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Hurricanes' Ryan to make NHL debut vs. Devils

Carolina rookie center, 29, had played in CIS, Europe and AHL

by Mike G. Morreale @MikeMorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

HURRICANES (28-26-10) at DEVILS (30-26-7)

TV: 7 p.m. ET; FS-CR, MSG+, NHL.TV

NEWARK, N.J. -- Carolina Hurricanes center Derek Ryan will make his NHL debut Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.

Ryan was recalled Monday from Charlotte of the American Hockey League. At age 29 years, 63 days, Ryan will be the oldest player to make his NHL debut with the Hurricanes, according to the Elias Sports Bureau; the previous oldest was forward David Gove, who was 27 years, 272 days old when he played his first NHL game Jan. 31, 2006.

After his junior-hockey career, Ryan spent four seasons at the University of Alberta and then four seasons in Europe. The Hurricanes signed him to a one-year, two-way contract June 16, 2015.

The Hurricanes trade of center Eric Staal to the New York Rangers gave Ryan his NHL opportunity.

Ryan likely will center the fourth line alongside left wing Brock McGinn and right wing Chris Terry. He will even have his own rooting section as his wife and son flew in from Charlotte, N.C., and his father and sister traveled from his hometown in Spokane, Wash., to be at the game.

"This is the moment every kid dreams of when playing hockey growing up," Ryan said. "And the route I've taken is a bit unconventional so it feels even better. I played at [the University of Alberta] where the NHL isn't really on the radar."

Charlotte was traveling back from two games against Manitoba in Winnipeg on Monday when Ryan learned he would have to grab a connecting flight to New Jersey to play Tuesday.

"Of course, when you see [the Hurricanes] making those trades you think there is a chance for someone from [Charlotte] to get the opportunity in Carolina and that was running through my mind," Ryan said. "It's something impossible not to think about."

Hurricanes coach Bill Peters, who coached Ryan with Spokane in the Western Hockey League, said he's happy to see Ryan get this chance. Ryan is captain in Charlotte and leads the team in goals (17) and points (42).

"He's a passionate hockey player and has done everything asked at every level," Peters said. "He's led a couple different leagues in Europe in scoring, had a great CIS [Canadian Interuniversity Sport] career at the University of Alberta. It'll be an exciting time for him and his family and it's been earned."

Family was on the mind of Hurricanes center Jordan Staal, who said he didn't get an opportunity to watch Eric Staal in his first game with the New York Rangers and brother Marc Staal against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday since the game was unavailable in his hotel room. He said he did exchange a few text messages with them afterwards.

Peters said it might take some time before Jordan recovers from the trade that sent Eric, the Hurricanes' captain since the 2009-10 season, to the Rangers.

"You just don't play your next game and everything is right back to where it was," Peters said. "That's not how it works. When you remove your captain out of the locker room it takes time. You don't want it to take too long but we're going to coach the same way and prepare the same way and have the same expectations.

"Jordan is a good professional and he'll be able to park it at game time. But it'll probably be something on his mind for the next seven to 10 days."

Devils coach John Hynes had 19 skaters on the ice for the morning skate but said he was unsure how his forward lines and defense pairings would look Tuesday. He said he'd make his decisions after the pre-game warmup.

The Devils and Hurricanes remain in the hunt for a wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Eastern Conference but the window is closing. The Devils have lost five of their past six games (1-5-0) and are five points behind the Penguins for the final wild card. The Hurricanes have lost three straight (0-3-0) and are six points behind the Penguins.

Here are the projected lineups:

HURRICANES
Joakim Nordstrom - Jordan Staal - Elias Lindholm
Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Phillip Di Giuseppe
Nathan Gerbe - Riley Nash - Brad Malone
Brock McGinn - Derek Ryan - Chris Terry

Jaccob Slavin - Ron Hainsey
Noah Hanifin - Brett Pesce
Michal Jordan - Ryan Murphy

Eddie Lack
Cam Ward

Injured: Justin Faulk (leg), Andrej Nestrasil (lower body), James Wisniewski (knee), Jay McClement (upper body)
Scratched: none

DEVILS
Sergey Kalinin - Adam Henrique - Tyler Kennedy
Reid Boucher - Travis Zajac - Kyle Palmieri
Joseph Blandisi - Jacob Josefson - Jordin Tootoo
Tuomo Ruutu - Stephen Gionta - Bobby Farnham

Andy Greene - Adam Larsson
John Moore - David Schlemko  
Jon Merrill - Damon Severson

Cory Schneider  
Keith Kinkaid

Injured: Michael Cammalleri (right hand), Patrik Elias (right knee), Jiri Tlusty (right wrist)
Scratched:Seth Helgeson, Devante Smith-Pelly

Status report: Murphy and McGinn were recalled Monday along with Ryan. All three will be in the lineup Tuesday. … Nestrasil will miss the remainder of the season because of a back injury. … Smith-Pelly, acquired in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens for left wing Stefan Matteau on Monday, will not be in the lineup. He arrived in New Jersey early this morning, made a short visit to Prudential Center and then left to get some sleep.

Who's hot: Rask has two goals and six points in the past nine games. … Boucher has three goals and seven points in the past nine games.

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