Victor Rask, Carolina's second round pick from 2011, was able to get his first taste of professional hockey this year after spending the first month of the season with the Charlotte Checkers but earlier this week, the team finally made the call to send him back to the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL. Rask had five points in 10 games with the Checkers and seemed to be playing well by the eye-test but the problem was that he couldn't seem to stay in the lineup. Charlotte has a lot of players on their roster now thanks to the NHL lockout, which has led to Jeff Daniels and the rest of the coaching staff inserting guys in and out of the lineup on a daily basis to keep things fresh. Rask ended up being one of those players, as there were many weekends where he would be scratched for one game of a back-to-back.
Sending Rask back to juniors means that he will likely play every night and get the top-six minutes that he needs to develop. It also prevents the team from unnecessarily burning a year off his ELC. Rask is still only 19-years old and is still another year from being considered an overager, so sending him back to junior is no big deal and is likely the best move for both parties involved. I'm sure the Hitmen are glad to have Rask back in the lineup since he had the second most goals on the team last season and the third most points. They are currently in a tight race with Keegan Lowe's Edmonton Oil Kings for first place in the Central Division of the WHL and getting Rask back will provide a huge boost for the team.
In fact, Rask provided some immediate help to the team in his season debut yesterday by recording an assist and being on-ice for two goals. It's hard to ask for a better season debut than that.
After the jump, we will take a closer look at Rask's performance along with the rest of the Canes CHL prospect pool.
Ryan Murphy, Kitchener Rangers: 3 GP, 0 G, 1 Pt, 2 PIM
Murphy failed to record a point in two of the three Ranger games this week and the team won only one of the three games of that set on top of that. He had quite an ugly showing in the Rangers 4-0 loss to the Owen Sound Attack when he was on-ice for three of the goals the Rangers gave up, two of which came during special teams play. The Rangers were also 0/8 on the powerplay during that game.
Murphy's performance in the other two games were much better, as he was on-ice for two Ranger goals in their 3-1 win over Erie and recorded an assist in their 4-3 loss to the London Knights. The one thing that seems to be hurting the Rangers this year is their powerplay, which was only 1/15 on the weekend. Murphy plays a big role as the team's PP quarterback and the fact that it is struggling so much doesn't reflect well on him. Outside of that, it appears Murphy had a decent week.
Brock McGinn, Guelph Storm: 3 GP, 1 G, 1 Pt, 2 PIM
The Storm returned to their early season ways in their game against the Mississauga Steelheads when they lit them up for seven goals. They couldn't get the offense going in their other two games, though as they dropped shootout decision to Belleville and Erie while scoring a combined three goals in the two games. Guelph's record is still strong at 13-8-3 but they have lost seven of their last 10 and this is going to come back to haunt them soon with Kitchener & Sarnia playing so well as of late.
Despite his team's struggles, McGinn actually had a fairly decent week. He scored the game-tying goal against Erie late in the third period and also scored in the shootout. McGinn added another shootout goal against Belleville earlier in the week but his efforts there ended up being a moot point with Guelph losing both games. The one disappointing fact from McGinn this week was that he failed to get on the scoresheet at all in the Storm's offensive explosion against Mississauga, recording no goals or assists in that game.
Trevor Carrick, Mississauga Steelheads: 4 GP, 2 G, 3 Pts, 0 PIM
All of Carrick's three points this week came in Mississauga's 5-4 win over the Ottawa 67's. Carrick would score once at even strength and on the PK, the latter being the game-winner for the Steelheads. He was on-ice for four total goals and proved to be a big reason why the Steelheads came out on top in that game.
Outside of that, this week was somewhat of a mixed bag for Carrick. He was held without a point in the other two games and was on-ice for two goals against in the Steelheads 5-3 win over Oshawa and somehow managed to come out relatively unscathed in the 7-2 thrashing they took at the hands of Guelph. The only damage Carrick suffered was being on-ice for a 5-on-3 goal against.
All in all, not much to complain about here as Carrick continues to have a career season. He now has more goals than any other Carolina junior hockey prospect right now and his team is only two points behind the Barrie Colts for first place in the Central Division of the OHL.
Keegan Lowe, Edmonton Oil Kings: 1 GP, 0 G, 0 Pts, 0 PIM
The Oil Kings played only one game this week and it was a 4-3 OT loss to the Prince Albert Raiders. It's actually a little surprising the Oil Kings ended up losing this game because they actually outshot Prince Albert 50-22 but they didn't help themselves by falling down 3-0 early in the game and having to fight an uphill battle the rest of the way. They did manage to pull off a comeback, though but ended up taking the loss in OT.
Lowe was highly involved in this game despite not making an impact on the scoresheet and unfortunately, most of it is bad news. He was on-ice for three Raider goals including the game-winner in OT and was only on-ice for one goal by the Oil Kings.
Victor Rask, Calgary Hitmen: 1 GP, 0 G, 1 Pt, 0 PIM
Rask made his debut for the Hitmen this week and he immediately made an impact by recording an assist on Calgary's third goal of the game, which ended up being the game-winner. He was also on-ice for the empty-net goal to clinch a win over the Swift Current Broncos. Hopefully there Rask can continue to perform well as the season goes on.
Tyler Stahl, Victoria Royals: 2 GP, 1 G, 1 Pt, 0 PIM
The Royals continue to teeter around the .500 mark, winning one of two games in a home-stand this weekend. Tyler Stahl did his best to help them out in their game against the Regina Pats by scoring the opening goal on the powerplay. He delivered a pretty good shot off a one-timer from inside the face-off circle and looked really involved for the entire powerplay sequence. The announce crew said that he actually had five shots on goal during the powerplay, which I find hard to believe but he was definitely jumping in the play a lot.
Unfortunately, the Royals would go onto lose that game despite surrendering only 19 shots on goal. It was quite a heart breaker, too since they ended up giving up a goal in the dying seconds of the third period. Stahl was also guilty of poor net coverage on the second Regina goal.
Victoria rebounded nicely in the next game, though by shutting out the Everett Silvertips 5-0 and holding them to only 20 shots on goal. Stahl was held pointless but I'm sure he is happier with the team getting the win.
Austin Levi, Plymouth Whalers: 3 GP, 0 G, 0 Pts, 0 PIM
Once again, Levi was held off the scoresheet completely and was on-ice for three even strength goals against and one on the powerplay. He has only 2 points in 16 games this year with the Whalers.
Matt Mahalak, Plymouth Whalers: 2 GP, 5 goals allowed on 42 shots
Mahalak's save percentage took a dip once again and most of the damage he took came from Plymouth's 8-7 loss to the Saginaw Spirit where he gave up three goals on nine shots after playing for only 12 minutes. He performed much better against Ottawa, stopping 31 of 33 shots in route to a 3-2 win.
Daniel Altshuller, Oshawa Generals: 3 GP, 10 goals allowed on 97 shots
Oshawa had a sub-.900 save percentage this week, but he actually performed well in two out of the three games he played in. The only rough outing he had was against Mississauga where he gave up five goals on 27 shots. He rebounded nicely the next game against London, stopping 39 of 43 shots in a 4-3 OT loss and continued to improve against Belleville by stopping 26 of 27 shots. The win over Belleville was very critical since the Generals are currently battling for first place in the East Division with them, but they need to start winning more consistently to stay on top.