For Steven Lorentz, his second NHL training camp again proved to be a brief one with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Lorentz played Sunday in the Red-White scrimmage at PNC Arena and scored the first goal on a tip that got past goalie Jeremy Helvig. Not long after the scrimmage, the forward was informed he was one of seven players being returned to their respective junior teams — in Lorentz’s case, the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League.
Lorentz, 20, was a seventh-round draft pick by the Canes in 2015, taken 186th overall. Making it into an NHL camp was a long shot.
“It’s kind of been like that through my whole career,” he said Sunday. “I was a late-round draft pick to the OHL as well, a 12th-round pick.
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“It’s a process. There’s no rush to jump into a spot right away. I just want to take my time and develop into a good player that Carolina likes one day and hopefully I’ll find a spot on the roster.”
Lorentz’s development in the past year has been just as Canes management hoped it would be. He played well for the Petes, scoring 23 goals and totaling 48 points in 58 games last season. He’s grown an inch and said he has put on 15 pounds in the past year — to 6 feet 4 and 200 pounds.
Lorentz said both his parents are tall, noting his mother and 16-year-old sister both were 6 feet. He has a big frame and easily could be a 220-pounder in a few years.
Lorentz helped the Canes win the Traverse City (Mich.) prospects tournament this year, scoring the first goal in the title game against the Detroit Red Wings as the Canes won 6-4. He also scored against the Minnesota Wild as Carolina went 4-0 in winning the event for the first time since 2009.
“Obviously we did a great job winning that tournament and I think it shows how many good prospects Carolina has in the system,” Lorentz said. “Personally I felt I played pretty well. It was a little bit of an adjustment to get used to the speed again, coming from junior, but I found a lot of guys needed a little time to settle in. Once we got going we were rolling pretty good.”
Lorentz, from Kitchener, Ont., said he’d like to follow the path of forward Brody Sutter. A seventh-round selection by Carolina in 2011, the 6-foot-5 Sutter made his NHL debut in 2014-15, playing four games for the Hurricanes, then played eight games last season.
“I look up to guys like him, late-round picks who are big bodies like myself,” Lorentz said. “I look at the way they play the game and how they’ve gotten to where they are. I like talking to them to see what it takes, when the odds are against you, to try and find a spot.”
Asked about his goal Sunday, Lorentz smiled and said he likes “going to the front of the net and getting the dirty goals.” If he keeps doing that, the Canes may one day find a spot for him.