If you have some catching up to do on our “Midterms” series that checks in on Carolina Hurricanes prospects below the AHL level, you can find a menu with a clickable link to the most recent article on Stelio Mattheos and all of the previous 11 articles HERE.
Today’s update stays in the Western Hockey League that is home to five Canes prospects and checks in on defenseman Jake Bean who joined fellow Canes prospect Morgan Geekie with the Tri-City Americans after being traded from the Calgary Hitmen where Bean spent his junior career.
This update focuses on the Calgary Hitmen portion of Jake Bean’s 2017-18 season.
Jake Bean was one of two Hurricanes first-round picks in the 2016 NHL Draft at #13 overall. Bean projects to be a ‘new NHL’ defenseman with high-end skating ability and a skill set to generate offense from the back end off the rush, on the power play and from within the offensive zone. After a long look in the Hurricanes training camp, Bean returned to the Calgary Hitment for the 2017-18 season. He has since played on Canada’s World Junior team and been traded to the Tri-City Americans for the playoff push.
Interview with Tyler Lowey from DUBNetwork and the Strathmore Times
About the interviewee
Interview on Jake Bean
Canes and Coffee: Prior to his trade to the Tri-City Americans how would you summarize Jake Bean’s play with the Calgary Hitmen during the 2017-18 season?
Tyler Lowey: Before Jake Bean was traded at the deadline, he was having another stellar season. There was uncertainty to whether or not he would be back in Calgary to start the season, as he was one of the last players let go from the Carolina Hurricanes pre-season roster.
While a much younger team was struggling to perform out of the gates, Bean was still producing at his usual point-per-game clip that saw him turn from an undrafted bantam player into a first-round pick by the Carolina Hurricanes. He was named as one of the alternate captains and he appeared to help bring along some of the younger guys on the blue line. It didn’t take long for new head coach Dallas Ferguson to pair him with Vladislav Yeryomenko. Bean’s experience and the way he sees the ice really helped bring along Yeryomenko’s game to the point where he is now a prospect for the upcoming Entry Draft.
Canes and Coffee: How did he perform in the World Juniors Championship in December?
Tyler Lowey: Bean was involved in one of the scariest incidents of the tournament when he got slammed shoulder-first into the end boards by Marian Student of Team Slovakia in the second game of the tournament. It looked ugly and he left the ice, but somehow found the strength to return. What was crazy is that the same day, Mark Scheifele of the Winnipeg Jets slammed into the boards and was out for two months. But Bean returned, played his usual minutes and was thrilled to get that gold medal that eluded him the year before.
Canes and Coffee: What do you see as his strengths that project to be NHL-caliber in the future?
Tyler Lowey: The characteristic that jumps off the page when you watch Bean play is how well he can skate and move the puck. He isn’t your grandpa’s big bruising defender that controlled his own end with his size, but he is able to force players into making uncomfortable plays or directing them away from the goal-scoring areas with his skating ability and great stick. He will also be a power play guy, as he has had no problem producing at the major junior level since he showed up as a 16-year-old.
Canes and Coffee: What areas of Jake Bean’s game still have room for improvement as he continues to develop as a young player?
Tyler Lowey: Listed in the 170s, the obvious area Bean needs to improve on is his size and strength. That should come as no surprise, few players are ready physically to make the jump from major junior to the NHL. A little more time in the weight room will help him move bodies around the ice and protect the puck.
Canes and Coffee: Is there anything else about Jake Bean’s 2017-18 season that would be of interest to Carolina Hurricanes fans tracking him from afar?
Tyler Lowey: Carolina Hurricane fans should tune into the opening round of the WHL playoffs. Bean was dealt to a team that has a chance to make some noise in the playoffs, but he will have to go through either a preseason pick to come out of the West (Portland Winterhawks) or the arguably the greatest goalie in the history of the WHL (Carter Hart, Everett Silvertips). All three teams spent a lot at the deadline to acquire defencemen and one team will be sent packing after the first round due to the playoff format of the WHL. Should be a fantastic conference final-like series to open up the playoffs.
First impression from Aaron Piper since Bean’s trade to Tri-City
Aaron Piper who covers the Tri-City Americans for DUBNetwork had this to say when asked about his first impression of Jake Bean since his trade to the Americans at the deadline:
My take on Jake Bean…LOVE HIM! This guy has lived up to all the hype when he was traded here. He is such a calming presence on the ice. He doesn’t make mistakes when pressured. The game seems to move slower around him as he sees the ice extremely well. He moves the puck well and skates so smoothly.
Canes and Coffee would like to extend a huge thank you to Tyler Lowey from DUBNetwork and the Strathmore Times for generously sharing his ‘from the rink’ insight on Hurricanes prospect Jake Bean.