Zac Dalpe paid his own way to this week’s prospect conditioning camp as an Ohio State recruit, to maintain his eligibility per NCAA rules. But he admits his mind isn’t fully made up yet.
Dalpe, Carolina’s second-round draft pick in June, committed to Ohio State before Plymouth (OHL) acquired his junior rights. The Whalers, who are owned by Carolina owner Peter Karmanos, are making a big push to sign Dalpe.
So far, they’ve been unsuccessful.
“I think about it all the time,” Dalpe said. “Right now I’m going to Ohio State but if I got an offer I couldn’t refuse, that’s something I’d have to look at also and explore.”
As one of the top 50 or so draft prospects, Dalpe figured the weeks leading up to the draft would be kind of crazy. It only got worse during draft weekend when Plymouth coach — and former Hurricanes goalie coach — Greg Stefan and Ohio State coach John Markell started exchanging verbal volleys in the media.
“You think after the draft, things will kind of wind down a little bit, but not for me,” Dalpe said. “I had my nose to the grindstone and I have some tough decisions to make, but I’d rather have two teams wanting me to play for them than none.”
• Predictably, Brandon Sutter looked like the best player on the ice — big, smooth and polished. Jamie McBain is bigger than I expected as well. The junior-to-be at Wisconsin (who also paid his own way per NCAA regs) carries himself bigger than his listed 6-2, 200. Look for more on Sutter in Friday’s paper.
And Zach Boychuk is small, but strong. He's got that little-ball-of-muscle thing going, sort of like the test-tube offspring of Ray Whitney and Rod Brind'Amour.
• One huge surprise on the ice: 2005 second-round draft pick Nate Hagemo, who hasn’t played organized hockey since 2005. His career at Minnesota was cut short by a shoulder injury and has had a number of run-ins with the law over the past year.
Hagemo was arrested two weeks ago in suburban Minneapolis on suspicion of harassment and violating a restraining order. In May, he pleaded guilty to refusing to submit to a chemical test and four misdemeanors, receiving three years probation. He was also arrested in January on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance.
According to this story from the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Hagemo is going through substance-abuse treatment and trying to revive his hockey career. I didn’t get a chance to talk with him because he took a stick in the mouth late in the on-ice session and needed medical treatment.
• Another late addition to the roster: forward Ryan Weston, a Boston University product on an AHL deal with Albany.
• Michael Leighton was on the ice with the prospects Wednesday afternoon, but feeling a bit fresher than they were.
While they were put through Pete Friesen’s circles of hell — including running from ice level to the top of the RBC Center and back down 10 (ten!) times — Leighton and his wife were out looking for a house.
• There was a who's-who of Hurricanes brass on the ice or with noses pressed to the RecZone glass — just about everyone except Jim Rutherford and Karmanos.
Ron Francis, Kevin McCarthy, Jeff Daniels, Tom Barrasso and Glen Wesley (in his coaching debut) were on the ice as Jason Karmanos, Peter Laviolette and Tom Rowe watched.