Apr 11, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Carolina Hurricanes center Zach Boychuk (32) skates with the puck in the first period against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Hurricanes: Zach Boychuk has Outgrown the AHL

The Carolina Hurricanes drafted Zach Boychuk with the 14th pick of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. After years of success with the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL, including a 91 points season in the 2006-2007 season, Boychuk looked to make that next big step to the NHL.

The path hasn’t been smooth for the 24-year-old forward. Years of inconsistent play has left the Carolina Hurricanes wanting much more than what they were getting. Zach Boychuk has consistently put up strong, if not incredible, numbers in the AHL, but that success has not translated to the NHL.

After a down year in the AHL in 2011-2012, Zach Boychuk has come back and posted two banner years with the Charlotte Checkers in the 2012-2013 season and the 2013-2014 season. Boychuk won the goal scoring title in the AHL this past season. He scored 36 goals last season.

Many fans still view Zach Boychuk as a failure, which is ridiculous when you consider that he is 24-years-old. Many fans fail to realize that Boychuk hasn’t been given any sort of opportunity to succeed in the NHL since 2011. Not every first round draft pick is an instant NHL player, in fact, very few are.

Zach Boychuk has seen limited time in the Carolina Hurricanes’ top-six forward unit since he was drafted, but he has still found a way to put up decent numbers in the Canes’ extremely flawed bottom six group of forwards.

To this day, I still do not understand why Drayson Bowman has played in 176 NHL games, but Zach Boychuk has played under 100 games in the NHL.

It looks like Zach Boychuk has outgrown the minor league level. He is more ready for the NHL than he ever has been. After being snubbed from the team last year after a great showing in training camp, Zach Boychuk has a great chance to make the team straight out of training camp with a brand new coaching staff.

Zach Boychuk is a pending restricted free agent. Ron Francis would be wise to sign Zach Boychuk and give him a chance to succeed with the new coaching staff that has yet to be named.





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