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River Rats get Canes’ first-rounder Boychuk

alb06_200.jpgThe Albany River Rats announced today that center Zach Boychuk has joined the team from the Lethbridge Hurricanes, his WHL junior club.

Boychuk, 19, joins Albany after completing his fourth season of junior hockey with the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the WHL. The Airdrie, Alta., native was drafted by Carolina in the first round (14th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

He began the 2008-09 season in Carolina’s NHL training camp and made his NHL debut on October 17th at Los Angeles. After playing in two NHL games, Boychuk (5’10”, 180 lbs) was returned to Lethbridge, where he posted 57 points (28 goals, 29 assists) in just 43 games played. He helped lead his junior team as the seventh seed into the WHL playoffs, where they knocked off the second seeded Saskatoon Blades in seven games in their first round series; the Hurricanes were swept by the Calgary Hitmen in the second round.

Boychuk also represented Team Canada in the 2009 Under-20 World Junior Championships in Ottawa, scoring seven points (4 goals, 3 assists) in six games and helping the Canadians win their second straight goal medal.

In their final road game of the season Albany will face off with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday, April 10th at 7:05 pm at Wachovia Arena. The River Rats last home of the 2008-09 season is on Saturday, April 11th against Binghamton at 7:00 pm at the Times Union Center.