In training camp, Trevor Carrick was 1 of the young players that I was watching closely. I figured he was the second most likely young gun on D (behind only Noah Hanifin) to push up into the NHL mix. He was coming off of a solid season in Charlotte that gave him the advantage of a full season of pro hockey under his belt compared to the newly-arriving kids like Brett Pesce and Jaccob Slavin. It was actually in watching Carrick that I grew a quick appreciation for the maturity of Brett Pesce’s game and his seemingly seamless transition to a much faster pace. Carrick and Pesce were a regular pairing in the scrimmages and the red/white game.
First, it is important to note that my evaluation of Carrick was at a specific point in time that was almost a full season of hockey ago. So it is NOT a read on where he is today, but rather a starting point for evaluating his development over the past 6 months.
The positive on Carrick is that he is yet another young Canes defenseman who is a decent skater, and he plays with an edge, physical side and occasional nastiness that can be a positive. And he also brings offensive upside and the skill set to chip in scoring-wise.
His key hurdle, room for improvement and evaluation point
My read on Trevor Carrick at the time was that he still had some work to do in adjusting to the NHL pace and also reading situations quickly. He had a tendency to want to carry the puck but struggled at times to read when to get rid of it sooner versus later. When he found an opening, his skating ability and puck handling was good enough to advance the puck, but he also tended to make go/no go decisions without enough ability to quickly read the changing situation on the fly. As a result, he had a tendency to skate into dead ends and/or look to move the puck across only in desperation and at a time when it would put his partner in a tough spot.
So what I will be watching for with Trevor Carrick is an improved ability to:
1-Handle the NHL pace and pressure when forechecked.
2-Carry the puck with more foresight into opening skating/passing lanes such that he does not skate himself or his partner into tough situations.
3-Defensive play without the puck in his own end (automatic checkpoint for any young NHL defenseman).