The Carolina Hurricanes did not sign one of their draft prospects.
Former Carolina Hurricanes’ prospect Luke Henman goes unsigned. What’s next for the young forward?
Drafted in the fourth round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, the Carolina Hurricanes had until 5 pm on June 1st to sign center prospect Luke Henman to an entry level deal before losing his rights. Now that the deadline is in the rearview mirror, it appears as if he is bound for unrestricted free agency.
In the first draft done under Don Waddell and Co., Henman was a guy who clearly had a high hockey IQ and raw talent but was projected all over the board for one simple reason, he lacked size. Listed at 6’0” 143 lbs, it was clear that he was going to have to put on a fair amount of weight to have success at the NHL level, especially at the center ice position.
Entering his first prospect camp with the Canes, management saw the potential in the young forward. As a guy who compared himself to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, scouts knew he had a strong competitive level and a gritty element to his game but wanted him to focus more on putting on some mass when he returned back to junior hockey.
Flash forward two years, he’s only managed to put on 16 lbs, making him still extremely skinny and light for an NHL player. Likely the main reasoning for the Canes opting not to sign the 20-year-old, it appears as if he now eligible to sign with any other franchise once the free agency period opens up.
Had the Carolina Hurricanes opted to sign him to an entry level deal they would have had two options. First, they could have sent him back to the QMJHL where he’s played 193 games for the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada for his overage season.
After playing two mediocre seasons, it appeared as if the Armada was finally taking steps in the right direction this season. In his first year as captain, Henman set career highs in all offensive categories (25 goals, 49 assists, and 74 points) while leading his team to first place in the West Division.
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The other option would have had him start his professional career in either the AHL or ECHL, all dependent on his performance in training camp. Had this been the case it still would have taken some time before we’d see him with the Canes in Raleigh, if he made it to the NHL at all.
Now as a UFA, he still has the same two options should another team go ahead and sign him to a deal. If he remains unsigned, however, he will return back to Juniors for his overage season with the goal of earning a contract upon its conclusion.
Henman was the second highest player from the 2018 draft to go unsigned after Toronto’s Riley Stotts who was drafted 83rd overall.
Question for CC readers: Do you agree with the Carolina Hurricanes’ decision not to sign Henman to his entry level deal?