The Hurricanes may have traded their #8 pick for Jordan Staal but they still had nine picks in this year’s draft, which is more than enough to help improve a prospect pool that could use some upgrades in a few areas. The biggest area of concern for the Canes organizational depth was on the wings and they took one step to improve that earlier today by drafting Philip Di Giuseppe of the Michigan Wolverines.
Di Giuseppe hasn’t even turned 19 yet and he already boasts an impressive physical frame at 6’1″ and 200 lbs. He has been known as a goal-scorer but one of his best assets is not shying away from physical play and showing the willingness to get into the dirty areas to score goals. The Hurricanes have a lack of sizable wingers in their organization so Di Giuseppe helps fill a big hole. He just finished his freshman year at the University of Michigan and had a promising 11 goal, 26 point campaign which ranked him sixth on the team.He was previously more than a point-per-game player with the Villanova Knights in the OJHL.
Let’s see what some of the experts have to say about him.
Corey Pronman from Hockey Prospectus
Di Giuseppe had a fine freshman season for the Wolverines and showed desirable traits as a toolsy physical scorer, but he still has some work to do. He’s a solid skater with fine speed and impresses more in that regard with his balance in the cycle game, on top of having very good agility and edge work as he can be pretty elusive from a standstill. Di Giuseppe is very skilled with the puck, flashing plus ability in that regard. He’s can dangle in open ice while being checked in tight and I’ve seen a few instances where he’s made a couple of nice coordinated plays handling the puck from his knees. Di Giuseppe also has good technique on his passes and will regularly make above-average feeds. He does have good vision, but his hockey sense is his one major issue. Much too often, he rushes plays, overreacts to pressure, makes passes to nobody, and looks like he’ll need a good number of years to iron out the kinks, although he does play decent defense. Di Giuseppe does a solid job attempting to be effective in the physical game, but he has a pretty skinny build and will need to put on a lot of muscle before his power game becomes something that can translate to the pro game.
Some will classify Di Giuseppe as a “pure-scorer”. And while there is no doubt that he can put the puck into net, there is far more to his game than just scoring goals. He is equally adept as a playmaker. Two areas that set Di Giuseppe apart from many other freshmen are his tremendous hockey instincts and his ability to cycle pucks down low. He thinks the game extremely well and has a low panic point. Di Giuseppe is also quite good not only around the net but along the boards and corners as well. He sees the ice and follows/supports plays really well too. Di Giuseppe possesses great poise and patience with the puck, and his decision-making is very good.
Phil Di Giuseppe is projected to go late in the first round or early in the second round in the upcoming NHL Draft in June. He is the highest ranked current collegian appearing on Central Scouting’s Mid-term rankings (28th) as well as the International Scouting Services’ (ISS) January rankings (37th).
So it sounds like the Hurricanes have a player with top-six potential, great offensive skills and physical presence. Di Giuseppe is the type of player that the Canes can have great use for but it appears that he’s awhile from being NHL ready. Seeing how he is only 18 years old and a freshman in college, that is completely understandable. According to Pronman, most of his issues relate to his decision making and hockey mentality and those are things that can improve as a player gets older. He has all the physical tools, but just needs to develop more before he is ready for the pros.
Overall, I like the pick. He is a few years away from being ready and it’s uncertain whether or not he will reach his full potential but the Hurricanes made a safe pick with him. They needed sizeable forwards in their prospect pool and they got one earlier today.