing ability, Jarvis can create opportunities for teammates. He gets in quickly on the forecheck and pressures opposing defenders into mistakes. Jarvis could be stronger and better along the boards and in the cycle game to extend puck possession and create scoring chances. As he matures this could come with added muscle to his frame.
Jarvis is an effective penalty killer. His anticipation and ability to read the play, along with his quickness, are helpful as he breaks up passes and pounces on loose pucks in his own end. Once those turnovers are created, he is able to quickly transition the puck up the ice and create offensive opportunities. Jarvis supports the defence down low as well, but he can be overpowered by bigger and stronger opponents. This is one area where a lack of size can be a bit of a detriment to his overall game.
Jarvis is listed as a centre on a number of sites, but he has been on the wing in the majority of our viewings of him. With his lack of size and strength, playing on the wing is likely his future at the NHL level as well. He is effective offensively and could become a top line forward in the NHL if he reaches his potential. However, he will need to gain strength and work a little better on the boards going forward. Jarvis could use another year in the WHL, continuing to round out his game and add that muscle before he is NHL ready. He should also be a part of Team Canada at the World Juniors.
#2 Prospect: Ryan Suzuki
Centre — shoots Left
Born May 28th, 2001 — London, Ontario
Height 6’0″ — Weight 172 lbs [183 cm / 78 kg]
Drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 1st Round, #28 Overall, at the 2019 NHL Draft.
Suzuki played for Team Canada at the World Juniors. He put up two goals and four points in the seven game tournament and brought home a silver medal. With the OHL season never getting started, he joined the Chicago Wolves in the AHL. Suzuki put up five goals and 10 points in 24 regular-season games.
Suzuki uses outstanding skating ability to create space and generate chances. He can beat defenders wide and accelerate to the front of the net with his speed. He can also change directions, or change speeds to open up passing and shooting lanes. His ability to change gears while rushing the puck up the ice allows him to fool defenders and his agility and edgework make him even more dangerous. He could stand to improve his strength and balance though. Suzuki controls the puck well in the cycle by eluding defenders and avoiding hits, however adding power and being able to fight through checks would help his game.
Suzuki sees the ice very well and processes the game quickly. He understands where teammates are headed and can make a tape-to-tape pass through tight areas. His playmaking ability is highlighted by his skill running the power play from the half boards. Suzuki uses strong stickhandling ability and quick changes in direction or speed to open up a passing lane against the defence. He can create offensive chances off the rush or in working the cycle game. Suzuki is able to slow down the play or speed it up as necessary. His ability to move the puck through the neutral zone and generate clean zone entries is particularly good.
Suzuki also has a good release on his shot but needs to add some upper body strength in order to generate more power. His wrist shot is very accurate and he can pick tight spaces. He also has a very good backhand. He is a tenacious player who forechecks hard and is willing to battle along the boards and in front of the net. Suzuki could improve his strength to be more effective in these battles though.
Suzuki could also stand to improve his work in the defensive end of the ice. This is another area of his game that would improve with added upper body strength. He is willing to support the defence down low but has problems containing big and powerful opponents. His skating and active stick really help though, especially on the penalty kill. He can create turnovers and quickly translate them into offence with a quick transition. Suzuki uses his smarts in all three zones, as he is strong positionally and reads and anticipates plays well.
Projection and Comparison
Suzuki will need time to get stronger and work on some small aspects of his game. Expect him to spend another year or two in the OHL. His skating, smarts, and playmaking ability should translate into an effective NHL player as he adds that strength. Suzuki could develop into a top-six centre, able to set up plays in the offensive end and provide a decent defensive game. He will likely be back with Chicago in the AHL this season, though he could see the odd call-up if injuries hit the Hurricanes.
#3 Prospect: Jack Drury
Centre — shoots Left
Born February 3rd, 2000 — Winnetka, Illinois
Height 5’11” — Weight 175 lbs [180 cm / 79 kg]
Drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2nd Round, #42 Overall, at the 2018 NHL Draft.
When the Ivy League cancelled their hockey season, Hurricanes prospect Drury decided to join the Vaxjo Lakers in the SHL. He scored 10 goals and 30 points in 41 regular-season games. Drury was even better in the SHL Playoffs with five goals and 11 points in 14 games. He helped Vaxjo to the SHL title. Following the conclusion of the SHL season, Drury played for Team USA at the IIHF World Championships. He put up two goals in nine games and helped the Americans win the bronze medal.
Drury has really improved his skating over the last few years and this has led to tremendous improvement of his game. While his first couple of steps could use a bit more work, his top speed has gone from average to very good. His long stride generates a lot of power and makes Drury tough to knock off the puck as well as allowing him to fight through checks. He can take a defender wide and then drop his shoulder and drive to the front of the net. Drury has good agility and edgework, helping him to get by defenders, as well as to defend his own end of the ice. He is also strong along the boards, though this should only improve as he gets stronger.
Drury has a strong wrist shot. He clearly spent hours adding power to his shot and getting it off with a quicker release. It continues to improve and is now considered a weapon in Drury’s arsenal as opposed to a liability. He can score with wrist and snapshots from the slot and the face-off dots. Drury is also willing to get to the front of the net, where he can tip-in shots and pounce on rebounds. He plays a simple, north-south game, generating offensive chances out of a strong forecheck, and from battling in the cycle game. His speed now makes him a threat in transition as well.
Drury is an even better playmaker than he is a sniper. He has very good vision and makes the smart play with the puck. Drury can get the puck through tight spaces, whether it is a saucer pass, or putting the puck through the “triangle” on a defender. He is a smart player who anticipates where his teammates will get open and make a tape-to-tape pass when they do. Drury also gets in quickly on the forecheck. He pressures defenders and rushes them into turnovers. Drury is strong on the puck and effective down low on the cycle.
Drury is a hard worker in all three zones. He provides back pressure to the defence and works hard down low against the cycle game. Drury is involved in scrums and puck battles at both ends. His compete level is very high and he almost never cheats on the play. Drury reads the play extremely well. He gets his stick into passing lanes and creates turnovers which he can quickly transition to offence. He is also a responsible penalty killer and strong in the face-off circle.
Drury has the potential to be a two-way middle-six centre at the NHL level. He may never be a top-line centre, but he can be an important piece if he develops. He will need to continue to improve his skating and shot but has already made big strides in these areas. Expect to see him be given big minutes and used in all situations in the AHL this year. If he reaches his upside, he will help an NHL team on both the penalty kill and power play, but there is a bit of a project here. In terms of a style comparison, it’s hard to look at Drury, and not see big part’s of his uncle Chris’ game. This is not meant as a talent evaluation though, just a stylistic comparison.
#4 Prospect: Jamieson Rees
Centre — shoots Left
Born February 26th, 2001 — Hamilton, Ontario
Height 5’11” — Weight 172 lbs [180 cm/78 kg]
Drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2nd Round, #44 Overall, at the 2019 NHL Draft.
With the OHL season never starting, Rees joined the Wolves in the AHL. He put up eight goals and 14 points in 29 games in his first professional season.
Undersized, Rees makes up for it with excellent skating ability. He has a quick first step and outstanding acceleration. He gets out of the gate like a rocket. Rees also has outstanding top-end speed. In addition to being able to create chances for breakaways and odd-man rushes with his speed, his skating also lets him get in quickly on the forecheck, creating pressure and causing errors from the opponent’s defence. His agility and edgework are also elite. He has the ability to change directions on a dime, making him very difficult for opponents to contain. While Rees is undersized, he has a strong lower body and low centre of gravity. This gives him excellent balance and he is tough to knock off the puck.
Rees creates offence due to his outstanding skating, excellent hands, and relentless work ethic. He is a very good stick-handler and can make plays while moving at top speed. This allows him to open up passing and shooting lanes, especially off the rush. Known for his playmaking ability, he has good vision and the passing ability to find teammates in good scoring areas. He works hard to win battles along the boards, creating turnovers, and quickly getting the puck to a teammate in front of the net. Rees is always in the middle of the action, no matter where it is on the ice. He does not let his lack of size prevent him from playing a gritty and physical game.
Rees’ wrist shot and snapshot both show accuracy and a quick release. He has a knack for finding open space between the faceoff dots and darting into that space to take a pass from a teammate and fire it on the net. However, his shot lacks power. This could come as he matures and adds upper-body strength though. It will need to improve to challenge NHL goaltenders.
Rees can sometimes get into penalty trouble due to a lack of discipline. This can be seen in his 47 penalty minutes in the AHL last season. Rees gritty game can be a good thing but he needs to learn to stay on the right side of the line in terms of discipline. He is involved in his own end, backchecking and supporting the defence down low. He plays bigger than his size would indicate, but still has problems containing big, physical opponents off the cycle.
With his skating ability and work ethic, Rees is a good bet to make the NHL. He will be a favourite of his coaches and should be regularly trusted in all situations. The question seems to be around how much his offensive game will develop, and how it will translate with his lack of size and lack of shooting ability. Rees will head back to the Wolves this season, looking to improve his goal-scoring.
#5 Prospect: Dominik Bokk
Left Wing/Right Wing — shoots Right
Born February 3rd, 2000 — Schweinfurt, Germany
Height 6’1″ — Weight 180 lbs [185 cm/82 kg]
Drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the 1st round, #25 overall at the 2018 NHL Draft.
Traded to the Carolina Hurricanes, September 2019.
Bokk started the year with Djurgardens in the SHL bur struggled with just two goals and three points in 20 games. Once the North American season started Bokk joined the Chicago Wolves. He put up nine goals and 18 points in 29 games.
Bokk is a strong skater. His top-end speed is above average, but not blazing. However, what really helps is the fact that Bokk has a very good first step and strong acceleration. He reaches top speed in just a few strides. This helps him be quick to pounce on loose pucks and win short races. His ability to change speeds can also create space on the rush. Book also has good edgework and agility, which allows him to weave through traffic and make plays in tight spaces. He could add some lower-body strength to improve his balance and be stronger on the puck going forward.
Bokk has outstanding stickhandling ability. He has incredible hands and can make plays in a phone booth. He pairs this with very good vision and passing skills. Bokk has high-end hockey IQ, he always seems to make smart plays with the puck and knows how to get open without it. Bokk is strong on his skates and protects the puck well in the cycle game. This should improve even more as he continues to add muscle to his frame. He can extend possession giving his teammates time to get open. When they do he can set them up with a pass through a tight lane.
Bokk is best known for his goal-scoring ability. He has a good arsenal of shots. His wrist shot and snapshot are both hard and accurate. They both also feature a quick release. His quick hands allow him to toe-drag before shooting, changing his angle and fooling goalies. Bokk’s slap shot and one-timer are also strong. While his shots are good, Bokk can also score in tight to the goal. He goes to the net and can score with tip-ins, pounce on rebounds, and also use his quick hands to bang in passes from teammates.
Bokk also needs to work on his defensive game, with more commitment to the backcheck, and better positioning needed. It is a bit of a work in progress, but has shown some improvement in recent years. It must be remembered that earlier in his career, at lower levels of the World Championships and in German junior leagues, there are few players who have the offensive skills of Bokk. He would have had the puck through most of his time in those leagues and not have needed to learn much on the defensive end. With good coaching and development, this aspect of this game should continue to develop.
Bokk is likely to return to the AHL. He may need another year in the AHL, but Bokk could become an effective top-six forward and that will be worth the wait.
#6 Noel Gunler
Right Wing/Left Wing — shoots Right
Born October 7th, 2001 — Lulea, Sweden
Height 6’2″ — Weight 176 lbs [188 cm / 80 kg]
Drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2nd Round, #41 Overall, at the 2020 NHL Draft.
Gunler played 39 SHL games last season putting up nine goals and 14 points. He also scored a goal in three games in the Relegation Playoffs helping Brynas to stay in the league. Gunler was one of the best players on a disappointing Swedish team at last year’s World Juniors, putting up four goals and five points in five tournament games.
Gunler is a very good skater but there are still some areas where he could improve. He is very quick to get off the mark, generating excellent speed and acceleration in his first few steps. This helps him win plenty of races to loose pucks. His top speed is also high-end, and he can take opponents wide, drop his shoulder and cut to the front of the net. Gunler has strong agility and good edgework. He can avoid defenders with his quick changes in direction. He is a bit slight though, and he can improve his lower-body strength. This would improve his balance and help him to be stronger on his skates.
Gunler is a pure, natural sniper. He can score in a variety of ways. He has a heavy wrist shot with a good release; an excellent slap shot and one-timer; a quick and accurate snapshot; a strong backhand; the hands to deke a goaltender as well as to put the puck through tight spaces; and the hand-eye coordination to get tip-ins and rebounds. He is a smart player who finds open spaces in the defence when he does not have the puck. On the power play, he loves to set up in the left circle and utilize his one-timer ala Alex Ovechkin or Steven Stamkos. Though he can also control the puck in this area, walking in for a wrist shot, or making a pass through a seam to set up a teammate.
Gunler is also a good playmaker. His quick hands change angles and create passing lanes. He is strong on the puck and protects it on the cycle, with the patience to slow down the play and allow his teammates to get open. Once they do he has the vision to find them and the skills to get them the puck. Gunler could stand to be stronger though. He can sometimes get outmuscled on the boards or get knocked around in the slot in front of the net. This area of his game should improve as he matures and gets stronger.
Gunler is a bit inconsistent in his own zone. There are times he is moving his feet, gets himself into good positions, and helps to cut down passing lanes and create turnovers. There are other times when he simply needs to work harder in the defensive end of the ice though. He can puck watch at times, or fly the zone early looking to create an offensive opportunity. He will need to become more disciplined as he matures going forward.
Projection and Comparison
Gunler has the potential to be a top-line winger in the NHL and an effective point producer. He is a year or two away from the NHL at a minimum though. He needs to work on getting stronger, as he has good height but really needs to add muscle to his frame at this point. Gunler could also stand to improve his defensive consistency or he will drive his coaches crazy at the next level. However, the potential here is high if a team is willing to wait for him. Gunler is playing for Brynas in the SHL again this season. He has two goals and three points in seven games this year.
#7 Prospect: Pyotr Kochetkov
Goalie — shoots Left — catches Left
Born June 25th, 1999 — Penza, Russia
Height 6’3.25″ — Weight 180 lbs [192 cm/82 kg]
Drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2nd Round, #36 Overall at the 2019 NHL Draft.
Kochetkov bounced around the Russian leagues last year. He played 10 games in the KHL and five in the VHL. He also played two games in the KHL playoffs with a 2.48 goals-against-average and .932 save percentage.
Skating and Talent Analysis
At 6-foot-3, Kochetkov has great size. He makes the most of it by coming well out of his net to cut down angles and challenge shooters. He can even become too aggressive at times, getting caught out of his net and making it difficult for him to get side-to-side in the net. Kochetkov is athletic and can get himself back into position to make a desperation save. This is a rarity though. For the most part, Kochetkov plays a controlled game with strong technique. He has quick legs and takes away the bottom of the net. He also gets in and out of his butterfly extremely quickly.
Kochetkov’s quick reflexes are also an asset for the upper part of the net. European goaltenders often need some work on their glove hand when they are teenagers, taking some time to develop this area. However, Kochetkov has not had this issue, showing quickness and catching pucks. One other area where he can improve is in his rebound control. That said, this is often an issue with young goaltenders. Kochetkov tracks the puck extremely well. He reads the play and does a good job of anticipating passes around his crease and breaking them up with his stick.
Kochetkov is calm and cool in the net. He never seems to get flustered, even when under heavy pressure or when dealing with traffic near his crease. Kochetkov does not allow goals-against to affect his play. By the time the puck is ready to be dropped again, he has recovered and is ready to make the next save. He is not afraid to challenge opposing shooters and his cool demeanour exudes confidence in the crease. Kochetkov is a natural leader. His defencemen rely on him as a pillar of strength behind them. When his team is in trouble, Kochetkov works to cover up the puck for a whistle, understanding that a line change is necessary.
Projection and Comparison
Kochetkov is signed to play in Russia through the end of the 2022-23 season. At that point, the Hurricanes will try to get him under contract and over to North American. Even when he comes over, Kochetkov will need some time in the AHL in order to adjust to the smaller ice surface and the angles it creates. While goalies are hard to predict, the potential here is very high and he could become a number one goaltender if his development goes according to plan.
#8 Prospect: Scott Morrow
The Hurricanes drafted Morrow with the 40th overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft. Prior to the draft, we took an in-depth look at Morrow. As there has not been a significant sample size of games played since that report; we will not repeat it. You can check out the report here.
#9 Prospect: Aleksi Heimosalmi
The Hurricanes drafted Heimosalmi with the 44th overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft. Prior to the draft, we took an in-depth look at Heimosalmi. As there has not been a significant sample size of games played since that report; we will not repeat it. You can check out the report here.
#10 Prospect: Vasili Ponomaryov
Centre — shoots Left
Born March 13th, 2002 — Zelenograd, Russia
Height 6’0″ — Weight 180 lbs [182 cm / 82 kg]
Drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2nd Round, #53 Overall, at the 2020 NHL Draft.
Ponomayrov put up 10 goals and 38 points in 33 games with Shawinigan in the QMJHL last year. He also added three goals and four points in five playoff games. Ponomayrov also played for Russia in the World Juniors scoring three goals in seven games.
Ponomaryov is a strong skater. He has a very good first step and strong acceleration. He is not a burner, but his top-end speed is still well above average. Ponomaryov’s edgework and agility are also very good. He can make quick changes in direction or move laterally to get past a defender both with and without the puck. However, the best part of his game is his strength and balance. Ponomaryov is very strong on the puck and he can fight through checks and get to the front of the net. He also can use this to win battles along the boards and in the front of the net. Ponomaryov is not afraid to get to the dirty areas of the ice.
Ponomaryov is a natural sniper with an excellent wrist shot and a deceptively quick release. His shot is extremely accurate and he gets good power on it as well. He can create openings to get a shot off as well as create passing lanes to set up teammates. He can also score in tight to the net. Ponomaryov is willing to work for his position in front of the net. He also can bang in rebounds, get deflections or one time a pass into the back of the net. Ponomaryov’s strong stride allows him to protect the puck down low, keeping possession and creating time and space for his linemates.
While Ponomaryov is best known for his goal-scoring, his passing skill and vision are underrated at this point. He sees the ice well and makes smart passes through tight areas in order to set up teammates for scoring chances. Ponomaryov can control the puck on the power play. He can work along the half boards and quarterback the play. Strong on his skates, he is also effective on the forecheck and in battling for loose pucks. One area where Ponomaryov could improve is his creativity. He could work on his stickhandling and one-on-one moves working off the wall, or on the rush.
Ponomaryov is also a strong defensive player. He reads the play well and can anticipate what opponents will do, putting himself in a position to cut off shooting and passing lanes. Ponomaryov brings his strong work ethic to all three zones as well. He is willing to support the defence down low, controlling opponents in the cycle game. With his strength and balance, he is effective in doing so. Ponomaryov also brings effective backpressure against the transition game. Ponomaryov is effective on the penalty kill. His ability to transition a turnover into an offensive chance makes him a threat to score short-handed as well.
Ponomaryov could become an effective middle-six centre, capable of providing some offence as well as playing a responsible two-way game. He heads back to Russia this season. In eight KHL games, he has been held off the scoresheet but has put up two goals and four points in five VHL games. Ponomaryov has good potential but is likely two-three years away from making an impact in the NHL.
Sleeper Prospect: Ronan Seeley
Defence — shoots Left
Born August 2nd, 2002 — Olds, Alberta
Height 6’0″ — Weight 175 lbs [183 cm / 79 kg]
Drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 7th Round, #208 Overall, at the 2020 NHL Draft.
In 23 games with the Everett Silvertips, Seeley put up five goals and 12 assists for 17 points.
Seeley is an outstanding skater and this helps him to play an effective 200-foot game. He has very good top-end speed in both directions, with the acceleration and first step to match. His backwards skating is particularly good, making him very hard to beat off the rush. Seeley has excellent lateral agility and edgework. He can stop, or change directions on a dime. His pivots and turns are quick and smooth. Seeley transitions quickly from offence to defence and vice-versa. A low centre of gravity helps him to be strong on the puck and to battle in the corners. However, he is still a little undersized and will need to add more muscle to his frame before being ready to play in the pros.
Seeley combines his excellent skating with very good stickhandling ability. He can handle the puck and make plays while moving at top speed. Seeley can skate the puck past forecheckers and get it out of danger in his own end, starting the transition game. He can lead the rush through the neutral zone or join in as a trailer and still get back defensively. Thanks to his speed and ability to control the puck, he is very good at generating successful zone entries, especially on the powerplay. Seeley has good vision and is a good passer. He can make plays starting the transition, leading the rush, and in quarterbacking the play at the blue line. With his quick hands and lateral agility, he can make a quick move to open up a passing lane and get the puck to a teammate.
Seeley is much more of a playmaker than a trigger man. His slap shot lacks power. It is hoped that it will improve with added upper body strength, but he is still unlikely to become a big bomber from the point. Seeley is effective with his wrist shot though. He doesn’t score a lot of goals with it, but he keeps it low and gets it through traffic and on the net. This gives teammates the opportunity to get deflections and to pounce on rebounds. A smart player, Seeley is good at picking his spots for when to pinch in at the line and when to back up and play more defensively.
Seeley’s strong skating allows him to maintain very good gap control. He is very tough to beat in one-on-one situations and his quick stick allows him to steal the puck off of his opponents. He is a smart defender who reads the play extremely well. Seeley cuts down passing lanes and creates turnovers. His ability to get back to retrieve dump-ins and loose pucks and quickly transition them out of the zone helps to limit zone time and this is valuable defensively. One issue though is that his lack of size and strength can be an issue if facing more powerful opponents.
Projection and Comparison
Seeley is part of the new style of slick skating, puck-moving defencemen that are becoming more and more popular in recent years. He will need to add muscle going forward. However, with time and proper development he could eventually become a top-four defenceman who can contribute to a second power-play unit and also help to kill penalties. He should be back in the WHL this season. Seeley will need AHL time as well. He is a long-term project.
Other 2021 Carolina Hurricanes Prospects
The Hurricanes have really loaded up on picks in recent years. We gave them an A for their 2021 draft, and got similar marks for the 2018 and 2019 drafts. While we didn’t do grades in 2020, they also ranked well. In addition to the 2021 draft picks, and the 11 prospects listed above, the Hurricanes have other talents worth watching in the system.
In goal, the Hurricanes also have Jack LaFontaine, Eetu Makiniemi, Patrik Hamrla, and Beck Warm. On the blueline, the Hurricanes also feature Alexander Nikishin, Joey Keane, Anttoni Honka, Jesper Sellgren, and Domenick Fensore. Forward prospects to watch include Tuukka Tieksola, Blake Murray, Zion Nyback, Patrik Puistola, David Cotton, Stelio Mattheos, Alexander Pashin, and Kevin Wall.
2021 Carolina Hurricanes Prospects Main Photo:
KENT, WASHINGTON – DECEMBER 28: Seth Jarvis #24 of the Portland Winterhawks watches the puck during the first period of the match against the Seattle Thunderbirds at the accesso ShoWare Center on December 28, 2019 in Kent, Washington. The Portland Winterhawks top the Seattle Thunderbirds 4-1. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)