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Foegele to Make NHL Debut Against Ottawa

Foegele leads AHL rookies in goals this season

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

Warren Foegele has memories of playing road hockey, pond hockey and mini sticks with his older brother, Reese, their own version of Hockey Night in Canada.

They'd "just try to be one of the players," Foegele recalled.

On Monday night against the Ottawa Senators, Foegele will be one of those players when he makes his National Hockey League debut with the Carolina Hurricanes.

"A little bit nervous. My first pregame skate there. A couple bad passes," he said after Monday's morning skate in Raleigh. "I'm just excited for the opportunity. I'm just ready to play. I think after the first shift things will start to settle down."

"We just want him to go out and play. Play fast, do what he does and not think too much," head coach Bill Peters said. "I know he's excited, and he should have a lot of energy."

Video: Warren Foegele: "I'm definitely excited"

Foegele will dress in a locker room with Phil Di Giuseppe, Valentin Zykov and Roland McKeown, among others. He'll compete in a game featuring Jason Shaya on the play-by-play call.

The familiar trappings are there, but a Charlotte Checkers game it is not. Foegele will be the fifth player to make his NHL debut with the Hurricanes this season.

"It's nice to have some familiar faces," said Foegele, who will have his parents, brother and girlfriend in attendance. "I'm definitely excited."

The Hurricanes recalled the 21-year-old forward on Sunday evening. Foegele has assembled a stellar rookie season in Charlotte. He's registered 42 points (26g, 16a) in 65 games and participated in the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic. He ranks tied for seventh in the AHL and leads all league rookies in goals, and he ranks tied for first in the league in game-winning goals (8). Of Foegele's 26 goals, 22 have been scored at even-strength, and his four shorthanded goals rank tied for second in the AHL and tied for first among league rookies.

Video: Hurricanes Prospect Profile: Warren Foegele

"He's had a real good year," Peters said. "Good on the penalty kill and lots of speed. We'll see it here tonight at the NHL level."

"Coach Vellucci has been pressing just to keep skating and working hard, and I think I've done that for the majority of the year. That's why I'm here right now," Foegele said. "I've just got to work hard and move my feet."

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound forward will skate on a line with Derek Ryan and Joakim Nordstrom to his right tonight. He will be deployed on the penalty kill, as well.

"Well, hopefully not. Hopefully we don't take [a penalty]," Peters joked.

"I've just got to stay confident and play the game hard," Foegele said. "If you work hard, usually good things happen."

Working hard, striving for consistency, being ready for each and every game - these are pieces of advice Foegele has picked up along the journey of his first professional season. Pretty simple words of wisdom, and the advice is similar for his first NHL game.

"Just relax and have fun out there," he said. "You only get one first NHL game, so just try not to be too nervous and have fun out there."

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