OK, OK, Carter Ashton may be a first-round reach at No. 27 for the Canes, and, who knows, Zach Budish could be available in the second round.
So what about ... Drew Shore?
Once again, he has the size (6-3, 190) that the Hurricanes are looking for in the draft. He's a hard-working, bruising center. The word on the Denver native is that he's tough in those "dark areas" coaches like to talk about and a physical presence on the ice.
NHL Central Scouting has him rated 28th among North American skaters. International Scouting Services rates him 18th.
A member of the U.S. National Team development program, Shore had 17 goals and 32 assists in 62 games, and a team-high 17 points in 17 international games. He helped Team USA win the gold at the 2009 Under-18 IIHF World Championships.
Shore, who said he grew up a Joe Sakic fan, plans to attend the University of Denver this year.
"That's not a strike against them in our eyes," Tony MacDonald, the Canes' director of amateur scouting, said about a prospect opting to play college hockey. "If we think they have a future with us, if we think they're good enough, we believe they'll be ready with two years of college competition."
MacDonald noted the progress made by defenseman Jamie McBain, the Canes' second-round pick in 2006. McBain played three seasons at Wisconsin, was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award this past season and will get a good look in the Canes' preseason training camp this year.
"The player we take at 27 probably will be three to five years away from being in our lineup," MacDonald said. "We're trying to project ahead to what our needs will be."