He doesn’t get quite as much attention as some of the other prospects in the Hurricanes’ system, but when it comes to pure offensive ability, Chris Terry
is a force to be reckoned with.
The 20-year-old winger recently completed a four-year junior career with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League, during which he scored a total of 289 points in 253 games. This past season, he scored 94 points (39 goals, 55 assists) in just 53 contests, which ranked second in the league behind super-prospect John Tavares – the favorite to be selected first overall in this summer’s NHL draft.
“If you’re a fan of the game and you’re a fan of offense, Chris Terry is a lot of fun to watch when he’s on top of his game,” said Tony MacDonald, the Hurricanes’ director of amateur scouting. “He can spin some magic when he has that puck. You talk about guys that are natural goal-scorers and natural point-producers, and he is every bit of that.
”He beats you with his smarts because he’s always thinking a play ahead,” MacDonald added. “You can’t give him any openings at all because he’ll take advantage of it. He’s proven to be that kind of a player right through his junior career.”
For a player taken in the fifth round (132nd overall) in the 2007 draft, Terry has turned out to be an excellent value pick for the Hurricanes. The team was able to grab him when they did partly because of a significant knee injury suffered prior to his draft year and partly because of his modest 5-foot-10, 195 pound frame.
However, after speaking with the staff at Plymouth, which falls under the same ownership structure as the Hurricanes, the NHL club became convinced that Terry could develop into a solid prospect.
“Everyone surrounding Plymouth spoke very highly of him in terms of his talent level, and usually a player like that you wouldn’t see in the fifth round,” said Jason Karmanos, the Hurricanes’ vice president and assistant general manager. “Size or not, he’s too talented of a guy to be sitting around that long on draft day.”
Although the knee injury had some lingering effects on his skating for quite some time, he still managed to produce at just under a point per game in his second year with the Whalers. It was in the following season, his first in the Hurricanes organization, that Terry erased any long-term concerns about his health with a 101-point campaign – an increase of 35 from the previous year.
Unfortunately, an untimely bout of mononucleosis caused him to miss out on Team Canada’s selection camp for the World Junior Championships the following year.
“I think he would have gotten a good look and had a chance to play on that team,” MacDonald lamented. “It was an inopportune illness that came along at the wrong time.”
While Terry still has needs to work on his quickness and defensive play – he’s not quite as advanced as fellow offensive prospects Drayson Bowman and Zach Boychuk in those areas - the team feels he can develop them over time.
“That’s all part of learning how to be a pro,” said MacDonald. “The deficiencies or the areas that he needs to improve upon are all well within his control or the control of the coaching staff. The strengths of his game – you can’t teach those things and they come natural to him.”
Besides his offensive talents, certain aspects of which the Hurricanes already believe to be NHL-ready, character is Terry’s strongest suit. In addition to his two OHL Player of the Month Awards, Terry was named the league’s Humanitarian of the Year and also received the first-ever Micky Renaud Captain’s Trophy for leadership on and off the ice.
He displayed a little of what earned him each of those awards in October, when he dyed his hair pink during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. He then convinced his entire team to follow suit, which was surely no small feat.
However, his most notable work in the community came even earlier when he learned about a 16-year old fan named Bobby Suvoy who was suffering from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Terry developed a strong personal relationship with Suvoy, visiting him regularly up until his passing in May of 2008. Since then, he’s averaged close to two community appearances per week.
While none of that speaks directly to his actual on-ice performance (having cracked the 100 minute mark in penalties one season, it may do the opposite), it does give one confidence that he’ll continue to work hard to fully develop his game and become a more well-rounded player.
That quest will begin next season as Terry, along with a number of other Carolina prospects, will enter the professional ranks for the first time. After signing his first contract in recent weeks, he figures to be part of the Hurricanes’ American Hockey League affiliate next year.
“It’s time for him now to make that next jump, and what we like about what he’s done over the last couple of years is that he’s making strides towards improving his overall conditioning and strength,” said Karmanos. “He’s clearly a guy that’s done everything that he can at the junior level.”