Hurricanes take Swedish center with 5th pick of draft
The Carolina Hurricanes wanted to draft an NHL-ready player. They think they found one in Swedish forward Elias Lindholm.
Lindholm, who was taken by Carolina on Sunday with the fifth pick of the draft, is under contract with his Swedish Hockey League team for next season.
Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford says Lindholm's existing deal prevents him from being sent to the minors if he doesn't make the NHL team this fall and "is not going to affect anything that we'd be thinking about doing with him for training camp."
Central Scouting rated Lindholm as the No. 3 European skater in the draft. The 18-year-old who can play both center and right wing had 11 goals and 19 assists in 48 games with Swedish team Brynas.
He's "an all-around player that does everything at a high tempo," Rutherford said. "He's one of those real puck-pursuit guys with the high skill level. ... We met him, and he's the kind of guy that you can win with and fits our team.
"We feel he'll have a good chance to make our team this year," the GM added.
The Hurricanes entered the draft needing help on defense and Rutherford said they considered dealing their draft pick.
But they couldn't swing a draft-day trade like they did last year when they acquired forward Jordan Staal from Pittsburgh in exchange for a package headlined by Brandon Sutter.
The Hurricanes went with Lindholm after Seth Jones was taken fourth by Nashville. He's the son of former NBA player Popeye Jones and was one of the top defensemen in the draft.
"When Florida didn't take him (with the No. 2 pick), we knew that anything was possible at that point," Rutherford said. "And obviously, if he had fallen to us, we would have taken him at (pick No.) 5 ahead of Lindholm."
The Hurricanes also completed a trade of defensemen with the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday.
The Sabres acquired defenseman Jamie McBain and a second-round draft pick in the deal, while with the Hurricanes received Andrej Sekera.
Buffalo then used the Hurricanes' selection to pick forward JT Compher 35th overall. Compher is set to attend Michigan this fall.
McBain is a 2006 second-round draft pick, who proved inconsistent over three-plus seasons with the Hurricanes. He has 19 goals and 75 points in 206 career games.
Sekera had also struggled with consistency during his six-plus seasons in Buffalo, having failed to play to his offensive-minded reputation. Selected in the third round of the 2004 draft, he has 17 goals and 92 points in 339 career games.