It’s been more than two months since Victor Rask was forced to get surgery on his hand after an incident suffered while slicing food in his kitchen, but the Carolina Hurricanes are finally going to get him back. After welcoming him back to practice recently, the team has activated Rask off of season-opening injured reserve making him eligible to play tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs if possible. Clark Bishop has been sent back to the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers to make room on the roster.
Rask, 25, is an important piece for the Hurricanes even if he hasn’t turned into the offensive powerhouse that some believed he could be after his first few seasons. Selected 42nd overall in 2011, Rask came out flying as a rookie in 2014-15 and recorded his first 20-goal season in 2015-16. Unfortunately that was also his only 20-goal season so far, as his point totals have dipped the last two years and are in danger of doing so for a third given the quarter of season he’s already missed.
Still, with Elias Lindholm gone to Calgary the Hurricanes will welcome back Rask with open arms to give them some more depth up front. A natural center, he should be able to help a group that hasn’t been able to find much consistency in the middle. Sebastian Aho has moved back to the position with great success this season after playing wing his first two years in the NHL, but Jordan Staal and Lucas Wallmark, the other two most common options in the middle, have both struggled offensively. Rask’s two-way ability should allow Carolina to do some different things with their forward group, and give them a much more balanced attack.