After his first game back from the AHL Chicago Wolves, Jack Drury played like he’d never left the Carolina Hurricanes. In fact he played better than he did before leaving the NHL back in December. Already, Hurricanes fans are asking not if Drury is here to stay, but when will we know he is staying for good?
Carolina Hurricanes Play-By-Play Announcer Mike Maniscalco and Canes Alumni Shane R. Willis both agreed Jack Drury is going to remain in Raleigh. Experts on the Twitter bird think he’ll stay. Our “Most Junior Canes Reporter” thinks he is here to stay, maybe “for forever.” (Also be on the look out for more hot takes from our “Most Junior Hurricanes Reporter” soon). Canadiens Fan Randy F. hates Jack Drury, hates he is not going back to Chicago, hates his stupid nickname, and especially hates his boyish good looks. But even Canadiens Fan Randy F. knows in his heart of hearts Jack Drury is too good not to stay.
BUT WHEN WILL WE KNOW HE IS HERE FOR GOOD?
Taking off the rose colored glasses, and putting on perhaps a more conservative set, it is clear to see there are three, maybe for different hurdles Jack Drury has to clear in order to stay under the black and read storm flags. Some of which are, unfortunately, out of his control. Thought not completely.
First off, this season. Call this a hurdle if you will, but realistically, we know Jack Drury is here with the Carolina Hurricanes until the end of the season. With the injury to Andrei Svechnikov and the fact Chicago does not have a center with the same numbers ready for a call up, Jack Drury is in Raleigh for the remaining 16 regular season games and however many play-off games the Hurricanes play. That much is a given. There is only the slimmest chance someone will drop out of the sky for the taking on the waiver wire, but would they match Drury? Doubtful at best. So Drury easily steps over that hurdle if you want to even call it one.
Moving past the end of the season comes the first real hurdle. Summer Contract Season. We will only know Jack Drury is a Carolina Hurricanes player after all the necessary “big named” contracts are signed. And there are some big ones due for re-sign including Jordan Staal and Frederik Andersen. Plus the Canes will have to consider whether resigning Max Pacioretty is a possibility. Though Ondřej Kaše will more than likely off the books, as it has been reported he plans to leave the NHL for European hockey, so the Canes will have some room under the salary cap.
Who signs contracts, at what price, and if there are contracts extended is just one of the hurdles Jack Drury has to clear that are not necessarily up to him. The other big one is just how long it takes Andrei Svechnikov to get back to his peak form next year. Svechnikov will certainly have time to recuperate, maybe the ONLY silver lining to the the timing of his injury, but there are some things only game experience can cure. It is completely feasible that Jack Drury starts out the season with the Hurricanes as Svechnikov ramps back into full time playing, which would extend his stay. Indefinitely? Not likely. But for how long next year? We do not know.
Rounding out the hurdles Jack Drury has in front of him, yet oh so far out of his control is the NHL draft, and what the Hurricanes target. It is still a ways away, but there could be a center open for the taking, at the right time, that bumps Drury from his spot. You never know when it comes to draft day. Whether the Carolina Hurricanes do that to Drury remains to be seen, though it does lead to perhaps the biggest (also the most in his control ) hurdle facing Captain America’s stay with the Canes.
How good will Jack Drury play given his time with the Hurricanes and can he force Carolina to keep him with the Hurricanes?
I, for one, hope he plays lights out and makes it impossible for the Hurricanes not to keep him on the roster.
Already, the Canes have seen Drury plans to make his stay permanent. In one game back, he scored one goal, and made at the very least two stellar passing plays that created scoring opportunities. That is, however, one game. Sixteen games remain. And in order to make up for the loss of Andrei Svechnikov, the all of the Hurricanes can and will have to produce more for the rest of the season and into the play-offs, including Jack Drury.
Besides the great game against the Winnipeg Jets, Drury’s playing career, and the ability to produce solid numbers consistently, helps make the case. A banner year in 2021-22 with the Calder Cup winning Chicago Wolves, where he produced points in 76% of 68 games he played, is certainly worth noting. The 11 goals and 13 assist in 37 games this year with the Wolves is also nothing to sneeze at. Five points in 20 NHL games with the Hurricanes cannot, and should not be ignored either.
As a Canes fan, and a Jack Drury fan I hope he ends up putting together a point-a-night streak from now until the end of the season. Not only would those top flight performance help the Hurricanes and their play-off chances, it almost insure Jack Drury’s stay as Hurricane lasts well into the foreseeable future.