Giving Cam Newton a versatile receiver would help keep this offense fresh and allow Carolina to draft offensive and defensive line throughout the rest of the draft.
Looking at the Panthers’ roster, it’s clear this team has a lot of talent but also a lot of holes. An infusion of young talent on offense and defense is sorely needed and the new talent needs to be able to contribute early.
Carolina has to use its four picks in the top 100 on players who not only fill a need but also can step onto the field in 2018 and claim a prominent role in the lineup.
(He posted 50-goal seasons at various levels in each of his four seasons before coming to the NHL.) We have already seen this postseason how important Hischier and McAvoy are to their respective teams. Meanwhile, Boeser may already be the next face of the Vancouver Canucks following the retirement of the Sedins.
My answer, however, is Barzal, the unequivocal Calder Trophy front-runner. Russ Farwell, the GM of Barzal’s junior team, the Seattle Thunderbirds, told me in January that, as he watched Barzal thrive with the New York Islanders from afar, the thing that impressed him most was that Barzal hadn’t changed his game at all — despite the significant talent jump from the WHL to NHL. Combine that confidence with pure talent and you have a recipe for a long and illustrious NHL career. Plus, everything you hear about Barzal is that he’s a true student of the game. The 20-year-old is poised for long-term success.
Safety: The Panthers parted ways with Kurt Coleman this offseason to clear cap space and to get younger and faster at the position. They signed former Titans safety Da’Norris Searcy in free agency and Mike Adams is likely to start again at strong safety. But the former should be more of a depth signing, and the latter, at 37, is no spring chicken, so this position needs to be addressed sooner than later.