Canes rookie eyes opportunity for immediate impact
Posted June 27, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — There's no doubt the Carolina Hurricanes made the biggest news on draft day when the Canes acquired Jordan Staal from Pittsburgh but that deal does leave the Canes with an open spot for a third line center. The player that could fill that void has exactly one NHL game under his belt.
Jeremy Welsh has earned the attention of Hurricanes executives. Of the 13 players at the team's conditioning camp, no one has a better opportunity to make an immediate impact than him.
Welsh could be the team's third-line center when the season begins.
"There's an opportunity there," acknowledged Welsh. "I want to earn it over the summer, and this week, just put in a good showing."
Last season, the Canes called Welsh up to the NHL roster for one game. He impressed his bosses and gained from the experience.
"That was the best-case scenario just to get that taste and get a feel for things. I think it was a bit of a confidence boost that I could do it and I could play, so rather than worrying about it all summer and not knowing what you're getting into, it's nice to have a bit of an understanding," Welsh said.
"If I was him right now, I'd look at the situation and see there are opportunities here," said Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller. "That's a big reason we talked to him before he signed and said he's the type of player we're looking for to get some more size in our lineup."
Welsh is a big 24-year-old at 6-3, 210 pounds, with a hard shot.
"You're always looking for big center men," said Canes director of forwards development Cory Stillman. "You have one with Eric, you added another one with Jordan, and now you've got a third one who has an opportunity to make the the team."
Cory Stillman speaks from a new perspective. It's his first day coaching on the ice with the Canes in his new role and he joins some old teammates on the staff.
"Everybody that won the Cup was on the ice today. That's long gone," said Stillman. "That's six years ago, or whatever, but you're back with familiar faces. And you can come back in and be yourself and be honest because that's what they expect you."