Carolina Hurricanes

At Canes' development camp, little motivation is needed

calexander@newsobserver.comJuly 21, 2013 

— Ryan Murphy spent much of the past week at Carolina Hurricanes development camp being tailed by cameras.

The defenseman, the subject of a documentary series being produced by the Canes, didn’t seem to mind the scrutiny.

“We had some fun with it,” Murphy said Saturday. “I can’t wait to see the final product.”

In a way, that also sums up the team objective in the prospects camp. The Hurricanes brought in 26 players for a closer look, trying to get a better gauge of how the final hockey product might look in a few years.

Murphy, 20, was a first-round draft pick by the Canes in 2011. With his speed and agility, he could be on the NHL roster this season.

So could Swedish forward Elias Lindholm, the fifth overall selection in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Lindholm missed the on-ice sessions – including Saturday’s scrimmage and skills competition during Summerfest – after suffering a minor shoulder injury Thursday night but may be NHL-ready at 18.

Sergey Tolchinsky went undrafted by NHL teams this year. Using that as added motivation, the Russian winger came to camp as an invitee and made the most of it, scoring twice in the scrimmage and seemingly becoming an instant fan favorite for the 3,500 at PNC Arena.

Tolchinsky, 18, was the smallest player in camp at 5-foot-8 and 164 pounds. But the Moscow native, who scored 26 goals for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the Ontario Hockey League last season, made the Canes’ management and coaches take notice with his quickness and stickhandling, and with his personality.

“He’s probably the biggest surprise or explosive guy this week who made people look at him,” Kirk Muller, coach of the Hurricanes said Saturday. “He didn’t get drafted – let’s be honest, probably people said it was his size. There’s a good example of you look at him, you get to know him, he’s got a great attitude and is a fun-loving guy and he plays hard and he produces.

“He’s a guy that I would say that really made us turn our heads.”

Tolchinsky isn’t the only one. The Canes like the improvement of center Victor Rask. They like the way such forwards such as Brody Sutter and Brendan Woods use their size, and the feistiness and physicality in forward Brock McGinn’s game. Defenseman Rasmus Rissanen continues to add strength and refine his game.

Lindholm signed his entry-level contract with Carolina on Monday and was all set for a big week, but absorbed a big hit along the boards during Thursday’s workout. Lindholm, asked Saturday about the injury, said he was “OK,” and was disappointed he wasn’t able to take part in the scrimmage.

“You always want to be on the ice. That’s the way it is with hockey, you want to be on the ice and show yourself,” the Swedish forward said. “The camp has been a great week, being around the organization and the guys.”

Lindholm said he would soon return to Sweden. It is uncertain whether he will join Sweden’s junior national team in Lake Placid, N.Y., in early August for exhibition games and scrimmages against Team USA, Canada and Finland.

Murphy scored a goal during the scrimmage, which ended in a 3-3 tie, and hopes he has made another stride toward becoming a full-time NHL player.

“He stepped it up today and showed the level that he has,” Muller said.

Murphy made his NHL debut with Carolina last season and played four games with the Canes, but wants more.

“It’s not for me to say, but in my opinion I want to be in the NHL next year,” he said. “I’m a confident kid, so I think I’m ready to make the next step in my career.”

The next step for some of the players in camp will be competing for the Canes in the Traverse City (Mich.) prospects tournament in early September. Play well there and some could be invited to the Canes’ preseason training camp, when the real work – and scrutiny – begins.

Alexander: 919-829-8945; Twitter: @ice_chip

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