Carolina’s ability to find value in the later rounds of the NHL Entry draft has allowed them to quickly become one of the best teams in the league. In terms of how they are run, the Hurricanes remain one of the best organizations in the sport. With that in mind, let me direct your attention back to their performances on the draft floor. Carolina’s skill throughout their prospect pool has gotten a lot of attention.
One of my personal favorite prospects to discuss is Massimo Rizzo. Taken 216th overall in the 2019 NHL entry draft, the University of Denver forward has started to come along nicely. At 21 years old, we are a few years away from seeing the Burnaby, British Columbia native in the NHL. However, there is so much to like about this prospect. He’s got a fantastic skill set and we saw a little bit of that in the Canes prospect camp recently.
When he was at the Canes prospect camp, he put his innovation and skill on display. With great hands and a very good knowledge of what is required of him defensively, there is a lot to like about Rizzo’s direction. It’s worth noting he isn’t the most fluid of skaters, but if he can improve how he skates, this is a player with tremendous upside. Carolina retains the right to sign him until August 15th, 2024.
During his first year in the NCAA with the University of Denver, Rizzo won the national championship. This whole college hockey thing seems easy to him right now, but he was a big piece of the best college program in the country last season, so it is worth remembering that his 12 goals and 24 assists for 36 points in 39 games are really impressive totals.
It is fully expected that this upcoming year, Rizzo is sent back to the Mile High City to continue his development in the college circuit. However, there is the question of when he comes out of school and commits to playing hockey full time. Someone is going to be more than willing to take a flier on the 2001-born centerman. With the flashes he has shown, I hope the Canes make it work.