Last season was a rough one for Zach Boychuk. Three different NHL teams, 13 games in the NHL and right back where he started with the Charlotte Checkers by the end of the season.
It looked like the opportunity to play in the top league in the world had passed by the 14th overall pick in the 2008 Draft. With all those chances at making a lineup, who would give Boychuk another shot at the dream?
But the Carolina Hurricanes decided to sign Boychuk again to a one-year/two-way deal at the end of August. The 24-year-old didn’t last long in training camp, being cut in the first group of cuttings and sent right back to the Checkers.
This season, Boychuk is having one of his best in the AHL with 27 points in 29 games and his strong play warranted him a one-game callup at the beginning of the season. Boychuk recorded an assist in the game with the Canes, but was sent back down immediately afterwards.
However, Boychuk will get another shot – and probably his best this season – to staple down a spot with the Hurricanes with Jiri Tlusty going on injured reserve after an appendectomy. The Czech Republic native is expected to miss two to three weeks.
It’s obvious that the Hurricanes have more confidence in Boychuk than they did last season. The team could have called up Chris Terry or Brett Sutter, who have both seen more games with the Canes this season, but decided to give Boychuk the recall.
Now Boychuk has the chance to turn that confidence into a spot on the team and he’ll be doing it by replacing a player the team has been rumored to be shopping around the league in Tlusty.
This time, the circumstances are perfect for Boychuk. He’s played strong in the AHL, has the confidence of the organization and is replacing a player the team wouldn’t mind trading.
Now it’s up for the player to take advantage of the opportunity.