Phil Di Giuseppe answers questions after being drafted 38th overall in 2012 in Carolina. Di Giuseppe stands among a number of 'Canes prospects in the midst of their 2013-14 campaigns.
As the Carolina Hurricanes' 2013-14 season grinds on, so do the campaigns of their many up-and-coming prospects in the system.
The Ontario Hockey League (OHL) has been dominated by 'Canes prospects, as both 2012 second-rounder Brock McGinn and undrafted summer signing Sergei Tolchinsky rank among the league's top 10 scorers, and 2012 third-rounder Daniel Altshuller leads all goalies in wins.
It's been a mixed bag for Hurricanes' youngsters elsewhere around North America. For all of the troubles of the AHL affiliate Charlotte Checkers—ranked 14th in the 15-team Western Conference—the NCAA is supporting a duo of other prospects well.
Current statistics and updates for six of the Hurricanes' top prospects fall on the coming slides.
Current Team: Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
2013-14 Stats: 30 GP, 18 G, 33 A, 51 P, +8
After slipping through the cracks in last June's draft, 18-year-old Russian Sergey Tolchinsky dropped jaws minute by minute during July's development camp. Carolina general manager Jim Rutherford outbid the Rangers to sign him to an entry-level contract in August and has likely been watching Tolchinsky's 2013-14 season closely.
If he has, he's certainly been impressed. Tolchinsky has lit up the OHL for a whopping 51 points in his 30 appearances—matching his production from 62 games last season. He's led the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds to a West Division-leading 21-6-3 record with points in 21 of 30 appearances and 10 points in the past four matches alone.
Tolchinsky should catch plenty of eyes over the next six months and could have a good chance to make the Hurricanes' NHL roster next autumn.
Drafted: No. 47 selection, 2012
Current Team: Guelph Storm (OHL)
2013-14 Stats: 29 GP, 23 G, 23 A, 46 P, +23
The younger brother of established NHLer Jamie McGinn and frequent AHL call-up Tye McGinn, Brock McGinn's stock has skyrocketed since the 'Canes "reached" for him at 47th overall a year ago.
The 6'0" 19-year-old has always played with a gritty, physical style perfect for big-league success, but the emergence of his scoring touch this season has added another, more intriguing dimension to McGinn's scouting report.
A key contributor in Guelph's OHL-leading offense (averaging over five goals per game), McGinn wasn't held off the box score until his 21st game of the season and currently ranks fourth in the league in goals. He plays the well-rounded type of game that could lend itself to a fairly direct OHL-to-NHL transition in the near future.
Drafted: No. 69, 2012
Team: Oshawa Generals (OHL)
2013-14 Stats: 19-6-1, 2.45 GAA, .921 save percentage
The Carolina Hurricanes, desperately in need of goaltending prospect depth, have all their eggs in Daniel Altshuller's basket right now.
Fortunately, that risk seems to be paying off quite well.
Altshuller has had an impeccable breakout season for Oshawa, as his 19-6-1 record underlines; the Generals' 48 points in 32 games leads the Eastern Conference and 6'3" Altshuller ranks first in the OHL in wins, third in save percentage and fourth in GAA.
He'll be expected to step into an AHL starter role in the near future as his development continues.
Drafted: No. 42, 2011
Current Team: Charlotte Checkers (AHL)
2013-14 Stats: 23 GP, 5 G, 9 A, 14 P, -7
Like most all of the Checkers' roster, Victor Rask is off to a surprisingly slow start to 2013-14.
He was impressive in his 10-game AHL debut last spring, recording five points and a plus-seven rating, but he has found it harder to break through with a weaker supporting cast.
Rask, 20, could be in line to make his NHL debut at some point this season based on pedigree alone, but a stronger second half of the minor-league campaign would certainly help his case.
Drafted: No. 66, 2013
Current Team: University of New Hampshire (Hockey East)
2013-14 Stats: 19 GP, 1 G, 1 A, 2 P, -6
Brett Pesce slipped under the radar last June, but he was actually the second player chosen by Carolina after Elias Lindholm went fifth overall.
A defensive defenseman to the core, Pesce's numbers aren't exactly eye-opening—yet he's attracting attention nonetheless.
The 6'3" college sophomore was invited to the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team camp later this month and seems likely to make the team.
"He could bring balance to this relatively mobile defensive corps and provide a stable shut-down guy for Team USA," writes Chris Peters of The United States of Hockey. "The camp [starting Dec. 15] will be very important for Pesce to show he’s ready for the big challenge ahead at the WJC."
Drafted: No. 38, 2012
Current Team: University of Michigan (Big 10)
2013-14 Stats: 13 GP, 4 G, 7 A, 11 P, +0
Phil Di Giuseppe is on pace for his highest-scoring season in three years with Michigan, hoping to exceed his 26- and 28-point efforts over the past two 40-game campaigns with 11 points in 13 appearances so far this season.
The 6'1" forward has a whopping 10 teammates with NHL rights held by other franchises. He trails Buffalo prospect J.T. Compher by three points for the team scoring lead.
Di Giuseppe hasn't quite displayed the explosiveness the 'Canes originally saw in him 18 months ago. If the 20-year-old forward can continue his solid productivity for the remainder of the campaign, conversely, he could stabilize his stock swiftly.