As a member of the London Knights, Dallas Stars’ draft pick Remi Elie had a guaranteed shot at the Memorial Cup this season. But the opportunity to play a much bigger role on a team much farther removed from championship contention has found the Green Valley, ON native suiting up in the black, gold, and red of the Belleville Bulls.
An injury riddled 2012-13 season saw the Carolina Hurricanes miss the playoffs for a fourth straight year. The organization finished tied for the fifth worst record in the NHL and struggled mightily to keep the puck out of their own net. Despite their struggles last season, the Hurricanes head into the 2013-14 season with a ‘win now’ mentality.
An injury laden 2012-13 season derailed the Carolina Hurricanes hopes of qualifying for the playoffs, a feat they have not accomplished in the past four seasons. General Manager Jim Rutherford's trade for Jordan Staal last year and his long term signing of Russian sniper Alexander Semin signaled that the Hurricanes are in win-now mode and they believe a championship is within grasp.
Despite lacking a lot of depth and talent, the Carolina Hurricanes organization has top-end prospects in the pipeline, including the offensively talented defenseman Ryan Murphy, and a potential rising offensive star in Victor Rask. There are also several good depth defensemen who, in the near future, could solidify the Carolina blue line.
With Tyler Seguin still making a case for an NHL roster spot, there’s a huge void to fill on the Plymouth Whalers’ roster — and although Austin Levi doesn’t have the offensive upside that the 2010 second-overall pick has, he’s looking to step in and assume a leadership mantle on the squad.
“I feel like that’s something I really want to be. One of the leaders of this team and lead by example, and help the young guys come along this year,” Levi said. “We’ve got a really young team this year, so that’s definitely something that we need to pay attention to.”
One idea he insists the team puts to the back of its collective mind is the thought they should wait for Seguin to return.
“We just look at is as though he’s not coming back, so we’re going to play like he’s not going to be here, so we have nothing to lose,” Levi said. “If he does come back that’d be great — he’s a great player and a great guy.
“That being said, we still have to look at it as this is our team and this is what we have to work with, so we’re going to do the best that we can.”