Tuesday buzz: Opportunity knocking for Drury

Photo: Ross Dettman

📝 by Patrick Williams

Jack Drury’s recall to the Carolina Hurricanes had been building.

On Monday, the Hurricanes put in a call for the 23-year-old Chicago Wolves forward, who had played 21 games with the National Hockey League club earlier this season. As a rookie last season, Drury played a starring role on the Wolves’ run to a Calder Cup championship, finishing third in league postseason scoring with 24 points in 18 games.

He then stuck with the Hurricanes deep into training camp before beginning the season with the Wolves.

Drury, a 2018 second-round pick by Carolina, returned to the Wolves in late December and settled in with Chicago until this recall. He has 24 points (11 goals, 13 assists) through 37 AHL games this season, including five goals in his past eight contests.

“They’re a little deceiving,” Wolves head coach Brock Sheahan said of Drury’s early numbers, which saw him with just four goals at the All-Star break. “From my perspective, looking at how much he was generating, his output should have been higher. It’s not like he wasn’t creating offense consistently. For some reason, he just wasn’t scoring at the rate that he probably should have been.

“Right before he went up, we were watching video together. He feels like his game has gotten better from the offensive standpoint, getting pucks to better spots, generating more, and I feel like he’s grown offensively.”

With the Hurricanes announcing Tuesday that star forward Andrei Svechnikov’s season is over following knee surgery, there is an opportunity for Drury with one of the NHL’s Stanley Cup contenders. The official Hurricanes website projected that Drury will center a line with former Wolves teammate Stefan Noesen and Derek Stepan tonight against Winnipeg.

“Jack’s an NHL player all day,” Sheahan added.

Of course, seeing Drury depart for the Hurricanes does come at a challenging time for the Wolves, but Sheahan has been happy with his team’s recent play that has put them back into contention following a trying first half. Eight points behind Rockford for the Central Division’s closest playoff spot, the Wolves have a three-in-three weekend approaching. A Hurricanes AHL affiliate has not missed the Calder Cup Playoffs since 2016.

“It’s definitely a positive mood right now,” Sheahan said.

Rockford has another line-up addition after the Chicago Blackhawks assigned forward Ryder Rolston to their AHL affiliate.

The son of long-time NHL forward Brian Rolston, Ryder turned pro after wrapping up his third NCAA season at Notre Dame. His 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in 27 games helped him to earn a three-year entry-level contract with the Blackhawks that will begin next season.

For now, the 21-year-old will be with the IceHogs on an amateur tryout agreement.