Forward Zach Boychuk
is learning just how hard it is to crack the Carolina Hurricanes
roster these days.
While it's true the Hurricanes are in a transitional period -- expected to have several first-year players sprinkled throughout the lineup -- the lightning-quick Boychuk won't be a part of the youth movement to start this season after he was assigned to the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League on Wednesday.
Boychuk, 20, was selected in the first round (No. 14) of the 2008 Entry Draft. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound wing, who produced 3 goals and 9 points in 31 games with the Hurricanes last season, also notched 15 goals and 36 points in 52 contests with the AHL's Albany River Rats. In 237 career games in the Western Hockey League with the Lethbridge Hurricanes (2005-06 through 2008-09), Boychuk had 110 goals and 271 points.
"Zach had a good camp but not quite as good as we thought and, at this point, it's a numbers thing and we had to get our roster down."
-- Carolina General Manager Jim Rutherford
"Zach had a good camp but not quite as good as we thought and, at this point, it's a numbers thing and we had to get our roster down," Carolina General Manager Jim Rutherford told NHL.com.
The Hurricanes can carry a roster of 24 players, including one spare goalie, prior to leaving for the team's two 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere regular-season games against the Minnesota Wild
in Helsinki, Finland, on Oct. 7-8.
According to Rutherford, the club will have five first-year players in the fold during the Premiere contests, including forwards Drayson Bowman
, Zac Dalpe
and Jeff Skinner
, defenseman Jamie McBain
and goalie Justin Peters
, Carolina's director of forwards development, liked what he saw in Carolina's blue-chip prospects Dalpe and Skinner participating in the Traverse City NHL Prospects Tournament earlier this month.
"They're the ones I'll be watching … trying to help them get on the team because they're our top guys and there's going to be room for them on our roster," Brind'Amour told NHL.com. "We're expecting one, if not both of them, to be there. They're good players, and now it's our job to help them and make sure they become great players."
Rutherford admitted he wasn't overly disappointed that Boychuk didn't make the cut at this point in his career and he'll reap the benefits in Charlotte under head coach Jeff Daniels
"He's been in our system a few years now and he still has lots of time to develop," Rutherford said. "I'm sure Zach might be a little disappointed today, but he's going to be a very good pro."
The 'Canes wrap up their 2010 North American exhibition schedule on Friday at the RBC Center against the Atlanta Thrashers
. The club will then travel to St. Petersburg, Russia, where they will play an exhibition game against SKA St. Petersburg on Oct. 4.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale