The Carolina Hurricanes, after a couple rounds of training-camp cuts, now have 32 players on their preseason roster.
And Warren Foegele is still one of the 32.
Foegele, 20, is in his first NHL training camp. The forward does not have an entry-level contract. He is not sure where he will be playing this season — in junior hockey, the American Hockey League or the NHL.
The NHL is a long shot, no doubt, but so was making it this far.
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“It’s exciting,” he said Friday.
Foegele was a third-round pick by Carolina in the 2014 draft. After playing the 2014-15 season at New Hampshire, where Canes defenseman Brett Pesce was a teammate, Foegele was in the Ontario Hockey League last season with the Kingston Frontenacs, with defenseman Roland McKeown a teammate.
A good showing with the winning Canes team in the Traverse City (Mich.) NHL prospects tournament a few weeks ago earned Foegele an invite to training camp. He may have a makeshift stall in a hallway just outside the main locker room at PNC Arena, but he has a stall.
“I thought we did great in Traverse City and that kind of led the momentum into the main camp,” Foegele said. “I’m just trying to take in as much information as I can and keep working hard. I didn’t really expect to be here this far, but I wanted to keep working hard and listen to the coaches, and it seems to be working out pretty well.”
While not in the lineup for Friday’s preseason exhibition game against the Caps, the 6-foot-2, 191-pounder from Markham, Ont., has gotten into a pair of preseason exhibition games.
“That’s been awesome,” Foegele said. “I think I’ll take in a lot of information, just playing at the NHL level, against men. Everything’s so much faster, a quicker pace, everybody in the right position, so it’s huge adjustment from juniors.”
Foegele scored five goals and had 11 assists in 34 games at New Hampshire, then 13 goals and 48 points in 52 games last season with Kingston, with a plus-32 rating. In nine playoff games with the Frontenacs, he had eight goals and two assists.
“I think I’m a reliable two-way forward who can play anywhere in the lineup,” he said. “I try to play hard, be smart and be reliable.”
Foegele could go back to junior this season. He could sign his entry level deal and play for the Charlotte Checkers in the AHL.
“I like what we’ve seen,” Canes coach Bill Peters said Friday. “He’s a good-sized kid, he skates well and he’s got a bright future.”
Foegele closely resembles defenseman Josh Wesley, the son of former Canes star Glen Wesley. Foegele smiled when asked if there was any confusion earlier when Wesley was in camp.
“Not here,” Foegele said. “I think they know who I am now.”