When Jack Drury was called up from the AHL Chicago Wolves to fill in for Andrei Svechnikov, my first thought was “Why not Jamieson Rees?” Understandably Jack Drury knows the Carolina Hurricanes style better, and has more NHL experience. If his first game back on the Hurricanes’ roster against the Winnipeg Jets is any indication of his play, the Canes have made a good move with calling up Drury. Still, Rees’s numbers in Chicago are nothing to turn your nose up to, but I cannot help thinking Jamieson Rees might not get the call.
In 49 games this year with the Wolves, Rees has the same number of goals (11) as Jack Drury, more assists (25), more power play goals (3) and a higher SH% (11.1). Scoring a point 73.4% of his games in Chi-Town, it is safe to say Jamieson Rees is completely capable of offensive output.
Hurting Rees, however, is the time it would take him to get up with to speed with Carolina’s system. Jack Drury has played in their “centers are two way players, defensively pinching” system before. Rees has not, and learning it well enough to not take away from the play of other players would take time. Time the Carolina Hurricanes do not have.
With the road schedule the Canes face in the coming weeks, and an overall lack of practice time, getting Rees up to speed, would take valuable game time. Line chemistry not withstanding, learning to be in the right place at the right time is hard at full speed. Not to mention putting Rees and the Hurricanes at risk for costly mistakes. Currently the Carolina Hurricanes are 2 points up on the New Jersey Devils, and the Metro Division race is apt to come down to the wire. Not exactly the perfect time to be teaching a new guy.
Even if called up for a relief start, I do not see Rees making it big enough impact to earn a spot right now. Relief games are hard to find your pace and build line momentum. Knowing their spell might be three or four games tops, most players in a call up role spend their efforts trying to stay out of the way rather than putting up huge numbers.
Do not read my words as saying I think Jamieson Rees is not capable of playing for the Hurricanes. Just the opposite. He is VERY capable of putting up good numbers with the Canes if given the chance. Now is just is not the Hurricanes to make the call. From the year he has put on in Chicago this season, it is very possible Jamieson Rees gets a serious look from the Hurricanes at the start of next season, but it would be just short of folly to make that move in the midst of a division and (hopefully) long post season.