26-Year-Old Right Wing – Free Agent
Zach Boychuk Contract Information:
Signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Hurricanes in July 2015. Deal is worth $600,000 at the NHL level.
Boychuk was assigned to AHL Charlotte on Friday pending waivers, Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer reports.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Boychuk fits the mold of a two-way forward. Unfortunately, his size really works against him at the pro level. He recorded 43 points, including 20 assists, and a plus-8 rating in 49 AHL games last season. Boychuk will start the season in AHL Charlotte.
Boychuk's 44 points in 64 AHL games last season was enough to land him a one-year, two-way extension with the Hurricanes organization in July. Nonetheless, the former first-round selection from 2008 would have to have to see a jump in offensive production in 2012-2013 to reach garner attention in most leagues. Turning 22 shortly after the season starts, Boychuk has a combined nine points over 39 NHL contests the last two seasons.
The Hurricanes have yet to take the training wheels off Boychuk, a top prospect picked by the club in the first round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. He failed to make the team out of training camp, but a series of recalls afforded him the chance to play in 23 games with the Hurricanes in 2010-11. Still, the better chunk of his season was spent with AHL Charlotte, where he reached 65 points (22 G, 43 A) in just 60 games. Boychuk doesn’t have ideal size for a center – he’s 5-foot-10, 185-pounds off the skates – though he makes up for it by possessing quick wheels and scoring upside. However, he isn’t worth endorsing outside of keeper leagues until he can start playing full-time for the Hurricanes.
Drafted in the first round in 2008, Boychuk was given 31 starts last season, with a good chunk of his appearances coming in the second half of the season, a time when the 'Canes were struggling just to come close to a .500 record. Sampling Boychuk on the third line, as Carolina did last year, might have been enough for the highly-regarded prospect to bust out in 2010-11. Listed at 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, Boychuk compensates for his smaller size by packing a quick shot, plus he's quick on his skates. Boychuk is one of the most popular prospects in the Carolina system, so even if he needs time to polish his game with Charlotte (AHL) to start the season, it might only take an injury, or a series of losses in Raleigh, for Boychuk to regain his spotlight as a promising youngster on the NHL stage.
There is a great chance this prospect will make a name for himself in the near future. At the very least, Boychuk’s already recognized by fans of the WHL, a junior league that he dominated as a member of the Lethbridge Hurricanes through four seasons. He’s versatile and quick on his skates, which should continue to be a boon to his development. The ‘Canes are crowded at the forward position, but expect the parent club to call on Boychuk from the minors if injuries strike.
Should be ready to resume training some time on the first month of the season, as he's recovering from wrist surgery. Boychuk has a great skill set, but at 5'9", 170, he isn't ready for the pounding of the NHL. Likely to spend the upcoming season at Albany of the AHL.