I am usually not one to panic or jump to irrational conclusions but it’s hard not to get a little frustrated when you look at the scoring lines of most of the Hurricanes CHL prospects so far this year. The leader in points is Trevor Carrick with four points in eight games and their top prospect, Ryan Murphy, has only one point in eight games. Adding to that, there have been only two goals scoring by Carolina prospects in the CHL, which might sound bad but it isn’t that big of a deal when you consider that every prospect, aside from Brock McGinn, is a defenseman. Still, it’s fair to say that more was expected out of these players, especially Murphy who has been pretty disappointing in his first eight games.
With that being said, it’s still a bit too early to panic because the season is still less than a month old and there is plenty of hockey left to be played. The time to panic about someone having a poor season should come much later than eight games into the season because cold stretches happen to just about every player and there is still time for them to turn things around. Hopefully we will start to see this with Murphy soon, as there were many who thought he would have a shot to play in the NHL this season if the league wasn’t locked out and he hasn’t exactly looked “NHL ready” so far. Again, there is still plenty of time for him to right the ship.
As you can probably guess by now, it was mostly an uneventful week for the Hurricanes CHL prospects this past week, but we’re going to take a look at the good and the bad after the jump.
Ryan Murphy, Kitchener Rangers – 2 GP, 0 G, 0 PTS, 2 PIM
Murphy and the Kitchener Rangers continue their tough start to the year by dropping both games to Kingston and Ottawa, giving up six unanswered goals in the latter. Murphy was blanked in both games and was on ice for three goals against in the Ottawa game. The Rangers powerplay also went 0/7 in their two games this past week, which isn’t promising news regarding Murphy. It’s been a rough beginning to the year for him but here’s hoping that he can turn things around relatively soon.
Brock McGinn, Guelph Storm – 2 GP, 0 G, 0 PTS, 4 PIM
The Storm scored 13 total goals in their wins against Erie and Peterborough and McGinn was involved in none of them, unfortunately. He also comitted two penalties in the game against Peterborough, so he got onto the scoresheet for the wrong reason. I was hoping he would be able to get his first goal of the season this weekend considering how much offense the Storm were producing but McGinn didn’t seem to do much overall. He plays more of a checking role so this isn’t terribly surprising, either. At least his team is playing well.
Trevor Carrick, Mississauga Steelheads – 2 GP, 1 G, 1 PT, 0 PIM
Raise your hand if you thought Carrick would lead all Carolina CHL prospects in points at this point in the season, because that is the case right now. Carrick got his first goal of the season in Mississauga’s 3-2 victory over Ottawa and wasn’t on ice for any of the opposition’s goals in both of their games. The Steelheads also outshot both of their opponents in their two games, which is great news concerning the team’s overall performance. Four points in eight games isn’t terribly impressive for a major junior player, but it’s a good start to the year for Carrick in my book.
Keegan Lowe, Edmonton Oil Kings – 2 GP, 0 G, 0 PTS, 13 PIM
Lowe returned from injury this past week and his performance in all three games was a bit shaky to say the least. He was on ice for four opposing goals in three games, made a terrible defensive play on Calgary’s second goal in their 5-4 shootout loss last week and he took three penalties in Edmonton’s game against Medicine Hat. After starting off the year with a bang, Lowe appears to be struggling to get back up to speed after suffering that injury. The Oil Kings, as a whole, seem to be in a bit of a slump as of late so let’s hope Lowe can regain his footing soon.
Tyler Stahl, Victoria Royals – 2 GP, 0 G, 0 PTS, 11 PIM
It’s never good when a player’s penalty minutes would make an impressive scoring line for the week, and that was the case with both Lowe and Stahl. Stahl’s week didn’t get off to a great start as he was a -1 and took a penalty in Victoria’s 5-2 loss to Kamloops and things weren’t much better against Kelowna as he took two penalties, one of which was for checking to the head, and had nine total penalty minutes. There isn’t much else to point out from him this week other than he fought Colton Sissions in the Kelowna game. Stahl was coming off a very impressive week after returning from suspension, so this performance was a little disappointing.
Austin Levi, Plymouth Whalers – 2 GP, 0 G, 0 PTS, 0 PIM
Levi is back in the OHL after failing to make the Checkers out of training camp and his first week back was a quiet one. He was held off the scoresheet in all regards and didn’t do anything noteworthy from my viewpoint. Plymouth lost all three of their games this past week.
Matt Mahalak, Plymouth Whalers – 2 GP, .919 SV, 7 GA on 87 shots faced
Mahalak was not the Whalers starting goalie heading into the week but he managed to regain that crown for the time being when Riley Corbin after giving up four goals against Owen Sound. Mahalak was phenomenal in relief duty as he stopped all 16 shots he faced to give the Whalers a chance to make a comeback. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and the Whalers took the 4-1 loss. Mahalak would go on to give up seven goals on 75 shots in his next two games, both of which were losses. Mahalak had to deal with a big workload in both games (faced 42 shots against London) so it’s hard to put either loss on him and it appears the starting goaltending job in Plymouth is his for now.
Daniel Altshuller, Oshawa Genearls – 2 GP, .922 SV, 8 GA on 77 shots
After coming out strong out of the gates, the Generals lost two of three this past week with Altshuller’s only loss coming in the shootout. I voiced my concerns about Altshuller in last week’s recap but he had a very good week at the office in the two games he played in. He stopped 39 of 42 shots in the Generals SO loss to Barrie and he wasn’t at fault for any of the goals he surrendered. The first goal was off a one-timer in the slot, the second was off a deflection and he was heavily screened on the third goal. Altshuller also managed to stay strong in Osahwa’s 5-3 against London where he stopped 32 of 35 shots and had to deal with London getting 11 powerplay opportunities. Altshuller still wasn’t the driving force behind Oshawa’s success but he appears to be getting the job done for now.
Like I said, it was a pretty uneventful week for the Canes prospects but if you want to take some positivity away from this, I would look at the performance of both goalies and Trevor Carrick. Mahalak appears to be on the rebound after a tough year, Altshuller improved on last week and Carrick is looking to be much better than I thought he would be. Let’s hope that Murphy and Lowe can regain their footing relatively soon.