directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Hurricanes impressed with Dalpe's development

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hurricanes impressed with Dalpe's development

Reading the article this morning from the Dispatch about David Steckel's playoff success and the success in general of guys like RJ Umberger and Ryan Kesler it got me thinkin... what lies ahead for 2008 2nd round pick and current Buckeye forward Zac Dalpe?

If you recall last season Dalpe was came out of nowhere and was even projected to be a #1 pick by a lot of scouts. He ended up falling to Carolina in the 2nd round and that is when things got very interesting.

Dalpe was OSU's prized recruit and was really being counted on to help turn their program around following a dismal 12-25-4 season. OSU was the first school to show any interest in Dalpe who was off most scout's radars because at the time he was very undersized but had D1 talent. Then the growth spurt hit and he rocketed up the draft lists and was later drafted by the OHL's Plymouth Whalers.

The good news for the Buckeyes is that he was drafted high by the NHL's Hurricanes... the bad news is that the guy who owns the NHL team who drafted him, Peter Karmanos, also owns the OHL's Plymouth Whalers. You figure whelp, their goes the Buckeyes' savior right?

Not so fast.

Zalpe spurned the pressure to join the Whalers and honored his commitment to Ohio State. It certainly looks to be a wise decision as Dalpe turned in a fantastic rookie campaign notching 13g, 12a for 25 points in 37 games and helped propel the Buckeyes into the NCAA Frozen Four tournament. He also made the CCHA's all rookie team. Check out some quotes from this article:

The Hurricanes were initially concerned about Dalpe heading through the college route as opposed to playing in a major junior league such as the OHL – not because of any difference in the level of play, but rather because it can be difficult to break into the college ranks as an 18-year-old.

“The worry sometimes is that it’s hard to jump in as a true freshman,” said Karmanos, who played college hockey himself at Harvard University. “A lot of guys don’t come in until they’re 20 or 21 these days. You want a second-round pick to be playing and playing a lot, and sometimes at the collegiate level true freshman don’t play as much, just as the natural order of things.”

Dalpe’s production against such odds has put those fears to rest.

“He’s playing very well at the college level against older players, and he’s contributed to the success of Ohio State’s season to date,” said Hurricanes Director of Amateur Scouting Tony MacDonald. “I’ve even had colleagues from other teams mention Zac to me and how well he’s been playing.”

Hurricanes Director of Defensemen Development Glen Wesley, who has quietly begun working with forwards ever since Ron Francis assumed a coaching role, recently traveled to see Dalpe in person.

“He’s playing against guys that are older and he’s being put in penalty killing situations, playing the power play on a regular shift, sometimes on the point, and he takes crucial faceoffs at key points in the game,” said Wesley. “That says a lot for him as a freshman that they rely on him in those key points in the game.”

Not only is Dalpe appearing in those important situations, he’s delivering. Three of his goals this year are game-winners, adding to his budding reputation as a clutch player at both ends of the ice.

“He’s scoring big goals and making big plays for a team that’s been winning some big games,” said Karmanos. “Those are all things that you want to see.”

I would expect Dalpe to spend at minimum, one more season with the scarlet and gray, before turning pro. Of course his future will all depend on how he progresses this coming season.

As far as this year's OSU hockey recruiting crop... According to Chris Heisenberg's fantastic college recruiting blog it doesn't look like there are any high profile names (i.e. nobody listed in the NHL Central Scouting's final list of North American eligible players) who have committed at this point.

There was one interesting recruit that stood out to me by the name of Clark Cristofoli though. He was a member of the Ohio Jr. Blue Jackets Midget team. Another sign central Ohio is starting to develop it's own talent.


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