In his second tour of duty with the Carolina Hurricanes this season, Drayson Bowman
has impressed with his increased confidence level and offensive awareness with the puck.
|Michael Smith |
Bowman began the season with the Hurricanes, traveling with the team overseas and on its extended West Coast trip. At the end of that eight-game stint, however, his minutes dropped to a season-low 4:37 against Washington on Oct. 27.
He was shortly thereafter assigned to Charlotte, where he made an immediate offensive impact. Looking for that same result, the Canes recalled him on March 10. Since then, Bowman has exuded a more complete offensive game not as evident earlier in the season.
“Seems like I’m more confident,” he said. “Being here kind of gives you a certain confidence, and I want to keep building on that.”
His play hasn’t been overlooked by the Canes’ coaching staff, which has rewarded the 22-year-old forward with enhanced minutes. On Wednesday night, Bowman had 11:30 of ice time, which included power-play time and three shifts in the third period with Eric Staal
on the top line.
“It was fun,” Bowman said of playing with Staal. “Playing more minutes, I got a better feel for the flow of the game and tried to show what I can do with the puck on the offensive side.”
“I think his play earned him the right to be on the power play,” coach Paul Maurice said. “The power play was good and confidence comes with that.”
Bowman’s power-play line with Brandon Sutter
and Chad LaRose
netted the team’s first goal on the man-advantage in 29 tries. Before LaRose’s deflection goal, Bowman had a backhand chance in the slot that forced James Reimer to make a good save.
“We had some good chances, and it was good for me to get out there in that situation,” Bowman said. “It’s something I played a lot in juniors and minors, so it felt good.”
Bowman pointed to what he worked on in Charlotte – dominating the game more by shooting the puck and using his speed – as a reason for his increased level of play thus far with the Canes.
That burst of speed and individual effort was on display on Wednesday night in the third period when Bowman weaved his way around a Toronto defender, but the shot missed the net.
Like the rest of the Canes’ offense, though, it seems his chances are on the brink of becoming goals. Even though Bowman is scoreless in 12 total games this season with the Canes, he totaled 30 points (12g, 18a) in Charlotte.
“In one year’s time, his skating stride and his strength has improved greatly,” Maurice said. “I think it’s just a matter of time before he scores fairly consistently in this league.”
Against the visiting Islanders tonight, Bowman doesn’t expect to change much in his game. And if Wednesday night is any indication, he might see more playing time at even strength and on the power play.
“I’m just going to do the same thing,” he said. “Just trying to build on the confidence, and maybe shoot one in the net.”