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Boychuk Back to Juniors

by Paul Branecky / Carolina Hurricanes

Zach Boychuk’s brief trial at the NHL level has ended, as the Hurricanes returned the 19-year-old forward to his junior team this afternoon.

Paul Branecky
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Boychuk went scoreless in his first two NHL games, but didn’t play himself off the team by any means.  As GM Jim Rutherford said last week, the adjustment from a junior forward coming off wrist surgery with no exhibition games under his belt to an NHL regular is a huge one, and he would have needed to show something truly special to stay with the Hurricanes for too much longer.

After being used sparingly in Los Angeles in his debut, Boychuk earned almost 15 minutes of ice time in last night’s game at Anaheim, coming extremely close to his first NHL goal when he one-timed a pass from Ryan Bayda wide of the net from out in front.  That’s where you see the nerves play in a little bit – he was roofing those all day long in practices during training camp. 

He’ll get plenty more chances next season.  Since no one expected him to skate for very much, if at all, this training camp after his surgery, I think both Boychuk and the Hurricanes can be very happy with how his professional career has started.

It will be interesting to see what happens line-up wise before the Canes’ next game at Pittsburgh this Thursday.  If Tuomo Ruutu isn’t ready to go by then, Boychuk’s reassignment means the Canes would only have 11 healthy forwards.  With a shortage at forward and a glut of defensemen, they could always dress seven on the back end, something coach Peter Laviolette has done in the past.

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