Saturday, June 25, 2011

Edmonton Oilers

Keegan Lowe didn't mince words. A few years ago, he sat in the stands wanting the Carolina Hurricanes to lose.
Now he hopes to help them win.
The son of a former Edmonton Oilers captain and current team executive became the Hurricanes' most intriguing pick of the draft's second day Saturday when Carolina took the defenseman in the third round.
Keegan Lowe was at the RBC Center pulling for his father Kevin's team in 2006, when Carolina claimed the club's only Stanley Cup by beating Edmonton in a Game 7.
"Obviously, I was cheering for the Oilers — I can't lie about that — back in '06, but what I noticed was how big hockey actually is down in Raleigh," Lowe said. "I didn't know that before I went down there. It opened my eyes a bit to hockey in the warmer places down on the East Coast."
The Hurricanes have only made the playoffs once since then, missing out this year when they lost in their regular-season finale. They spent Day 2 of the draft restocking their organization with prospects and building depth.
Carolina sandwiched its selection of Lowe with a pair of European centers, taking Victor Rask of Sweden in the second round and Gregory Hofmann of Switzerland in the fourth.
Rask was the 42nd player taken, and that's the earliest the Hurricanes have taken a European player in a decade.
He was rated by Central Scouting as the 12th-best European skater. The 18-year-old had five goals and six assists in 37 games with Leksand of Sweden's top junior league, and his plan is to spend the upcoming season in Sweden continuing his development.
"My biggest dream is to play in the NHL, and I will work hard to get there," Rask said.
Lowe's father has been the Oilers' president of hockey operations since 2008, after playing 19 years in the NHL and spending eight years as Edmonton's general manager.
The younger Lowe went to Carolina with the 73rd overall pick, after finishing with two goals and 22 assists in 71 games with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League. He said he and Kevin Lowe discussed about the possibility of being drafted by the Oilers before Carolina snatched him up.
"We talked about it, if I would like going there, because obviously, if I didn't want to, it would be up to me," Keegan Lowe said. "He was just trying to treat me like any other player. He wasn't going to hate me if I wasn't going to go with them ... but I'm just happy to be picked by Carolina."
Hofmann, who went with the 103rd pick, had three goals and nine assists in 41 games with Ambri team in Switzerland.

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