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Canes think big, go small with first-round pick

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A few years ago, most NHL teams wouldn't have considered Zach Boychuk as a first-round pick. At 5-9 1/2, only three of the top 140 North American skaters measured by the NHL's Central Scouting Service were shorter.

But it's a new NHL and Boychuk is the newest member of the Carolina Hurricanes. After two defensemen the Canes considered went with the 12th and 13th picks, the Canes held onto the 14th pick and took a forward from the Western Hockey League for the second straight year.

"There are lots of small guys, small players, obviously having great career in the NHL," Boychuk said. "One guy I like to consider myself playing like is Daniel Briere of the Philadelphia Flyers. He’s a great player with similar size and skill set. Hopefully I can play like him someday."

Oddly enough, Boychuk and last year's pick, Brandon Sutter, are close friends and frequent teammates for Team Canada. And oddly enough, Boychuk has been playing for the Hurricanes for three years — the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

"It was getting pretty exciting as Carolina's pick was coming up," Boychuk said. "I thought it was a pretty funny coincidence."

Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford said Boychuk's size wasn't a consideration given his speed and skill.

"These are some of the things we bounce off Ronnie (Francis)," Rutherford said. "When you have a player that size, there are certain things that a player needs to be able to do. He has to have really good hockey sense. He has to be really quick. He passes the test on that. We’re fine with his size."

Here's what Hurricanes amateur scouting director Tony MacDonald had to say about Boychuk:

"This kid's a goal-scorer, a sniper. He can put the puck in the net. He'll go to the net and he's elusive and slippery. …

"The game's opened up so much. Kids his size get more leeway to play out there. You can't hook and hold guys with speed like Zach.

"He's a more complete player than a lot of the bigger guys available, at this point in time. He's got a better pedigree."



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Two things to consider about

Two things to consider about a possible trade with LA to move up. Maybe the Canes figured that since the Kings already had that bevy of d-men, they wouldn't take Teubert and thus, no need to pay anything to move up since he'd just fall to them. But considering they did take him anyway, maybe a deal just wasn't there to be had. For all we know the Canes tried to move up and just couldn't do it (especially if LA did want Teubert and knew the Canes would take him out from under them).


Welcome to Raleighwood, kid. Hope you're more like Danny Briere and less like Keith Aucoin. He was definitely the best, most skilled player still on the board at 14. The question is whether JR should have made a move with LA. They already have a bevy of young d-man and a 3rd rounder next year would have been enough to move up and grab Teubert.
I think Boychuk has great potential though.


Looks like we get Chad Larose 2.0 Just as hard working, but more skill.


Who could have known. Not surprised, great pick. He's a hell of a player.


I know this was the safe pick as he was the "best" left on the table, but I thought we would look at the farm systems weeknesses like on the left side, and fill in there.

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About the blogger

Luke has worked for The N&O since 2000. He covered the Carolina Hurricanes and the NHL before becoming a sports columnist in August 2008. A native of Evanston, Ill., he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. He can be reached at (919) 829-8947, @LukeDeCock on Twitter or