NHL mock draft: How all-time greats fit 2018 needs

Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images
Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images /
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Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images /

. Center. . Mario Lemieux. 2. player. 109

It’s tempting to draft an elite goaltender here. After all, the Carolina Hurricanes are famous for having goaltending woes. Especially in recent seasons. However, name the last team to win a Stanley Cup without a true top center. You can’t.

The Kings have Anze Kopitar, the Blackhawks have Jonathan Toews, the Penguins have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Boston Bruins have Patrice Bergeron. Carolina has no one like that. Mario Lemieux gives the Canes an elite franchise center to build around.

There’s a good argument they should go with Wayne Gretzky. It’s a matter of preference. In his prime, Lemieux accomplished things even The Great One never did. Lemieux once missed two months due to Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and still led the NHL in scoring. That’s a peak even Gretzky never reached.

The Great One is the smartest hockey player ever, bar none. How else could an undersized center who wasn’t an elite skater and didn’t shoot hard put up the most points ever? However, Lemieux had better physical tools. He’s a prototypical center with perfect size, terrific speed, and a huge chip on his shoulder.

And hey, if Lemieux got injured, maybe he could give Thomas Dundon some advice on how to be a great owner.