By Matt Mackinder -
In a span of one week, Connor Carrick has gone from an NHL draft pick on his way to the University of Michigan this fall to still an NHL draft pick, but one that will instead skate for the Ontario Hockey League’s Plymouth Whalers for the 2012-13 season.
Carrick, a defenseman from the Chicago area, was drafted last Saturday in the fifth round (137th overall) by the Washington Capitals out of the U.S. National Team Development Program and was slated to wear maize and blue this fall.
Earlier this week, the Whalers sent a sixth-round pick in the 2013 OHL Draft to Guelph in exchange for Carrick’s OHL rights, and Carrick signed an OHL contract Friday.
“We’re really excited to have Connor come to Plymouth,” Plymouth coach-GM Mike Vellucci said in a press release. “He’s got a great opportunity to continue his education while playing in the best developmental league in the world. With Beau Schmitz leaving, Connor fills a need as an offensive defenseman who will help our power play.”
Carrick was originally chosen by Guelph in the 11th round (212th overall) of the 2010 OHL Draft.
“From a hockey perspective, I believe that the Plymouth Whalers offer the best opportunity for me to reach my dreams in this game,” Carrick said Friday in a telephone interview with PlymouthWhalers.com. “You have a great team (in Plymouth) and I’m hoping to add to it. I felt it was a great fit and I’m very excited to make this decision.
“It seemed (the decision to come to Plymouth) was a no-brainer. Both my hockey and my schooling will be in great hands. The underlying message is I’m very excited. I definitely lost some sleep over a couple of nights, but I’m confident in moving forward this is what’s best for me.”
Carrick, who goes 5-foot-11 and 187 pounds, scored eight goals with 13 assists for 21 points in 57 games for the NTDP Under-18 Team last season and in 2010-11, Carrick scored four goals with 16 assists for 20 points in 55 games for the Under-17 squad.
In August, Carrick will be joining Plymouth teammates Ryan Hartman, J.T. Miller and Stefan Noesen at the USA Hockey national junior evaluation camp in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Carrick is the second former NTDP skater to forgo a college scholarship this summer as Hartman decided to play for the Whalers last month after originally committing to Miami University for the 2013-14 season.