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Wallmark to Make NHL Debut in Brooklyn

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

NEW YORK - It was Saturday night when Lucas Wallmark's phone rang.

"It was pretty late," he explained. "I was in my bed."

On the other end of the line was the news that he had earned his first NHL recall.

"It's everybody's dream to play in the NHL," he said with a smile.

After Valentin Zykov did so on Thursday, Wallmark will become the second Hurricane this week to live that dream. The Swedish forward will make his NHL debut with the Canes on Monday night in Brooklyn against the New York Islanders.

Recalled on Sunday evening, Wallmark joined his teammates in Manhattan before taking part in Monday's morning skate at Barclays Center.

"I'm really glad to get the opportunity," he said. "It's going to be really fun tonight. It's fun to be here."

"We'll hopefully get him a lot of ice time and find out what he's all about," head coach Bill Peters said. "I know he's had a good year at the American Hockey League level and has earned the call-up."

Indeed he has.

Wallmark helped the Canes capture the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Mich., in September. He then was then among the final few players trimmed from the Canes' training camp roster. In his first season in North America, the 21-year-old rookie leads the Charlotte Checkers with 21 goals and ranks second on the team with 39 points. Wallmark earned AHL Rookie of the Month honors in January after tallying seven goals in the first 13 games of the new year.

"It's been a pretty good season so far, and hopefully I can do well here tonight," Wallmark said.

"Solid year. Consistent year," Peters said of the reports from Charlotte. "He's smart. He knows how to play, he's always in position, aware defensively and responsible. He's had a breakout year offensively in North America."

Wearing the No. 71 with the Hurricanes, Wallmark will slot in the middle between wingers Joakim Nordstrom and Lee Stempniak.

"It's a good opportunity for him right now with us being dinged up a little bit. He's going to play with two good players and see if he can take advantage of it," Peters said. "His job is going to be to get the wingers the puck for sure, and it will be interesting to watch him on faceoffs at this level. Roddy has worked with him in the past and is confident in his abilities there."

Tonight's Metropolitan Division tilt is being broadcast nationally in the United States on NBCSN, and Wallmark said his parents would be tuning in from Sweden.

"You always want to score and do something good, but it's the first game," Wallmark said. "I'm really excited to be here. Hopefully I can play well and do something good out there."

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