Victor Rask was a second-round draft selection in 2011. At the urging of Canes management, he left Sweden for North America, playing junior hockey the past two seasons for the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League while also making his professional debut.
“He’s just a much more confident kid, a much stronger kid,” said Ron Francis, the Canes’ vice president for hockey operations.
Come September and the start of the Hurricanes’ preseason training camp, Rask could be in position to make a push for a spot with the big club.
“No question,” Francis said. “He’s put in the time and effort off-ice and really made huge strides.”
“My time in Charlotte was huge for me,” Rask said. “When I went back to Calgary, I was a different player. I took on more responsibility and stuff, played well and my teammates looked up to me.”
Rask, who turned 20 in March, continued to be a point-per-game producer for a strong Calgary team – he has 104 points in 101 WHL games over two seasons. His 11-game point streak in the playoffs this past season was the longest for any WHL player.
“I saw a lot of him in the playoffs,” said defenseman Keegan Lowe, a Canes prospect who played for the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings. “He’s a lot to handle and pretty much good at everything. He’s extremely strong on his skates. He’s got those big, broad shoulders and is one of the best reverse hitters I’ve ever played against.”
For the second straight year, Rask competed for Sweden in the World Junior Championship as the Swedes took the silver medal in Ufa, Russia. One of Rask’s teammates was Lindholm.
“He’s got a good shot. Just watching it here (in camp), he’s got a little extra zip on it, a little zing. He’s firing it real hard.”