I got a fair amount of email about my contention Sunday that if the Hurricanes traded up to draft Tyler Seguin, it would give them a 1-2-3 punch at center "as strong as" any in the NHL.
"What about Pittsburgh?" the emails argued. Well, yeah, the Penguins are better. But what about the other 28 teams in the NHL? That's a better question.
Consider what Mike Russo, who does as good a job of anyone covering the Wild for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, has to say about that team's depth at center:
The Wild desperately seeks a No. 1 or 2 center, uh, like 15 other teams.
In other words, the Wild are one of many, many NHL teams that would be thrilled to say they have Eric Staal (perennial All-Star, Canadian Olympian, point-per-game scorer since his sophomore season) and Brandon Sutter (impeccable defensively for a 21-year-old, scored 21 goals in his first full NHL season).
(The Wild would also be thrilled to have Matt Cullen, which is why the former Hurricanes center may be headed back to his home state this summer; certainly, it would be a good fit for both team and player.)
Add Tyler Seguin to that mix with Staal and Sutter, and few teams in the league could match that depth.
Pittsburgh, obviously. Detroit and San Jose are there. Boston, with Marc Savard, Patrice Bergeron and David Kreci? Maybe. Chicago and Philadelphia are close, or are pointed in the right direction. But not Tampa, despite Lecavalier and Stamkos. And not Washington, a glaring flaw in the way the Capitals are built.
point was, and is, adding Seguin would put the Hurricanes into an elite class of teams -- yes, like Pittsburgh -- with that kind of depth at center. Those teams tend to do pretty well. (All of the ones that just popped up off the top of my head won a playoff round this spring.) Look at Carolina in 2006, when Rod Brind'Amour was a rock defensively and Matt Cullen had a career year.
There aren't many teams that have two centers of the caliber of Staal and Sutter (or Staal and Seguin, for that matter). Having three of that quality changes everything.
As it turns out, Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford was quick to respond by saying the Canes plan to stay at No. 7, because they think they can get a good player there and hold onto all those second-round picks. That follows up on what the owner said, that he'd just as soon not pick between Seguin and Taylor Hall.
And that's fine. There's nothing that says the Hurricanes have to move up and get Seguin. My point was just that they could, and if they did, the rewards could be tremendous. Just ask the Penguins. Or, for that matter, the Wild.