Last year I discovered the wonder of the Hurricanes Development Camp for the first time. For a week, I was bombarded (in the best possible way) with tweets, instagrams, YouTube videos and Facebook posts about these potential new Hurricanes players. In addition, the Canes organization were good enough to give us “Open Ice with Ryan Murphy”, a six part documentary following the Canes’ 2011 Draft Pick through the whole week.
This is just a preview of the whole series. They’re all available to watch on YouTube or the Hurricanes’ website.
I’d barely heard of Murphy before development camp, and the videos, but he soon ended up high on my list of favourites. The Open Ice documentary gave us a look behind the scenes that you don’t always get from a lot of NHL teams.
This year, development camp is due to start next week, and a tweet from the Canes revealed that there will be a new series of Open Ice this year (my guess is that it will be with Josh Wesley, but we’ll see).
This year, the team has 25 skaters and 3 goaltenders invited, although it seems that Alex Nedeljkovic, this year’s 2nd-round draft pick – has broken his thumb and won’t be there. Of those, 9 are listed as “camp invitees” which means that they were noticed by the Hurricanes at some point, but hadn’t been drafted. Last year, Sergey Tolchinsky was an invitee, who signed with the Canes not long after Development Camp, so it’s clear that the organization isn’t just inviting people to round out the numbers – they’re serious about finding new young talent.
There are a couple of names missing from the full roster, including Tolchinsky, and the 2012 draft picks Erik Karlsson (not that one!) and Collin Olson. Tolchinsky is staying in Russia for the World Junior Camp there; Karlsson is playing in Sweden this season and it was considered unnecessary for him to travel for his third development camp; while poor Olson is a victim of there being too many goaltenders. Perhaps with Nedeljkovic no longer attending, he’ll get a chance.
Obviously, like most people, I’m interested in how this year’s draft picks perform on the ice. With Hayden Fleury being a defenceman, it’s unlikely that he’ll make the NHL this year (it would be unusual for a #7 pick to make it in any position) but all eyes will certainly be on him and his draft pick teammates.
For me personally, I’m very keen to seen how Brock McGinn and Daniel Altshuller do. McGinn is the younger brother of Jamie McGinn (Colorado Avalanche) and Tye McGinn (Philadelphia Flyers), and with an impressive 85 points last season with the Guelph Storm, he could well be a permanent addition to the Checkers this season. Altshuller was drafted the same year as McGinn – 2012 – and has also been playing in the OHL since then. His save percentage last season with the Oshawa Generals was 0.917% with a GAA of 2.56 – which is comparable to both John Muse and the newcomer to the team, Drew MacIntyre. I don’t know if Altshuller will be ready to join the Checkers this season, but it surely can’t be too far off for him now.
Hopefully I’ll be able to keep up with the news from development camp. As always, I’ll probably be quicker to update on Twitter than here, so feel free to follow me there @CarolinaKaniac. But if nothing else, I’ll be back next weekend with a recap of what’s been going on in Raleigh.