The Carolina Hurricanes call up the Charlotte Checkers leading goal scorer this afternoon
We wrote about Lucas Wallmark’s excellent scoring season in Charlotte just yesterday. It seems the Carolina Hurricanes are taking note as well because they called up the center this afternoon. Wallmark’s trip to Raleigh most likely means the injury to Valentin Zykov in last night’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs is going to keep the Russian out for at least one more game.
With no timetable yet for the return of Phil Di Giuseppe and Brock McGinn, the Carolina Hurricanes were in need of another player. Against Toronto, Peters was forced to play Ryan Murphy in the twelfth forward spot and short shift his defense. Suboptimal to say the least and just like the last game the Canes were forced to do this, the end result was a loss as well.
In the press release on the roster move, the Carolina Hurricanes had this to say about the center:
"Wallmark, 21, leads the Checkers with 21 goals this season, ranks second on the team with 39 points and leads all team forwards with a plus-7 plus/minus rating. The Umea, Sweden, native is in his first North American season after playing the last three seasons primarily with Lulea of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL). The Hurricanes drafted Wallmark (6’0″, 176 lbs.) in the fourth round, 97th overall, in the 2014 NHL Draft. He has represented Sweden at eight international tournaments, including the 2014 and 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championships."
What to Watch For
There’s no denying that most of the scouts before the draft praised Wallmark’s playmaking abilities. Elite prospects described the Swede’s play:
"Wallmark has first-class hockey sense and vision. Very smart player and a highly skilled playmaker. Has good puck control and will also battle hard for the puck. Good defensive game and face-off skills"
The guys at All About the Jersey, a New Jersey Devils blog, did a great scouting report on Wallmark where they quoted Hockey Prospectus:
"He is a smart two-way player, who sees all of the options available to him well. He makes goodMore from Cardiac Cane2023 Southeast Rookie Showcase: Takeaways from the Canes’ Strong Showing in FloridaWeek Two Coverage Of College Hockey In NCDerek Stepan Ends His On Ice Career As A HurricaneThe Southeast Rookie Showcase Will Be a Good Look at Carolina’s FutureNoesen Ready To Provide Depth For Canesdecisions, and he is capable of slowing the play down. He is also effective as the point man on a power play. His above-average puck skills allow him to create space and evade checkers, but he is not a flashy dangler. He played a committed defensive game, but he will need to get stronger to have better value in that area. Still, it is safe to say that his defense is not a liability."
Dobber Prospects updated Wallmark’s status on him in December 2016:
"Through 28 games in his rookie AHL season, Wallmark has totalled [sic] five goals and eight assists, good for fourth on the Checkers, who are at the moment quite offensively challenged. He has above average ability as a playmaker and thinks the game at an extrememly [sic] high level."
Every scout seemed to be high on Wallmark’s offensive abilities, and Wallmark’s play this season supports their assessment. Wallmark has found a way to score in the AHL, and score quite well. The move from European ice to the smaller North American rinks doesn’t seem to have hampered his ability to put the puck in the net.
One Glaring Weakness
The one thing that every single scouting report seems to note about Wallmark was his lack of skating ability. Elite Prospects pointed this out, “One concern is his skating ability, as he lacks some speed and acceleration.”
The Hockey Prospectus quoted at All About the Jersey also pointed out his skating as well. “His skating is his largest issue, as he is average if not below-average on his feet, with unimpressive speed. His size is also a concern, as he is just 5’10”-5’11,” said Hockey Prospectus. And even in their report, Dobber Prospects mentioned his skating, “…needs to continue to improve his skating if he is to reach his high ceiling as a point producer.”
Obviously, Wallmark’s skating hasn’t been a detriment to his scoring in the AHL. The thing to watch for now is if Wallmark’s skill can overcome his skating and his size. Small players can make it in the NHL. But the idea of a small forward who is also slow doesn’t bode well for Wallmark’s future. So keep an eye on how Wallmark moves around the ice and that will be a clue as to whether he has a future on the Carolina Hurricanes.