It seemed like the red team was loaded up. Haydn Fleury, Jake Bean, Julien Gauthier, Nicolas Roy, and Alex Nedeljkovic each were donning red jerseys in the annual red/white scrimmage held on Saturday as the Carolina Hurricanes closed out their prospect camp with a Summerfest Celebration for fans.
As a matter of fact, Gauthier and Roy started out on the same line, two 40-plus goal scorers in the QMJHL.
But after the four-on-four and three-on-three portions of the scrimmage were over, the score was tied 2-2 and the white team had more than held their own.
Each side was then allowed five skaters in a shootout and the white squad scored four times to just one for the red to earn the win, 6-3.
After a scoreless stanza of four-on-four hockey, they started skating three-on-three and Gauthier got the scoring started with a perfectly placed wrist shot that hit the top far corner post. Afterward, Bill Peters called him a "hungry" goal-scorer.
The first round draft pick, who was just signed to an entry level deal earlier in the day, will be attending training camp this fall with intention to make the team.
By the way, scouting reports indicating that he could not pass, seem grossly inaccurate. He made at least two or three nice setups that came close to being goals.
The white team scored when Spencer Smallman knocked in a rebound from an Andrew Poturalski shot.
Fleury then took the puck in close and made a nice backhand move to make the score 2-1, showing that he also has some offensive prowess to go with his defensive acumen.
Roland McKeown, someone we have been talking about a lot this week, took the puck inside himself and somehow got it by Nedeljkovic, who thought he had it stopped.
With the score tied 2-2, the game then went to the shootout phase. Each team would be allowed five shooters.
Valentin Zykov started it off for white by making a nice move in close for a score. Zykov has shown some sick hands this week, has a variety of moves down low, and seems to have the strength to battle. He was fighting injuries last season but seems healthy enough now. (He declined interview requests because he is not comfortable with English yet.)
Here is a trivia fact. Back in 2012-13, Zykov was named CHL Rookie of the Year over several other star players including Connor McDavid, who was also a finalist. The Russian native had 40 goals and 35 assists in 67 regular season games and then 10 goals and 9 assists in 19 playoff games. Hopefully, he can find that kind of groove in the Hurricanes organization.
Next up in the shootout was Gauthier but he was stopped this time.
Poturalski then skated in with a pretty move and shot, which Jack LaFontaine made a beautiful, diving stick save on. Initially it was called no goal but the replay showed the puck had crossed the goal line before the goalie saved it and white got the score.
For those of you who may have missed it, the Canes signed Poturalski to an entry-level-contract last Spring. He finished second in the NCAA in scoring last season with 22 goals and 30 assists in 37 games for New Hampshire.
The red team then tried Max Zimmer, who was stopped.
Next up for white was Josh Wilkins, a home grown player from Raleigh who played with the junior Hurricanes when he was younger. Wilkins surprised everyone with a brilliant spin-o-rama move which beat Nedeljkovic, who also looked surprised.
The winger, who was an undrafted local camp invitee, said he learned the move while playing in junior hockey. He also said it was the only move he knows, but Bill Peters gave him a "10" for it. Wilkins did not look out of place at all this week and will attend Providence and play for them next season.
Next up for the red team was Maxim Lazarev, another undrafted invitee who has looked very good at times. His shot was stopped. Lazarev scored 30 goals and 52 assists last season for Cape Breton.
Josh Wesley was the next shooter for team white and he was stopped. Earlier in the scrimmage, Nedeljkovic robbed Wesley of a sure goal with a diving stick save which people were talking about afterward.
Jake Bean was next for red and he was stopped. Bean also signed his entry-level-deal just earlier.
The last shooter for white was Adam Karashik, another undrafted invitee. The defenseman made a nice move for a score. He has committed to play for the University of Connecticut next season.
Haydn Fleury closed it out with another good move and another goal, giving him two for the day.
I will have another article later with some more quotes from the players and final thoughts.