It’s a really tricky thing to make it in the NHL. Unless you’re a superstar with tremendous natural skill and undeniable physical gifts, it takes a lot of work and time to make it to the top. Think of any player and there’s probably a stint in juniors or college, followed by some minor league time before the NHL is even in the picture. Then to crack an NHL roster and become established in a niche is quite a challenge. If one can find the right organization at the right time, it can make all the difference in the world. Like Brian Strait has done with the Islanders, or how Ben Lovejoy now hopes to with the Ducks.

Zach Boychuk is in that boat as well. At 23 years old, the former first round pick is at a career cross-roads. A former first round pick in 2008, Boychuk has great skill, during the lockout he scored 32 points in 37 games for Carolina’s farm team. But time is running out for Boychuk to be anything but an elite minor leaguer that never seems to stick anywhere and bounces from team to team and NHL to AHL. Call it the Keith Aucoin syndrome.