Canes Now

Rask's rise at camp now has Swede centering second line

Canes general manager Ron Francis, in a Thursday morning meeting at The News & Observer, said rookie center Victor Rask likely would make the roster this season.

A few hours later, after the Canes' roster had been cut to 25 players, Rask not only was still on the team but on the ice at PNC Arena and the second-line center with wingers Jeff Skinner and Elias Lindholm.

The Swede, 21, has made the most of training camp. Coming off a strong showing at the Traverse City prospects tournament, Rask has impressed Canes coach Bill Peters with his two-way work and had two goals and an assist Wednesday in the 6-3 preseason loss at Columbus.

"I've got to keep challenging this guy," Peters said after practice. "He's stepped up to everything we've laid out in front of him. That's the next step, to see if he can be the center for that line and consistently generate offense.

"He was in three clips today in our video in our team meeting and does things right, so he got rewarded. I'd never seen him play before this year. All I know he's a real good player and a responsible player."

Eric Staal centered the top line with Jiri Tlusty and Alex Semin on the wings, although Semin left practice early. Peters did not have an update on Semin after practice but said he wanted to see that line play Friday against the Buffalo Sabres at PNC Arena -- Staal and Semin have played just one preseason game.

As for the roster cutdown, Peters said, "Nice number, one group, good tempo. I like the number we're at right now and now I'll just continue to watch."

Peters said the plan was to have Cam Ward go the full game against the Sabres. Anton Khudobin then would start Sunday in the final preseason matchup, against the Washington Capitals.

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