The Carolina Hurricanes
announced on Thursday that they have agreed to terms with forward Victor Rask
on a three-year, entry-level contract.
Rask, chosen in the second round (No. 42) last June, currently leads the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League with 10 points (6 goals).
"Victor is a smart player with a lot of offensive upside to his game," said Carolina's Director of Hockey Operations, Ron Francis
. "He is leading Calgary in scoring so far this year, and we are excited to watch him continue to develop."
The deal pays Rask $550,000 in the first year, $650,000 in the second year and $750,000 in the third year at the NHL level, or he will make $70,000 per year at the minor-league level. He also receives a signing bonus of $277,500.
The Leksand, Sweden, native had an impressive showing during the Traverse City Prospects Tournament in September. Rask played in 37 games for Leksand in the Swedish Elite League last season, producing 5 goals and 11 points. He also represented his country and won a silver medal at the Under-18 World Junior Championship in Buffalo, collecting 2 goals and 5 points in six games. He was named one of the top three players on the team.
It appears the adjustment to the North American game hasn't really fazed the 6-foot-2, 194-pound Rask, who was one of 21 Carolina prospects competing at the Traverse City prospects tournament.
"I need to get quicker because everything happens faster here; the rink is smaller and the zones are bigger," Rask told NHL.com in September. "It's more physical here than in Sweden, but I think I got it in me so that's no problem."
Carolina general manager Jim Rutherford is glad Rask decided to perfect his game in North America this season instead of returning to Sweden.
"I think it would be good for his maturity on and off the ice and to start to learn the North American culture and game," Rutherford told NHL.com. "Based on what I've seen, he's a guy that could play in the AHL or in junior hockey, so it'll boil down to what's the best for him and the best thing for him is to play somewhere where he'll play a lot of minutes and play in all situations."
Rutherford felt Rask wasn't given the proper chance in Sweden.
"He played in a situation that didn't give him an opportunity and expose his real assets," Rutherford said. "He didn't play enough minutes, didn't play in the right situations, and that's the point I'm trying to make with regard to him playing in North America this season. You can certainly see why he was rated in the first half of the first round at the start of the season; he's a highly-skilled player who does things at high tempo with his head up. He's well aware of where he's supposed to be on the ice."
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale