The Carolina Hurricanes are in desperate need of help at all positions on the ice, especially defense.
That’s why the fifth pick in the upcoming NHL Draft is so critical, as top defenseman, Noah Hanifin, will seemingly be theirs for the taking. The Hurricanes already posses one of the league’s best young defenders in Justin Faulk, who had a breakout 2014-15 season with 49 points. However, at times it’s as if Faulk is the only effective blue-liner on the team.
John-Michael Liles was the only other Carolina defender to record more than 20 points with a measly 22 recorded over the course of the year. The opportunity to select Hanifin gives Carolina a legit second defenseman to pair with Faulk. Scouts rave about his ability to play true two-way hockey.
Bill Placzek of Draftsite.com had some encouraging analysis of the this year’s top defensive prospect. “Large two way defender who displays good vision and on ice smarts. Is a mobile fluid defenseman who has excellent offensive upside to match his edgy defensive side”
Hanifin, a Boston native, currently plays collegiately for Boston College. This season he recorded 23 points in 37 contests. It’s unknown if he will elect to stay at the school upon being drafted, or go straight into the professional ranks.
It’s not a done deal, but Noah Hanifin will likely be wearing a Carolina Hurricanes sweater come opening night. He is the top defensive prospect in this draft class, and Carolina is starved for a top pairing defender to play alongside the established Justin Faulk, and that’s a nice one-two punch.