Earlier today, the Nashville Predators placed 23 year-old forward Zach Boychuk on waivers.
Boychuk, who was drafted 14th in the 2008 NHL draft by the Carolina Hurricanes, is the sort of player who appears to be a good fit for the AHL, but is not quite ready for a stay in the NHL. In the 63 NHL games he played for Carolina, Boychuk only managed to net 7 goals and accumulate 11 assists, and this year with Nashville he has produced one goal and one assist in five games played.
His numbers in the AHL, though, hint at a possible future in the NHL for him: he tallied 36 points for the Albany River Rats in 2009-2010, and produced seasons of 65 and 44 points while playing for the Carolina Checkers from 2010-2012.
From what I’ve read of his career, it appears that Carolina was not impressed with his consistency, and that all of the speed and scoring he demonstrated during his tenure in the AHL wasn’t going to translate into NHL success, as far as their organization was concerned. Then again, the more I read, the more I see that Boychuk was stuck on some pretty limited lines during his stint in Carolina, and that some people believe he could develop his game better if he was given a shot on a third or even second line in a system that better fit his game. He also spent time this year in Pittsburgh (7 games), but with a team so loaded with talent, it’s not surprising he played sparingly there.
In other words, there are a lot of question marks concerning this kid. His NHL numbers are not impressive, but he’s only 23 and was a first-round draft pick, so he could wind up being a steal for a team that has a need for a speedy winger. Picking him up would be a huge gamble on Dracy Regier’s part, which makes me inclined to believe he won’t bother . . . but it’s definitely an option worth mulling over.
If any of you have seen Boychuk play, please leave your thoughts below, or send them to me @theamazingMrS on Twitter!!!