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Wild vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Rookie Veterans Making Strides

Friday, 07.17.2009 / 11:02 AM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Rookie Veterans Making Strides
Although it’s the first glimpse of the professional level for most, you could forgive the participants at this year’s rookie conditioning camp for feeling just a twinge of dread.

Paul Branecky
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As a program designed to show the Hurricanes’ youngest prospects what it takes to be successful at the NHL level, six players currently in the team’s system and four invitees are put through the rigorous physical paces by trainers Pete Friesen and Jason Bailey.

After a long, grueling day spent by running stairs and lifting weights, it’s only at the very end that they finally get to take the ice and display the skills that got them this far.

“At the end of the day it’s good to go to sleep,” said Phillipe Paradis, the Hurricanes’ first-round pick last month.

This year’s camp is actually the second tour of duty for forward Zac Dalpe and goaltender Mike Murphy – the veterans of the group - who also attended last year’s session shortly after being drafted by Carolina in 2008.

“Me and Murph are letting the guys know the day-to-day basics a little bit, but they still seem to blow by us in the fitness testing,” said Dalpe with a laugh.

Prospect Profile: Mike Murphy

Call them gluttons for punishment (especially Dalpe, who has paid his own way each year in order to retain his college eligibility at Ohio State), but the camp has helped both players make important strides in their conditioning.

“Pete [Friesen] is amazing,” said Murphy, 20, who has added eight pounds this summer. “He’s really helped me to put on some weight, because that’s an area I need to improve on by getting bigger and stronger.”

“I think strength is the biggest word that I’ve had thrown at me, and I’ve agreed with it,” said Dalpe, 19, who has put on a staggering 15 pounds since his college season ended in late March. “Being a guy that developed a little bit later and has a late birthday I’ve needed to get my strength up. I’m getting there, but I’m not there yet.”

Adding some size will be among the biggest challenge for both players, who have each done extremely well since their draft year. Murphy managed to top his 2007-08 performance as the Ontario Hockey League’s Goaltender of the Year with an even better showing last year, capturing that award yet again and also being named the best netminder in the entire Canadian Hockey League, which includes the Western and Quebec leagues.

“I wanted to come back with another strong year,” said Murphy. “I wanted to prove that it wasn’t a fluke year in getting the OHL Goaltender of the Year award the year before.”

Murphy feels that working with the Hurricanes’ coaching staff at last summer’s camps were part of what helped him take that extra step.

Prospect Profile: Zac Dalpe

“Tom Barrasso has given me little tips here and there that are great,” he said. “I walked away last year he said that I kind of reminded him of how [Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre] Fleury played in his early years in the NHL. He told me to play better positionally and more technical, and I think that I did that. 

“That’s part of the reason that I put up better numbers this year, and it allowed me to get to those second and third rebounds,” he continued. “I have a lot of trust in Tom Barrasso, and I’m lucky I came to an organization with him and [former goaltender] Jim Rutherford. Whenever they think I’m ready they’ll put me in.”

It was also a good season for Dalpe, who played a bigger role as a freshman than most anticipated on a young Buckeye team that improved dramatically from one year prior, scoring 13 goals to rank third among CCHA rookies.

With his strong, smooth skating stride, quick shot and a nifty one-on-one move that drew "oohs" and "aahs" from spectators, Dalpe was the clear standout at Thursday’s on-ice session.

“I wasn’t really expecting to play as much as I did, but you’re surrounded by good players that make you look good,” he said. “People didn’t expect us to do as well as we did, so it was good to prove them wrong. We opened up some eyes around the league, and I think we’ll continue to do that next year.”




1 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 NYR 62 39 17 6 196 153 84
3 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43


J. Faulk 62 12 28 -18 40
E. Staal 57 18 20 -12 38
E. Lindholm 61 11 16 -18 27
J. Skinner 57 16 10 -17 26
N. Gerbe 58 7 16 -10 23
R. Nash 59 7 15 -10 22
V. Rask 60 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 62 6 13 3 19
J. Staal 26 4 12 -4 16
A. Nestrasil 34 4 11 4 15
C. Ward 17 20 4 .911 2.43
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .905 2.61