The Hurricanes have taken defensemen in the first round in three of the last five drafts (Haydn Fleury, Noah Hanifin and Jake Bean) and have amassed plenty of depth at that position in recent years. Speaking with Lauren K. Ohnesorge of the Triangle Business Journal (subscription required), team owner Thomas Dundon indicated that the team will not be drafting blueliners with their top picks as long as he’s in charge:
“We won’t be drafting defense in the first round as long as I’m here. I’ve got to have more offense. I want to lose 5-4, not 2-1. If we lose 5-4, I’ll have fun at least.”
Considering Carolina’s defensive depth, it’s certainly understandable that they wouldn’t be looking to take a rearguard early on for a few years at least, but it’s rare that anyone would come out and make a proclamation regarding draft strategy like this. It will be interesting to see if the Hurricanes instead look to stockpile some extra picks later in the draft to use on defenders or if they simply look to fill those spots through trades and free agency down the road.