Position: Left Winger
Weight: 190 lbs.
Drafted: 5th Round, 2007 Draft
Last Year's Ranking: 13
|2007-08||18||Albany River Rats||AHL||1||0||0||0||0|
|2009-10||20||Albany River Rats||AHL||80||17||30||47||0.59|
Out of all of the Hurricanes prospects who have received call-ups in recent years, Chris Terry may have been the most deserving. After all, he has been the Checkers leading scorer in two of the last three seasons and one of their best forwards ever since he joined the team. Yet, he didn't make his NHL debut until last year and his call-up lasted a grand total of three days. Size, conditioning and skating have all been pointed to as reasons for Terry not receiving a call-up until last season and while those are legitimate concerns, Terry has produced at the AHL level for years despite that has gotten better every season. Last year being his best in the pros thus far.
The progress Terry has made in the AHL has been very encouraging, but the growing concern with him is whether or not he will spend his entire career there without making much of a splash at the next level. You can make the argument that Terry was never given much of a chance to succeed since he was only called up this year and didn't play much. He was also only in Carolina on an emergency basis while Chad LaRose & a couple other players were injured, which limited him to only three games before he head to return to Charlotte. While there are plenty of career AHLers who you can apply this theory to, there is some truth to it with Terry because he seemed to make the most of his time in the NHL.
Terry made his debut on March 9th against the New Jersey Devils, was placed on the third line and made an immediate impact by netting his first career goal in the second period. He was also playing a solid game away from the puck, which is something many AHL scorers struggle to do at the next level. Terry was working hard along the boards, was active physically and made a couple of good plays in his own zone to break up potential scoring chances. In a game where the Hurricanes were horribly outshot, Terry was one of the few players who managed to keep the puck out of his own end while contributing offensively. It's only one game and a tiny sample size, but Terry played well that night and was restricted to fourth line duty the following two games before being sent down to Charlotte.
I'm not trying to say that Terry is a future star or even a future NHL-er, I just think that he has done enough to earn more of a chance to show what he can do at this level. I understand that other prospects are higher in the pecking order and there are only so many roster spots available, but Terry has done nothing but produce at the AHL level and made a lot of improvements last year. Terry was one of the few players who stayed in Charlotte after the lockout ended and was forced to step up as one of the offensive leaders on the team. He responded by playing some of the best hockey of his career during this stretch and ended up leading the team in points. He was also one of the Checkers best players at creating shots on a consistent basis, which isn't surprising but still encouraging.
Terry is a good player and could get a shot at making the roster as a bottom-six player this year if he is impressive enough in camp. The problem is that there are a lot of young players he is going to be competing with and I expect the Hurricanes to bring in someone else through free agency or waivers, which will probably make it harder for him to make the final cut. There are a lot of players similar to him who end up falling through the cracks and not making much of an impact with the organization that drafted them because the time & situation just wasn't right. For Terry to make the Hurricanes this season, he has a few players he needs to outplay in camp to be in consideration for a roster spot.
Knowing that, it's probably a longshot that he'll be in Raleigh full-time, but he has gotten better every year and might do enough to impress the coaching staff this fall if history repeats itself. He made a lot of progress over the last year and jumps up three spots on the list into the Top 10.