2007-08: After playing bantam AAA hockey in Colorado, Austin Levi moved to the Detroit area to play in the Compuware program. He played in 22 games for Compuware’s U-16 team and had 5 assists with 33 penalty minutes. Levi was selected by Plymouth in the 6th round (110th overall) of the OHL draft.
2008-09: Levi spent most of the season with Compuware though he did make his OHL debut, playing in 12 regular season games and five playoff contests with the Whalers. In his 17 games with Plymouth, he had two assists and 9 penalty minutes and was plus-4.
2009-10: Levi assumed a full-time role with Plymouth, appearing in 68 regular season games; finishing plus-10 and scoring 3 goals with 9 assists and 116 penalty minutes. He played in nine playoff games for the Whalers and was plus-two with 8 penalty minutes. Ranked 156th amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings, he was selected by Carolina in the third round (85th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.
2010-11: Levi returned to Plymouth for his second OHL season and doubled his offensive production while continuing to display consistent, physical defensive play. He scored 6 goals with 19 assists in 66 games including two scores on the power play. Levi’s plus-16 plus/minus was second-best on the team and his 87 penalty minutes reflected his willingness to engage in physical play. In 11 playoff games, he scored 1 goal with 4 assists and was minus-2 with 8 penalty minutes. Plymouth advanced to the second round before falling to eventual OHL champ Owen Sound.
2011-12: Levi had a career-high 30 points in his third OHL season with Plymouth while playing a much more disciplined game – cutting down to a career-low 46 penalty minutes. He scored 5 goals with 25 assists in 64 games and was plus-20. The Whalers finished first in the West Division and reach the second round in the playoffs. Levi scored 2 goals with 8 assists and was plus-five with 10 penalty minutes in 13 playoff games. Levi signed a three-year, entry-level contract with Carolina in March, 2012.
2012-13: Levi returned to Plymouth for an over-age season in the OHL after attending camp with Carolina’s AHL affiliate in Charlotte. In 58 games for the Whalers he scored 2 goals with 15 assists and was +31 with 49 penalty minutes. Plymouth finished first in the West Division and reached the conference finals. Levi had 3 assists and was +5 with 14 penalty minutes in 15 playoff games.
2013-14: Levi appeared in 10 games with Carolina AHL affiliate Charlotte; spending most of his first pro season with the Florida Everblades in the ECHL. He scored 1 goal and was minus-2 skating for the Checkers, who missed the AHL playoffs after finishing fourth in the West Division. Levi scored 2 goals with 13 assists and was an even plus/minus in 55 games with the Everblades. Florida was fourth in the South Division and did not make the playoffs.
A big defenseman drafted for his intimidating frame, Levi does not play an overly combative style. Still fairly raw in terms of his development he is used in more of a skating, two-way role at the ECHL level. He may not be talented enough in those areas to compete at the higher levels of pro hockey and possibly one day crack an NHL roster.
Levi attended training camp with the Hurricanes before being assigned to the ECHL's Florida Everblades to start the 2014-15 season. He was subsequently "loaned" to the league's Stockton Thunder as part of an ECHL trade and is likely to spend all or most of the season in the ECHL. Now in his second year of pro hockey, the fact that Levi is still competing at that level could be cause for concern. However, he was viewed as a long-term project when he was selected in the 2010 draft and has shown signs of progress. His development this season will give a clear picture of whether he has any NHL potential.