During the 2022 NHL trade deadline frenzy, the Hurricanes acquired two players: one from Columbus and another from Florida. The deadline acquisition from Columbus is making himself a name with the big club right now, but there was another player added to the system in a deal with the Florida Panthers as they ate a quarter of a player’s salary for a deal to be cap compliant. Youngster Tyler Inamoto.
Carolina added Tyler Inamoto from Florida. I’m going to go out on a limb and work on the basis you have no idea who he is, and that is very fair. Inamoto was a 2017 5th round pick of the Florida Panthers, 133rd overall. He’s not going to be well known, but the defenseman is at the University of Wisconsin who is serving as an Alternate Captain for the badgers is undergoing a rough season.
Not well known for his scoring, the defenseman is usually someone who sits on the ice and not a lot really happens. A low-event defenseman like Inamoto is someone you ideally want on the third pairing because they can play as much ice time as you’re willing to give them without being completely leaking faucets in their own zone. However, Inamoto has had a slightly bigger role with Wisconsin.
Inamoto might not be a household name, but he’s playing with Corson Ceulemans. Ceulemans is an offensive-minded defenseman that doesn’t pay much attention defensively. Inamoto is the defensive presence that brings stability to that pair. This also proves Inamoto is capable of playing alongside a very talented offensive defenseman, seeing as Ceulemans was a Columbus first-round draft choice in 2021.
At the age of 22, Inamoto is coming to the end of his tenure in the NCAA. Carolina will lose his rights on August 15th, when he would then become a free agent. Obviously, he could end up anywhere at that point, but Carolina would have the first crack at trying to convince the young man to join their organization. This isn’t anything you’d have to worry about contract limits as it’s after the opening of free agency.
I can already hear some of you saying through the screen, “Dumbo, he was just a throw-in, he’s unlikely to ever impact the NHL” and while I very much understand where you’re coming from, you never know in this sport. In a game that’s placed on 0.75 inches of ice with a vulcanized rubber disk, we love the feel-good stories. Inamoto may never be an NHL player, but he’s not someone you should push from your memory yet.