Yesterday, the Carolina Hurricanes re-assigned top forward prospect Zach Boychuk to the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL. While Boychuk showed some promise at the end of last season with five points over his last 20 games, the 20-year-old and former 14th overall pick failed to impress over newcomer Jeff Skinner and failed to show the ability to play a bottom six role.
The prognosis: demotion.
However, this demotion could be temporary and will likely help the team spread out their scoring out over three full lines; meaning Jussi Jokinen will not flank or pivot Eric Staal as he did last season. Instead Jokinen, coming off a 30 goal season, will mentor the young Skinner while receiving additional assistance from two-way forward Chad LaRose.
As of right now, here are the Canes’ lines:
Patrick O’Sullivan – Staal – Erik Cole
LaRose – Jokinen – Skinner
Tuomo Ruutu – Brandon Sutter – Drayson Bowman
Tom Kostopoulos – Patrick Dwyer/Zac Dalpe – Jiri Tlusty
Despite the team finishing at the bottom of the standings last year, they should bounce back should their lines find offensive chemistry. The team will be incredibly interesting to watch as they could either be very good or very bad depending on both the health and performance of their top players.