April 6, 2013; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes center Zac Dalpe (22) celebrates his 3rd period goal against the New York Rangers at the PNC center. The Rangers defeated the Hurricanes 4-1. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Is This Zac Dalpe's Year?

In recent years, the Carolina Hurricanes have had a number of exciting forward prospects that have failed to live up to expectations, such as Zach Boychuk, Drayson Bowman (who could still make the team) and Evgeni Dadonov.

2008 second rounder Zac Dalpe could be joining that list in the near future if he doesn’t make the Hurricanes team this year.

The Canes selected Dalpe with the 45th pick in the 2008 Draft. The 23-year-old went on to play two seasons at Ohio State University, scoring 45 points in 39 games in his sophomore year. After that season, he was signed to an ELC and played 15 and 16 games in the NHL over the next two years.

Looking back, it may have been smarter for Dalpe to play another season in college, continuing to develop at a rate more acclimated to him. On the other hand, he did score 57 points in 61 games in his first AHL season, but has yet to translate that in the NHL.

Last season, Dalpe played in 10 games for the Hurricanes, which would have been about 20 in a regular 82-game season.

Nathan Gerbe will give Zac Dalpe competition in training camp. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

At the end of the year, Dalpe was a RFA. Him and the Canes eventually agreed on a one-year deal, which is not a good thing for Dalpe.

The Hurricanes brass did not have enough confidence in the Ontario native to sign him to a longer contract and have the ability of releasing him to free agency at the end of the season.

But in training camp, Dalpe has done a good job of nailing down a roster spot. He’s played on Jordan Staal‘s line with Tuomo Ruutu and scored a goal in the second scrimmage.

But things will get tougher for Dalpe with Nathan Gerbe coming to camp. The two will compete for a wing spot on the third line in preseason and Gerbe has more experience in the NHL than Dalpe does.

Dalpe has had a tough time sticking with the Hurricanes roster in the past. This year may be his last chance to make the team. The motivation alone may be enough for him to earn a spot.

Tags: Carolina Hurricanes Nathan Gerbe Zac Dalpe

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