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Drury hopes family ties pave way to spot with Hurricanes

Center prospect looks to follow father, uncle to NHL

by Kurt Dusterberg / Correspondent

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Jack Drury couldn't help but feel a rush of pride in the moments after he was selected by the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round (No. 42) of the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas on June 23.

That's because the 18-year-old center was following in the exact footsteps of his father, Ted Drury, who was chosen in the second round (No. 42) by the Calgary Flames in the 1989 NHL Draft and went on to have 93 points (41 goals, 52 assists) in 414 games during eight seasons in the NHL as a center.

"Then it popped in my head, 'Oh my God! I got taken No. 42 and so did he, and it brought a smile to my face," the younger Drury said. "It's one of those cool things you laugh about and enjoy together."

Jack Drury (5-foot-11, 175 pounds) will need to grow his game before he's ready for the NHL, so he will attend Harvard University in the fall, again following his father, who played three seasons there.

"I have to get a lot bigger, stronger and faster," he said. "I think the best path to do that is to go to college and get a couple years of strength and conditioning, as well as a heavy practice load. I think the competition in college is phenomenal, and I'm going to get a lot better."

Jack Drury already has shown he can elevate his production quickly. As a 16-year-old, he had 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in 44 games with Waterloo of the United States Hockey League; he followed that with 65 points (24 goals, 41 assists) in 56 games in 2017-18. The improvement didn't take him entirely by surprise.

"I have confidence in my abilities," said Drury, who set a USHL record last season with a 22-game point streak. "I think if I keep competing and getting better every day, I will get to a point where I can be an elite player in the NHL, and not just for a couple games but a long period of time."

Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour believes the family ties will benefit Drury, whose uncle, Chris Drury, had 615 points (255 goals, 360 assists) in 892 games during 12 NHL seasons and won the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001.

"The kids who grow up in that environment are fortunate because they get to see what their dad had to do to make it, so they've got an advantage in understanding the work and the commitment that it takes," Brind'Amour said. "I know in talking to him that he gets that. You get that ingrained in kids at a young age, that's why he's had the success he's had to this date."

Jack Drury calls himself a "two-way playmaker," a center who can defend well and also find open linemates to finish a play. But he knows those are just words, and he must back them up with production.

"You can have all the skill in the world, but the NHL is a business and you're expected to win," he said. "To do that you've got to perform. I've learned that you've got to bring it every single day if you want a spot."

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