Although Brandon Sutter has a great chance to make the Hurricanes out of camp this year, he isn’t the only player from his draft class who’s making the big club take notice.
Drayson Bowman, taken in the third round (72nd overall) of the 2007 draft, has done nothing but impress since joining the Canes organization. He turned heads before the season even started at training camp, and then went on to break out in a big way with Spokane of the WHL, scoring 82 points in 66 games, including 42 goals, which tied him for fourth place in the league.
From there, he went on to lead his team to the Memorial Cup Championship, an accomplishment forever immortalized on YouTube. Unfortunately, I can’t make him out in that video, but he’s in there somewhere along with fellow Canes prospect Justin McCrae.
Bowman’s great year prompted the Hurricanes to reward him with a contract three-year contract, which they didn’t need to do in order to retain his services and let him develop for another year in junior. The only thing Bowman would need the contract for at this point would be to play for the Hurricanes in the NHL.
”The reason we gave him the contract was to give him a chance to make the team,” said Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford. “We didn’t have to give it to him this early, but we felt that with everything he’s accomplished he earned the contract.”It would take an awfully good showing at camp for Bowman to make the team, as Sutter has the inside track on the one spot open at forward. However, Assistant GM and Director of Player Development Ron Francis, who has been following Bowman closely, said he does expect to see in the NHL at some point.
”We have good depth at the forward position right now in our lineup, so in all honesty it’s going to be tough to crack it,” said Francis. “Is he capable of doing that? Yeah, he could, and if he does, great. If he doesn’t, we certainly expect him, and it’s just a matter of time before he gets up here.”
If he doesn’t make the team and returns to Spokane
for another year, Francis said that keeping the right frame of mind will be important for his development.
”It’s all really about attitude,” said Francis. “If he doesn’t make our club and he goes back to juniors with the attitude that ‘I don’t have to work,’ and ‘Things are going to be fine, I’ll just do it next year,’ you waste a year of your development. If you go back with the attitude of “Hey, they made a mistake, they shouldn’t have sent me back, I’m going to show them they’re wrong and I’m going to get up there,’ I think ultimately that’s going to be a quicker path for you.”