NHL

Hurricanes wary of rushing Hanifin into fray

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Noah Hanifin poses with team executives after being selected as the number five overall pick to the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Noah Hanifin poses with team executives after being selected as the number five overall pick to the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Hurricanes admittedly have high hopes for Noah Hanifin, but that doesn't mean they intend to rush the 18-year-old defenseman into action.

Glen Wesley, the team's director of defenseman development, is wary about pushing Hanifan into the fray while the team continues to find its identity.

"We're a younger team in transition, and there are some disadvantages of (young defensemen) taking a beating playing in your own end," Wesley told The News & Observer of Hanifin, who was selected with the fifth overall pick of the 2015 draft.

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"That's the biggest thing. If you want someone coming in to play, you want them to understand how to play in your own end and be able physically to handle the battles while being able to move the puck quick in transition.

Hanifin, however, has his sights set on contributing right out of the chute after collecting five goals and 18 assists in 37 games as a freshman with Boston College.

"My goal is to play in the NHL," the 6-foot-3, 207-pound Hanifin said. "I don't want to play in the American (Hockey) League. That's what my focus is."

(h/t: The News & Observer)