Carolina Hurricanes forward Drayson Bowman was another young player who had a chance to gain some valuable experience last season. After making the team right out of training camp and playing in the first eight games of the season, he was then reassigned to Charlotte where he spent the majority of the rest of the season.
But late in the season, Checkers coach Jeff Daniels gave Bowman a vote of confidence and the youngster was recalled by the Canes and played in the final 15 games of the year.
Bowman was a scoring machine in junior and had two straight 40 plus goal seasons while racking up a total of 165 points in 128 games during his last two seasons with Spokane. He has yet to find that scoring touch in the NHL though and did not light the lamp in his 23 games last season.
The rookie averaged 9:48 of ice time per game and spent 46% of that time matched up in a line combo with Brandon Sutter and Chad LaRose. He also finished with 24 hits and eight blocked shots.
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The coaching staff showed a lot of confidence in Bowman by playing him so much on the third line with Sutter and LaRose. He did not disappoint in his own end and had a respectable plus/minus for a rookie, especially considering he had so few points. He developed his physical game as the season went on and did some damage on the forecheck late in the year. While he did not show up on the scoresheet often, he did exhibit some flashes of a quick release shot and you can see that the scoring potential is there.
While the youngster played well in his own end and pretty much did whatever was asked of him as he primarily played on the team's checking line, he will eventually need to score some goals or show some ability to set up plays if he wants to make it in the big league. The next season will be an important one as the coaching staff will be looking for him to take the next step in his development.
The 2007 third round draft pick is in the final year of his entry level, two-way contract which will pay him $650,000 if he plays in the NHL this coming season. He will be a restricted free agent next year.
How do you think he played last year?