Rookie Zac Dalpe knows it won't be easy. He knows it will be a battle each and every day. But he's willing to work hard and do whatever it takes to make the Carolina Hurricanes.
It's no secret that the Canes have a couple of open slots available this coming season and there are plenty of talented players competing to claim one of those positions. Dalpe is certainly in the mix.
The youngster was able to move directly from Ohio State to Albany last season and had immediate success. He scored 6 goals and had an assist in his first 9 games, then had another 3 goals and 3 assists in 8 playoff games. When I asked him what attributed to his quick success, he graciously gave his coach and teammates the credit.
"Being a young guy stepping in, it can be kind of intimidating at first, but the coach had a lot of confidence in me and he put me in a good spot. I also give a lot of credit to the guys I played with. I'm just thankful for the chance."
Dalpe jokes that he was a late developer and is still working on building himself up. "I've worked hard this summer on putting on weight and gaining more strength," he smiled. "Coming in here early was a bit of an eye-opener, cardio wise, but that's why you come in early, right? To keep the weight on and get the cardio going."
Carolina's second round pick from 2008 has been attending the informal skates since day one on Monday.
When talking about the opportunity this training camp and the possibility of him making the team, he was very pragmatic. "It's not going to be easy, but that's pro hockey," he said. "You have to fight all the time, every day. You make the team one day, then you get sent down." He continued, "I'm just working very hard right now to earn a roster spot. If I keep working hard, hopefully I will make the team."
Dalpe played center while at Ohio State, but there is always the chance the Hurricanes might want to move him to wing. I asked him how he felt about a possible change in positions.
"I'll play anywhere and I think a lot of guys will tell you that answer. I've been molded into a centerman the past couple of years, but we'll see how it goes."
The young gun has got some speed and is a sharpshooter. He might look pretty good at wing, but these things eventually get worked out at training camp. Either way, this self proclaimed "late developer" could very well be playing in Helsinki come October. He's another second round pick that looks like a steal for the Hurricanes.