Maybe they can hear the footsteps. Or sound of skates.

If not maybe they should.

For the past few years Drayson Bowman Zac Dalpe and Zach Boychuk always seemed to be among the hot names in Carolina Hurricanes training camps a trio of young forwards seemingly linked together all looking to play their way onto the roster and stay there.

Now they’re a little older. Soon they could be the ones being pushed by Brock McGinn Victor Rask Brody Sutter Sergey Tolchinsky and others.

“I think they all know where they are in their careers” Canes coach Kirk Muller said. “This is an important camp for them. Because you know as everyone’s career is going along now you’re talking about the McGinns and the Rasks and there’s a new bloodline coming through and pushing the envelope.

“The reality is you have a window of opportunity and it’s only for a few years and you have to grab it when you can because the next crop of young guys are right on your heels.”

The Hurricanes will play the first of six preseason exhibition games Wednesday when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets at PNC Arena. Cam Ward will be in net and forward Elias Lindholm the Canes’ first-round draft pick this year will play his first game against NHL competition.

Bowman and Dalpe will be in the lineup – Bowman on the top line with Eric Staal and Alexander Semin. Boychuk will not play but with the Canes set for three road games in three nights beginning Thursday he’ll get his chance this week.

Bowman is 24 and Dalpe and Boychuk are both 23. The three have spent the past three or four seasons bouncing between the NHL and the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League.

All have had outstanding NHL games but not enough of them. After the NHL lockout ended in January Boychuk started the Canes’ season opener against Florida on a line with Staal and Semin but did not play another game with Carolina.

“It’s a matter of these guys being consistent and playing the game well not only with the puck but without the puck” Muller said. “This is their opportunity.”