RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – It may have taken a pandemic for it to happen, but it’s not very often that a seventh-round draft pick gets the chance to play in the NHL. Steven Lorentz will make his debut Thursday when the Carolina Hurricanes host defending champion Tampa Bay.
“It’s the NHL and I’m just so happy to be here,” Lorentz said. “It’s been a long journey to get to this point.”
The Hurricanes picked Lorentz 187th overall in the 2015 NHL draft. Picks that deep in the draft usually fade away after a few years, but not Lorentz. He’s always had the confidence. All he needed was an opportunity.
“Since I was young, I always kind of had the skill level to kind of move up,” Lorentz said. “The thing that maybe set me apart from guys who were drafted higher than me is my want-to.”
And that’s exactly what the Hurricanes saw in Lorentz. That’s why he’s been able to climb the hockey ladder to where he is now.
“He’s just happy to be here and he wants to contribute,” said Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour. “He doesn’t just want to check the list off and play in the NHL. He wants to do something special.
“You root for guys like that. I don’t know what it is about him but you do just root for him.”
Lorentz will now get his chance to play at the highest level. He will be on the same line as Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal.
Lorentz knows he would not have gotten this opportunity at this point if not for the pandemic. That’s just fine with him.
“I was so fortunate the ‘Canes did take a chance on me in the seventh round,” Lorentz said. “I didn’t really look at it as being a seventh-round pick and being on the outside looking in. I just tried to enjoy every day of being a player who got the opportunity to be drafted to the NHL.
“Here I am and I just can’t wait to get into the lineup.”
That long wait for Lorentz will end on Thursday when the Hurricanes play their home opener against the Lightning.