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Lindholm Headlines Carolina's Draft

The Carolina Hurricanes completed the 2013 NHL Entry Draft on Sunday, with Swedish forward Elias Lindholm headlining a group of four drafted players.

With two trades made prior to the draft (Carolina traded its selections in the fourth and seventh rounds earlier in the season) and another made for veteran blueliner Andrej Sekera on draft day, the four-player haul ties the smallest in team history. In 2002, the Hurricanes selected goalie Cam Ward with the 25th overall pick, while the trio of Jesse Lane, Daniel Manzato and Adam Taylor never reached the NHL.

What follows is a pick-by-pick summary of drafted players and some insight on when they might arrive in Charlotte. These players, along with several other who have already played for or are likely to play for Charlotte next season, are expected to attend the Hurricanes' player development camp in late July.

ROUND 1, 5TH OVERALL –  ELIAS LINDHOLM (CENTER/RIGHT WING)

Elias Lindholm
More trade rumors surrounded Carolina than any other NHL team heading into the first round of the draft. However, when it came time to make the final decision, management stepped up to the podium and selected Lindholm, a highly-regarded forward who they believe can play at any forward position.

Lindholm, who checks in at an even six feet and 181 pounds, spent last season with Brynas of the Swedish Elite League, ranking third on the team with 30 points (11g, 19a) in 48 games. He was a teammate of Victor Rask's at last season’s World Junior Championship, where the two posted identical stat lines (two goals and two assists) through six games played en route to a silver medal finish.

"He's a tremendous competitor," Tony MacDonald, the Canes' director of amateur scouting, told the Raleigh News and Observer following the pick. "He plays the game hard. He wears his heart on his sleeve. He gives you everything he's got every shift."

As a European-based player, the 18-year-old, who has drawn lofty comparisons to legendary compatriot Peter Forsberg for his combination of strength and finesse (one article refers to him as "a complete package"), would be eligible to play in the AHL next season if not for a provision in his contract with Brynas. Under those terms, Lindholm must either honor that contract for next season or play in the NHL.

It seems that Lindholm's best chance of playing with Charlotte this coming season would be if he started with Carolina and both sides agreed to a conditioning stint of sorts later in the season. However, even if allowed under terms of his Swedish contract, that could be something of a longshot.

With the Hurricanes needing third-line help for next season, Lindholm may get an opportunity to compete with Rask, Riley Nash, Jeremy Welsh and others at training camp. If he's ready to play right away, his presence could push a talented player back to Charlotte.

ROUND 2, 35TH OVERALL - TRADED

Unable to add an established NHL defenseman using their first-round pick, Carolina nabbed some help with their second, moving it and Jamie McBain to Buffalo in exchange for Sekera.

Sekera, 27, has played 339 career games over six full NHL seasons, all with Buffalo. At the present moment, the defenseman-for-defenseman swap for McBain makes it unlikely that this trade will affect anyone currently with the Checkers, as Brett Bellemore and Ryan Murphy will still headline a group that will have its eyes on a depth spot for next season.

At the time of the trade, Carolina had just five defensemen who spent all of last season in the NHL under contract. Marc-Andre Bergeron, Joe Corvo and former Checker Bobby Sanguinetti are set to become unrestricted free agents on July 5.

ROUND 3, 66TH OVERALL - BRETT PESCE (DEFENSE)

Brett Pesce
Carolina used its second selection of the day on defenseman Brett Pesce, who has already played one season at the University of New Hampshire. Listed at 6-foot-3, the 18-year-old projects to have good size once he adds more muscle to his current 190-pound frame.

"He's a big shut-down guy and an excellent defensive player," MacDonald told the media from the draft in New Jersey. "He's going to be trying out for the U.S. national team program in August, so we're quite happy about him.

"He's a strong defensive player without taking a lot of penalties. He only had six minutes in penalties - you'd like to see more than that normally from a defenseman, but he's got such a good stick and plays so well positionally that he's able to defend his position without having to hook and hold and pull people down."

Like Europeans, those committed to or drafted from the college ranks are not subject to the AHL age restrictions commonly seen with those selected from Canadian juniors. Justin Faulk, who played for the Checkers as a 19-year-old following a single season at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, is a recent example.

That said, Pesce does plan to return to New Hampshire for at least more more season. While some players state a preference to stay in college for all four years, based on quotes from the article linked above, Pesce seems open to making any further decisions on a year-by-year basis.

ROUND 5, 126TH OVERALL - BRENT PEDERSON (LW)

The Hurricanes went back to Kitchener of the Ontario Hockey League to select 6-foot-2, 205-pound forward Brent Pederson with their fifth round choice. Each of Carolina's last two first-round draft picks - Jeff Skinner in 2010 and Murphy in 2011 - played for the Rangers at the time of their draft.

Pederson, who does not turn 18 until July 5, was teammates with Murphy last season before the highly-touted defenseman joined the Checkers in April. Having only played two seasons in the OHL to date, Pederson never played with Skinner. Given his late birthdate, he would not be eligible to start a season in the AHL until the 2015-16 campaign.

Last season, Pederson ranked eighth on the Rangers in scoring with 30 points (14g, 16a) and posted 52 penalty minutes in 67 games. His plus-11 rating ranked fifth on the team.

"We get a big winger who grinds it out on the wall and goes hard to the net," said MacDonald. "He's a hard-working, two-way guy with some size."

ROUND 6, 156TH OVERALL - Tyler Ganly (Defense)

With its final pick, Carolina selected Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds defenseman Tyler Ganly. The 6-foot-1, 201-pound blueliner who posted 17 points, all assists, last season, had a relatively modest 64 penalty minutes in his first OHL campaign. However, a quick YouTube search reveals that he's more than willing to drop the gloves, including one bout with the player Carolina drafted one round earlier.

Like Pederson, also drafted from the Canadian junior hockey league, Ganly cannot start in the AHL for two more seasons.

"He's a real good skater, and we feel he's got a lot of upside," said MacDonald. "He's developing quickly, and we certainly don't think we've seen the best of him yet."