Lethbridge Hurricanes defenceman Logan McCutcheon is aware of that at 5 foot 9, he’s going to must work particularly onerous to make his dream of enjoying within the NHL come true.
However this week, the 17-year-old acquired one step nearer to that dream as he — and teammates Yegor Klavdiev and Peter Repcik — was ranked by NHL Central Scouting on the preliminary Gamers To Watch listing forward of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.
“It’s simply good for them to be acknowledged,” mentioned Hurricanes head coach Brent Kisio. “It doesn’t imply lots proper now — if you get drafted by a workforce, that’s when it issues — however we have now some guys which might be enjoying onerous, they’re doing the appropriate issues and getting seen.”
All three Hurricanes gamers have been ranked as “C” skaters, and McCutcheon says whereas he plans to work at rising his draft inventory over the following few months, he was thrilled to be seen.
“It’s positively been a lifelong dream for me to try to make it to the NHL, go so far as I can, so simply to be acknowledged is superior,” McCutcheon mentioned.
The diminutive defenceman had 11 factors in 23 video games for the ‘Canes within the shortened 2021 WHL season after which spent a part of his summer season at Hockey Canada’s Nationwide Males’s Beneath-18 Staff Summer time Growth Camp.
Kisio says the invitation was nicely deserved and fast-tracked McCutcheon’s growth.
“He’s come again, and he hasn’t skipped a beat. He’s a reliable defenceman that performs the appropriate method, and clearly, his offensive facet form of speaks for itself.”
Lethbridge Hurricanes placed on a present for house followers in first sport of 2021-2022 WHL season
McCutcheon has two factors by way of 5 video games to this point this season — together with a aim within the Hurricanes’ house opener on Oct. 1 — and Kisio says he’ll get each alternative to set new profession excessive level totals.
“He’s going to play plenty of minutes, he’s going to play on our energy play, he’s going to play on our penalty kill, he’s that good,” he mentioned.
However McCutcheon is aware of he will even face some challenges at his dimension.
“I’m a smaller defenceman, however I can’t let it maintain me again,” mentioned the 17-year-old. “I simply must hold getting higher, work onerous, get stronger and see what occurs.”
McCutcheon will look to observe within the footsteps of former Hurricanes defenceman — who additionally coincidentally wore the quantity two for the membership — Calen Addison.
Addison is now enjoying within the AHL and final season acquired right into a handful of NHL video games with the Minnesota Wild.
“It’s positively any individual that I look as much as, to try to play like him,” McCutcheon mentioned.
“Addison was right here, and he did some nice issues for us, and he’s moved on and performed some NHL video games,” Kisio mentioned.
“So so far as McCutcheon goes, taking a look at that and realizing that it doesn’t actually matter how huge you’re, there’s a possibility there, should you work onerous sufficient and develop sufficient, you will have an opportunity to play.”
Kisio says he expects a ton of growth from McCutcheon by way of the remainder of the 2021-22 WHL season in addition to enchancment from Klavdiev and Repcik — each of their first 12 months with the membership as European imports.
“It’s a troublesome transition. If you’re a European coming over and enjoying that North American sport for the primary time, there are some changes for certain, and we perceive that,” Kisio mentioned. “We predict they’re simply going to get higher and higher because the 12 months goes alongside.”
The Hurricanes hit the highway this week and are set to go to Pink Deer on Friday evening going through the Rebels at 7 p.m.
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