Originally written June 28, 2013 on Fox Sports Carolinas:
2010-nhl-draft-round-one
With the NHL Draft set for Sunday, FOXSportsCarolinas.com spoke to Carolina Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford to get some insight into the team's strategy going into the event and also into the busy offseason process, which is set to begin on July 5 with the start of free agency. The 'Canes hold the fifth overall pick in the draft. John Manasso: Do you think you will take the best player available (as opposed to drafting for a specific need)? Jim Rutherford: Well, I think so. I wouldn't say 100 percent for sure. There's different types of players who fall into that area in the first round. We have a lot of skill guys. We feel we have enough guys who can score so I would say we could opt to do a different type of player, if the player could come in and play this year or next. Manasso: Are there a lot of NHL-ready players in this draft? Rutherford: Yeah, I think so. Usually, the higher you pick, the better chance you have to play right away. There's probably a group of five or six you'd put into that group. I don't know for sure. I'm not going to say everybody in the top 10 will play next year. You could find players picked in the top 10 and somebody could end up playing next year. Manasso: A lot of the players who are projected in the top six or so are big players (Seth Jones, Darnell Nurse, Aleksander Barkov and Valeri Nichushkin all are 6-2 or taller). Does that help make the transition easier to playing in the NHL right away? Rutherford: There's no question. The league's getting bigger all the time. Certainly, you watch those playoffs and you see a lot of big players in them. But the one player thats a little bit smaller (Chicago's Patrick Kane) won the Conn Smythe (as playoff MVP). It's not that smaller players can't compete. Manasso: You haven't drafted a forward in the first round since 2010 when you took Jeff Skinner. Does that mean you'll trend towards taking a forward? Rutherford: Not really. Eric Staal (drafted as an 18-year-old in 2003) is still is a young guy. You start looking at (Jiri) Tlusty and (Tuomo) Ruutu and Skinner. That's some pretty good skill up front. They should be able to score enough goals for us to compete in the division. Manasso: The top two European skaters, as rated by NHL Central Scouting, are both Russian speakers. Does the fact that you have an established Russian veteran like Alex Semin who can show them the ropes make you any more likely to take those players? Rutherford: It wouldn't factor for us in making a decision on a player. Nichushkin and Barkov are really good players on their own. That would not be a factor at all. Manasso: Nashville general manager David Poile compared this draft to the 2003 draft, which is considered the best in recent memory. Do you agree? Rutherford: This is a real good one. This is really, really loaded at the top end, the first couple of rounds. It could end up being like the '03 draft, which was a very, very strong draft. I think this year's draft and next year's are a lot like the '03 draft. Manasso: Shifting gears towards free agency, forward Chad Larose (a member of the 2006 Stanley Cup-winning team) has been one of your longest tenured players. Where do negotiations stand with him? Rutherford: He'll go into July as a free agent. I think all of our UFAs (unrestricted free agents, including defensemen Joe Corvo and Marc-Andre Bergeron and goalie Dan Ellis) will go to July and will see if they work their way back to us. That's the way free agency will start. Manasso: Will you look for a depth defenseman in the free agent market? Rutherford: Our main priority is a top-four defenseman, whether it's free agency or trade. I would say it's going to be apt to be a trade. When you get into free agency, there are longer-term contracts involved. I would say that's our priority. Hopefully, we're going to be able to fill that hole. Manasso: Do you think a top-four defenseman might be available on the trade market with the salary cap set to decrease, which will make some teams have to shed salary? Rutherford: Maybe. There could be a chance. Manasso: Do you expect defenseman Ryan Murphy, your first-round pick in 2011, to be on the team next season? Rutherford: He'll have every opportunity to be on the team. He came up and played a few games last season. The first couple of games the coaches loved him and overplayed him. He played about 23 minutes a game then they took his minutes down to 17 or 18. He played very well. He has the skill level. It's a type of player we need, a quarterback on our power play. He's going to be given every opportunity to be there.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Giants shut out Pirates, advance to NLDS

Cowboys' Spillman accused of rape at team hotel

Report: Patriots benched WR for mouthing off to coach

Jose Bautista busts up reporter over Twitter

Sammy Watkins calls out EJ Manuel

Larry Donnell benches himself in fantasy, loses because of it

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Josh Gordon says NFL’s drug policy is harrassment

Steve Smith: Ron Rivera hid in his office after cutting me

Rondo hoping for an opening night return from broken hand

Jon Gruden on Raiders job: 'I'm not thinking about coaching'

Tom Brady defends not congratulating Garoppolo on TD

Ohio State student who ran on field loses full scholarship

ESPN reporter announces she has breast cancer

Byron Scott explains why Kobe wouldn't make a good coach

Hibbert texts Duncan for advice on being like Spurs

Belichick repeats moving 'on to Cincinnati' during presser

Donald Sterling’s wife called the cops on V. Stiviano

WATCH: Mayweather shocked someone doesn’t know who he is

Who is the new face of MLB?

NHL 15 predicts the LA Kings win the Cup again

J.J. Watt buys his mom a new car for her birthday

Ranking the NFL coaches already sitting on the hot seat

WATCH: Smith tells Panthers to go home and mow his lawn

The best games on the NFL slate in Week 5

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Cowboys player accused of rape

Scott: Kobe would not be a good coach

Pats WR benched for mouthing off?

Sammy Watkins calls out EJ Manuel

Donnell benches himself in fantasy and loses

Gordon: Drug policy is harrassment

Who is the new face of baseball?

Steve Smith blasts Panthers coach, GM

What will the A’s look like in 2015?

All-Disappointment Team in MLB

Ryan Lochte: Phelps made dumb decision

WATCH: Brett Favre in new commercial

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.