The Carolina Hurricanes selected Swedish center/winger Elias Lindholm as their first pick (5th overall) in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft that took place at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. on Sunday.
“This is an all-round player,” Hurricanes president and general manager Jim Rutherford said.
“He does everything at a high tempo. He’s one of those puck-pursuit guys with a high skill level. He’s already put up good numbers at a young age in a men’s league in Sweden, and has great character. He’s the kind of guy you can win with.”
Lindholm provides a two-way playing capability at center and right wing which could provide Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller some ability to move him around in the lineup.
“He’ll have a good chance to make our team this year,” Rutherford said.”
Trade possibilities diminish
Leading up to the beginning of the draft, Rutherford had courted offers of trading the pick to fill needs that that team had which included acquiring a top-four defenseman.
Although a trade didn’t’ happen, things got interesting right from the start.
Defenseman Seth Jones, the top-rated prospect coming into the draft, wasn’t selected first overall.
In fact, Jones wasn’t taken until the Nashville Predators claimed him with the fourth pick, as forwards Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado), Aleksander Barkov (Florida) and Jonathan Drouin (Tampa Bay) were selected ahead of him.
Even as his availability aroused some hope in Raleigh that he could still be available for Carolina to pick him, the Predators did not pass on him.
“Certainly when Florida didn’t take him, we knew that anything was possible at that point,” Rutherford said.
“Obviously, if he had fallen to us, we would have taken him.”
With Jones out of consideration, and with many talented forwards and defenseman still available, it didn’t take the Hurricanes long to step away from their table and up to the podium as director of hockey operations Ron Francis announced that Lindholm was the team’s first overall pick.
“We felt Lindholm could help the Hurricanes sooner than any defenseman we could have taken,” Rutherford said.
Looking forward to coming
With the possibility that he could remain in Sweden for the next season since he is under contract there, Rutherford pointed out that his selection by the Hurricanes wouldn’t affect that, should he earn a spot on the team.
“His contract’s not going to affect anything that we’d be thinking about doing with him at training camp,” Rutherford said.
In Skyping with local media, Lindholm mentioned that he had previous conversations with Hurricanes forward prospects Victor Rask and Erik Karlsson, and was excited and looking forward to coming to Raleigh.
“My plan is to stay (in Europe), but I don’t know what’s up (right) now with Carolina. We’ll see.”
“They (Rask and Karlsson) only talked (of) good things,” Lindholm said.
“It’s going to be fun going to their development camp.”
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