- Created: August 1, 2014 - 12:50 pm
- Written by Nicholas Niedzielski
Carrick, a native of Stouffville, Ontario, is coming off a breakout year offensively in the OHL, where he set career highs in goals (22) and points (51) and ranked second among defensemen in the league in goals. Darren Yorke, Assistant to the General Manager/Video Scout for the Hurricanes, sees the addition of an offensive game as a positive for Carrick, and one that will only keep developing.
“Offense for defensemen always takes time and they need the opportunities to play on the power play and gain confidence in their game,” said Yorke. “For him that’s a step that he’s taken where he’s starting to be more confident and understands that he can play on the power play and shoot to score because he’s got a great shot.”
The 20-year-old split his last junior season between the Mississauga Steelheads and the Sudbury Wolves. He understands that his emerging offensive skills were aided by ice time, something he will have to work to earn at the next level.
“When I started off in Mississauga we had a young team so I was getting lots of opportunity on the power play, which helped out my offensive game,” said Carrick. “Then I got traded to Sudbury and they had a better team and an older team so the ice time kind of melted a little bit.”
Yorke isn’t worried about Carrick’s game translating as he makes the jump to the pro level. He notes that there is a big difference from juniors, but looks at Carrick’s recent development as a reassuring sign.
“He’s got to take those steps that he made this year and continue them at the pro game,” said Yorke. “Obviously things happen a little quicker but as he adjusts to the pro game that offense should still come along.”
Head coach Jeff Daniels knows the struggles that can occur with any rookie, but is confident in Carrick’s abilities to break through.
“Carrick is turning pro, and as you sit here today you don’t know what to expect, where some guys will jump in right away and be fine and some guys will struggle a little bit,” said Daniels. “It’s just a cycle you go into. Just from the glimpse we had last year in Traverse City, I thought he was one of the better defensemen there and it’ll be fun to watch him compete.”
As a player who really came into his own in his final season of juniors, Carrick is comfortable with his style of play and believes that it will translate as he moves on.
“I don’t want to change my game,” said Carrick. “I’m kind of a two-way player and I think in this day and age every defenseman has to have an offensive side to them. I like to take care of my own end first and chip in offensively when I can.”
Heading into his rookie season, without the late season preview that some of his fellow rookies had, Carrick is enthusiastic, but knows that it will take work to stick in this league.
“I just want to develop, really,” said Carrick. “It’s obviously a lot harder league with a lot of older guys and it’s a lot different than the OHL. I don’t really know what to expect right now but I’m really looking forward to it.”
Yorke has seen this transition many times before and knows the challenge that awaits the young defenseman, but shows confidence that Carrick will be able to adjust and put up the numbers he is capable of.
“With everyone, you’ve got to have respect for the AHL because it’s the first time that he’s going to be playing with men,” said Yorke. “He’s going to adjust to that game and take those steps, but there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be able to produce.”