Being a top-ten pick in the NHL comes with its expectations but also with the understanding that the player being picked is likely two to three years away from making his debut due to a need for development.
These expectations might be deemed unfair based on the circumstance and it takes a strong mind to keep focus on the ice through it all.
No one understands the hardship of being a top-ten pick in the draft and the hardships that come with it than Alex Turcotte of the Los Angeles Kings.
The 22-year-old centreman was drafted fifth overall in 2019 but didn't get into AHL action until 2020-2021 with the Ontario Reign after playing some more NCAA hockey.
Alex Turcotte has worked hard to get to where he is in the NHL today
Turcotte had 6 goals,15 assists, and 21 points in 2020-2021 in his first stint in the AHL. The problem was he only played 32 games that season.
Turcotte got the call-up during the pandemic-shortened 56-game season and played in 8 games registering 0 points. After his 8-game stint, he was sent back down to the AHL where he played in 27 games and had 18 points.
You might be thinking to yourself that Turcotte was rushed and if you did think that you're probably right.
But there were a lot of unusual things that happened in that 56-game season and due to the questionable availability of players, some NHL teams had to call up top prospects just so they could dress a complete lineup regardless of whether they were league-ready or not.
Turcotte was limited to 32 AHL games the following season with 17 points during that span. He did get called up to the NHL again for four games but remained pointless in his second stint as well.
But after having a healthy offseason this season, Turcotte had 23 points in 28 games to secure his highest point total in the AHL to date.
This solid streak earned Turcotte the call-up to the NHL on January 27th, and he would finally score his first NHL goal and point against Nashville. Turcotte had endured a lot of injury-shortened seasons and adversity in his hockey career so far, so this is a great thing to see.
He is still just 22 years old and if he starts producing the Kings will have no reason to send him down, especially with the way they have been playing as of late.