The Carolina Hurricanes had to wait until late in the first round on Wednesday night to make their first selection of the 2023 NHL Draft, their successful season and playoff run to the conference final resulting in them having the 30th overall pick.
With can’t miss prospects like Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli, Leo Carlsson and more long off the board, the Hurricanes had to rely on the work done by their scouting staff to find a gem late in the first round, hoping to boost their odds in the years to come across North Carolina sports betting.
The Hurricanes ended up selecting Bradley Nadeau from the BCHL, opting against looking to more traditional junior leagues like the CHL and taking the standout from Junior A in British Columbia. Nadeau put up an eye-popping 113 points in 54 regular season games last season, largely thanks to his heavy, accurate shot. But coming from the BCHL, he will need a couple years of development before being NHL-ready.
There are some late first-round picks in recent years Canes fans can look to to give them optimism about their newest prospect.
Most late first rounders from the past five years are still looking to pave their path to the NHL, but in 2017 and before there are a few examples of players that Nadeau would be happy to be compared to.
Players To Emulate
Eeli Tolvanen was selected 30th overall by the Nashville Predators in 2017 and currently provides a goal-scoring punch for the Seattle Kraken. With his excellent shot and ability to use it on the power play, he compares very favorably to Nadeau.
You would be hard-pressed to find a better late first round pick in recent memory than the 26th selection in 2016. Tage Thompson was one of the most dominant players in the NHL last year and has now produced two really strong seasons at the top level. Thompson is proof that patience is necessary with these picks, as he took some time in the minors to hone his craft but would now be a top five pick if that draft was redone. Patience is a virture in NHL front offices, as it will be on NC sports betting apps next year!
Finally, the 2014 draft provides two great examples of teams finding value late. One of this year's Hart Trophy nominees, David Pastrnak, was selected 25th in that draft. Pastrnak had spent the year prior playing in Sweden, so was NHL ready much earlier than Nadeau will be. Pastrnak ended up scoring 34 goals in his third NHL season.
A more likely comparison is Adrian Kempe, the 29th pick in that draft. Kempe played his first full NHL season in 2017-18 after a couple of seasons in the AHL. After never scoring more than 20 goals in a season, Kempe has scored 35 and 41 the past two years, once again proving that patience is a virtue when selecting late in round one.
Nadeau won’t make an NHL impact this year like Bedard or Fantilli likely will, but there are many recent examples of players that developed nicely from that spot in the draft. Hurricanes fans will be hoping their scouts have found the next Adrian Kempe-type player.
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