RALEIGH, N.C. – The Carolina Hurricanes waived six players on Sunday with the anticipation that they would all clear to be assigned to the team’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate club, the Charlotte Checkers.
Members of the group placed on waivers included forwards Nicolas Blanchard, Aaron Palushaj, Jared Staal, Zach Boychuk, defenseman Michal Jordan, and goaltender Justin Peters.
The group was part of the latest cuts from the Hurricanes training camp roster made following the team’s 3-1 preseason win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.
The most notable of the group was Boychuk, whose placement on the waiver wire continued into this season after he moved on and off of it last year to play with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators before returning to the Hurricanes.
In signing with Carolina in late August, Boychuk has had a goal that he is not straying from in achieving, and that is to play regularly in the NHL.
However, in getting placed on waivers, that won’t happen just yet for the 23-year old.
According to Boychuk, his conversation with Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller was a positive one and that he was told that he did what he needed to do during camp.
However, it was more of getting caught in a numbers game as the main reason why he may not fit completely into the role(s) that the team is looking to fill to begin the season.
“I had a good camp,” Boychuk said in a phone interview on Sunday.
“It was probably the best camp that I’ve had. I’m a different player now than I was before when I was drafted. I have no regrets. I tried my best at camp during testing, during scrimmages, and in the exhibition games that I played.”
If Boychuk does clear waivers on Monday to remain in the Hurricanes organization, he will then report to Charlotte’s training camp and begin to prepare for the start of the AHL season.
“I think that there’s a reason that Carolina re-signed me in the summer,” he said.
“If I clear waivers tomorrow, I can help them (Charlotte) a lot and be one of the leaders on the team. I think we have a good core group of guys and we’re definitely gonna’ have a good team this year. I’d love to be a leader and try to help those guys.”
Even though Charlotte may be his starting point for the year, there’s no doubt that Boychuk will work hard to ensure that Muller keeps an eye on him, particularly if he continues to fill the stats sheet like he has in the past while playing for the Checkers.
“I’ve always been more of a skilled player,” Boychuk said.
“I’m more of a guy who has the potential to score goals and to make plays. Obviously, going through the last few years of my career, I’ve played on fourth line, the first line, I’ve played on every line. I’ve rounded out my game a little bit and I can play a two-way game with energy to hound the puck and finish my checks. When it comes down to putting the puck in the net, I would like to do it more at the NHL level, and I feel that if given the opportunity I definitely could do that.”
Though Muller won’t provide that opportunity to Boychuk at this point, he has no hard feelings and is on good terms with the coach and the organization.
“It’s definitely positive,” Boychuk said.
Thus, if the Hurricanes are fortunate to keep the young forward whose posted 146 points (58 goals, 88 assists) in 176 career AHL games, he will continue to work hard and strive to achieve his main objective.
“Definitely want to be a full-time NHL player and that goal is not going to be out of my head anytime soon.”