He’s only 17. Not even old enough to vote yet in Canada.
And yet, Carter Verhaeghe has been impressing at Toronto Maple Leafs prospects camp. As Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star reported on Friday, Verhaeghe scored three times, including once in a shootout, in scrimmages on Thursday.
His age would suggest there is still some growth left in his game.
“Where Verhaeghe is today and where he’s going to be 18 months from now, we’ll see a major transition in his game,” Jim Hughes, the Leafs director of player development, told the Toronto Star.
“You can see the skill-sets and the poise with the puck and playmaking ability. He can buy time and space.
“He’s smart, he thinks the game. So he came in and did what we thought he could do, but when you project it out when he gets stronger and he gets older, he’s going to be an elite player, obviously, at the OHL level, and then we’ll see where’s at. You’re looking 18 to 24 months down the road with him.”
The Leafs selected Verhaeghe in the third round of this year’s draft, with the 82nd overall pick.
He played this season with the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League, scoring 18 goals and 44 points in 67 regular season games.
Didn’t take long for Jack Eichel to make his mark at the NHL level.
The No. 2 overall pick at this year’s draft scored his first-ever NHL goal in his first-ever NHL game on Thursday night, cutting Ottawa’s lead to 2-1 in the third period of Buffalo’s season-opener.
Marcus Foligno and another new Sabre, Evander Kane, registered the assists on Eichel’s marker, which came on the power play.
Chances are Robin Lehner won’t look back fondly on his first game as a Sabre.
Midway through Buffalo’s season-opener against Ottawa, Lehner — facing his old team for the first time since getting traded this summer — suffered a lower-body injury, and was forced from the contest.
During the second intermission, the Sabres ruled out Lehner for the night.
It was a difficult turn of events for 24-year-old, who admitted he was keen to go up against the Sens. He had a bit of a chip on his shoulder about his time in the Canadian capital; Lehner felt he never got a full opportunity to run with the No. 1 gig, and probably wasn’t thrilled GM Bryan Murray opted to keep Craig Anderson and Andrew Hammond instead of him.
As for tonight’s injury, details are scarce. All that’s known is the ailment was serious enough for Lehner to leave and not return, forcing backup Chad Johnson into duty.
Prior to getting hurt, Lehner had stopped 11 of 12 shots faced.