Few lasting takeaways come from preseason contests in hockey, and looking at the box score will certainly not provide any answers either. Carolina’s 5-2 victory over Tampa Bay will be forgotten in short order, especially with the Florida Panthers awaiting on the second night of a back-to-back on Wednesday.
However, when it comes to prospects, preseason hockey can create a palpable buzz and provide optimism around an organization’s future.
Such was the case on Tuesday, as 2023 second round pick Felix Unger Sorum made his Hurricanes debut inside PNC Arena. If you checked the box score, you would see that the newly-turned 18-year old recorded just 12:08 of ice time, the lowest between both teams.
He also did not amass a shot attempt and even recorded a giveaway in the contest.
Remember how I referenced the uselessness in merely checking box scores? Yes, that applies here.
Unger Sorum tallied an assist on Caleb Jones’ go-ahead goal near the end of the first period, but his quality performance extends beyond the marks in the box score.
His forecheck earlier in the possession forced the turnover and allowed Jones to set up his shot attempt on a pass from Jamieson Rees.
Both his playmaking ability and effort were noticeable from puck drop in Raleigh. Whether it was extending possessions or connecting with teammates on passing attempts, his impact was felt.
Known for his impressive passing ability, Unger Sorum all but affirmed his reputation as a professional.
In the game’s early going, he set up Tony DeAngelo with a cross ice pass that would have qualified as a one-timer, but DeAngelo was unable to handle the gift from Unger Sorum. It was a play that I didn’t even expect to see early on in the preseason opener from either team, much less one of the youngest players in an NHL training camp.
His performance didn’t go unnoticed by Rod Brind’Amour either, who praised the Canes prospect.
“I actually thought the youngest kid on the ice was pretty good. [He] just turned 18,” said Brind’Amour. “You’re not sure how he’s gonna take the moment and he looked like he had no problem”
Brind’Amour went even further with his adulation of Unger Sorum after watching the second round pick impress.
“You don’t teach some things, [one of] which is that poise,” said Brind’Amour. “Some guys just have it and you can see he has it.”
The effort and aggressiveness was apparent in his debut, leading to warranted hype as one of the Canes top prospects.
At 18 years of age, there is no rush for Unger Sorum to rise to the NHL ranks, especially with a team as talented and deep as Carolina. With the playmaking ability that raises the play of teammates around him, he projects to be another second round gem for the Hurricanes in the future.
While he is unlikely to play in Wednesday’s matchup with the Florida Panthers, Unger Sorum will look to build off of his strong outing in Friday’s doubleheader in the Sunshine State.