Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 10/04/08 at 01:07 PM ET
The Hurricanes are expected to make an announcement today about their 2008 first round pick (and birthday boy) Zach Boychuk at some point today. Chip Alexander of the News & Observer has been reporting all week that negotiations have been ongoing and that they are very close to signing a deal that is identical to the contract 2007 top pick Brandon Sutter signed back in March. Today is Boychuk’s 19th birthday, which means he is ineligible for the AHL. His options will be to play under contract on the big team, or go back to junior hockey.
Boychuk was the 14th overall pick at this summer’s entry draft in Ottawa. He scored 72 (33/39) points in 61 regular season games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the WHL, and he added 21 (13/8) points in the post-season. By the way, I recommend checking out the new and much improved Internet Hockey Database. He underwent some wrist surgery this summer which has kept him out of preseason games, but he has impressed the coaches in practice. So much that he is among the last men standing. Carolina’s training camp roster stands at 28 with one preseason tilt remaining.
The contract is expected to be for three years at $787,500 per season at the NHL level or $65k at the minor league level. If the contract is identical to Sutter’s, he will also earn a signing bonus of $262,500. The expectation is that he will be the last guy cut and will go back to Lethbridge. According to AHL rules, an underage player can join the AHL club when his junior club is eliminated from postseason play. This is exactly what Brandon Sutter did last spring.
It’s remarkable to me that the organization has such a high opinion of a guy who hasn’t even participated in full contact, game-speed drills. If he is as good as all this ballyhoo, Carolina will have a very good set of forwards in a couple of years’ time.
Hopefully, I’ll update this story later today.
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About Red and Black Hockey
David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.