Now that Harvard's season is over, the Hurricanes were able to come to terms with their third round pick from the 2010 draft, Danny Biega. Biega is a mobile, two-way defenseman and just finished up his senior year as the captain of Harvard's ice hockey team. His career with the Hurricanes organization will begin a little earlier than planned, as the team inked him to a three-year, two-way contract that will start this season and he made his professional debut last night with the Charlotte Checkers. Unfortunately, Biega took a hard hit early in that game and had to leave but he is practicing now and should be with the Carolina organization for at least the next few years.
Biega is a prospect I've had my eye on for quite sometime and while he had a disappointing senior year, he is still a great talent and has a lot of tools that can make him a future NHL-er. His greatest strengths are is offensive instincts, which were on full display during his junior season where he was a point-per-game player (34-10-35) and the quarterback of Harvard's powerplay. His play during that year earned him many honors including being named to the All-ECAC team.
He has a decent shot and really excels at moving the puck out of the defensive zone, which could definitely help him later on in his career. Biega's defensive game is also said to be very strong but not his best asset according to scouting reports. His skating, hockey sense and puck-moving skills remain his biggest strengths.
I've had my eyes on Biega for quite awhile now and was excited about his senior year, but he didn't have as good of a year as I had hoped. He finished the season with only 2 goals and 11 points in 32 games and his team lost in the first round of their conference tournament last weekend. Biega wasn't the only player on the Crimson who struggled, though as it was a down year for the entire team and it seems the loss of Alexander Killorn has hit them pretty hard.
One positive stat from Biega was that he was third on the team in shots on goal with 85, which could mean that poor luck was a factor in him scoring only two goals and having a -10 on the season. A defensemen being able to get that many shots on net is pretty impressive and could show some potential for him as a third-pairing defenseman at the NHL level. I'm personally hoping for more but young defensemen are tough to figure out, especially ones from the NCAA ranks.
I would expect Biega to be a key member on Charlotte's blue-line for the rest of the season as well as next season. If he impresses enough he could get a look at the NHL level sooner than most think but we'll have to wait and see what happens there. The Hurricanes getting Biega signed to his ELC right now not only bolsters their organizational depth on defense, but it can possibly give the Charlotte Checkers a boost as they continue to march towards the playoffs. With the amount of injuries and players lost they've had to deal with, more bodies is never a bad thing.