Victor Rask started the season viewed as the Carolina Hurricane’s third-best prospect in the system, behind only Elias Lindholm and Ryan Murphy. Some even thought he would be able to make the team out of training camp.
But in the past couple months, Rask has fallen off. He scored two games ago against the Abbottsford Heat and has 24 points in 49 games, which aren’t bad numbers, but not the same pace that he was on at the start of the season.
And there are a few reasons for that. Lines have been shuffled all season for the Checkers with callups. Terry, Boychuk and Aaron Palushaj have all had stints with the Canes, but the biggest factor may be Brett Sutter back with the team.
At the start of the season, Sutter was with the Hurricanes, but since being sent down, has taken over center on the first line. Now Rask plays on the second with Palushaj and Nicolas Blanchard.
However, Palushaj is having a great season, so Rask should be able to piggyback off of that, but that has not been the case at all. Chemistry could be taking some time to develop.
Another reason could be the increased toughness and traveling done in the AHL than juniors. This is Rask’s first season playing with full-grown men in North America and after almost 50 games, his body may be a little worn out. It’s a common thing that happens with rookies in the NHL, but goes a little unnoticed in the AHL.
Then there’s also the performance of the Checkers, which is nothing to be proud of. The team just ended a five-game losing streak last night and sit 13th in the Western Conference. The play of the team is likely factoring Rask’s play also.
The Hurricanes would probably like to see more scoring from Rask, who is projected as a two-way forward, but possibly because of a multiple set of reasons things just aren’t going that way right now. Hopefully for him and the team, it’s not a lasting issue.