Thursday, March 10, 2016

UNH Star Andrew Poturalski Signs With Carolina Hurricanes

Andrew Poturalski
2nd Leading Scorer in NCAA

After a breakout sophomore season with the UNH Wildcats, 22-year-old Andrew Poturalski (DOB: 1/14/1994) has signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Carolina Hurricanes organization. Andrew received a $185,000 bonus for signing with Carolina.

Poturalski's contract is a "two-way" agreement which provides different compensation depending on whether he is playing with the NHL Hurricanes or their American Hockey League affiliate Charlotte Checkers. If he makes the Hurricanes' roster, he will be paid a pro-rated, annual salary of $700,000 in the 2016-17 season and $832,500 in the 2017-18 season. If he plays for the AHL Checkers, he will be paid at an annual rate of $70,000.

College players who sign this type of two-way contract often end up playing some games with the big club and other games with the minor league team. The actual pay check that Poturalski will receive on any given week during the hockey season will differ accordingly. He will be paid a daily rate during the regular season which typically lasts about 190 games. For days he is on the active roster of the 2016-17 NHL Hurricanes, he will receive approximately $3,684 per day. If he is sent down to play for the AHL Checkers he will receive approximately $368 per day.

Under the terms of his contract, Poturalski had the option try to make the Hurricanes roster during the remainder of this regular season. Carolina has 11 games remaining in their regular season. However, if he chose this option and did not break into the Hurricanes lineup, he would use up one year of his two-year contract. Andrew decided not to do this and he will try to make the NHL roster beginning next season.

For the remainder of this season, Poturalski has signed an Amateur Try Out Contract with the Charlotte Checkers in the American Hockey League. This gives him the opportunity to practice with the AHL club and play in one or more regular season and playoff games. Presumably, he will be paid the $368 per day rate for the remainder of the Checkers season. Andrew will fly down to Charlotte on Thursday.

For most of this season, Andrew Poturalski was the top scorer in NCAA Division I hockey and periodically lead the nation in goal-scoring. As the UNH season came to an end on Sunday in a Hockey East Playoff loss to Merrimack College, Poturalski was the second leading scorer in the nation with 22 goals and 30 assists in 37 games. He was tied for 5th in goal-scoring and tied for 3rd in power play goals (8). Here's a sampling of Andrew Poturalski's goals from the first half of the 2015-16 season:

Poturalski was complimented by two talented linemates - Tyler Kelleher and Dan Correale. Kelleher finished the season with the 2nd most assists in the nation (36) and tied for 6th in scoring (10G, 36A, 46Pts). Correale scored 16 goals and 9 assists and tied for 3rd in power play goals (8) in NCAA Division I.

Andrew Poturalski committed to play for UNH when he was a 17-year-old, top scorer at the Nichols School in Buffalo, NY. After a year with the Buffalo Junior Sabres, the native of Williamsville, NY played two full seasons with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in the USHL. In his final season in Cedar Rapids, Poturalski was the 6th leading scorer in the USHL (64 pts), tied for 6th in goals (27), tied for 7th in Assists (37), and tied for 3rd in game-winning goals (5).

In his freshman season at UNH, Poturalski was the Wildcats' 4th leading scorer with 14 goals and 15 assists. Over the two seasons he entertained UNH Hockey fans, Andrew compiled 81 points. He was well on his way to joining the UNH Century Club.

Yesterday, Andrew Poturalski met with members of the press to discuss his decision to leave UNH and turn pro. **Here is what he had to say:

On the difficult decision to leave UNH:
“That’s what I think was the stressful part, and that was really difficult. Obviously, to leave UNH — I was going back and forth for a long time now. One hour I’d say, ‘yeah,’ and one hour I’d say, ‘no,’ and it was really tough. Ultimately, I talked it over with family and friends and everybody, and, to me, the opportunity I had was something I couldn’t turn down.”
On choosing the Carolina Hurricanes:
“I talked to their general manager and their head coach, and they both had a lot of good things to say. They’ve seen me play a number of times, and just fitting into their organization and where they saw me sounded good. It’s a small-market team there, and they have a lot of opportunity. They invest in their free agents and their draft picks, and they really take care of their players there, so that was definitely big for me.”
On the advice provided by former UNH star and current Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce:
"Brett called me, and I talked to him a couple of times. To hear from him too, and not just the coaches and their staff, but to hear from him, he loves it there, and he definitely said there’s opportunity, so that was definitely big.”
On his experiences playing for the University of New Hampshire:
“I definitely knew coming in (this season) that there would be a ton of opportunity with the guys we lost [the previous year], and I worked hard last offseason, and knew we’d have a lot of chances, a lot of opportunity, so I just tried to make the most of that. Dan (Correale) and Tyler (Kelleher) did a great job as well, and they helped me a ton. I thought we had a great year and had great chemistry, and it was fun. I owe everyone here, my teammates, coaches, for giving me the opportunity to be able to do this, [which] has been unbelievable, and I owe them a lot of credit.”
**From Mark Garbino's article in The New Hampshire.

On a personal note, it has been a pleasure reporting on Andrew Poturalski's progress since the day he committed to UNH. Here are some of the feature articles on Andrew that I wrote for The UNH Men's Hockey Blog:

First-in-the-Nation: UNH's Poturalski-Kelleher-Correale Line

UNH Freshman Andrew Poturalski: A Natural Scorer

UNH Recruit Andrew Poturalski Coming Fall 2014

UNH Recruit Andrew Poturalski Deals With Injury


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