The ECHL has been a retreat for Hurricanes prospect Brad Fast, in both senses of the word. It’s a demotion, a step backward from his AHL Lowell Lock Monsters, but also a chance to renew the spirit, regroup and re-energize from a season that has by any measure been incredibly disappointing.
A former star at Michigan State University, Fast was a finalist for the Hobey Baker award in 2002-03. Selected in the third round of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes, he was the organization’s top offensive defenseman prospect coming into this season, on track to contend for a job with the Hurricanes if the 2004-05 NHL season had been played.
Putting up 35 points in 79 games with Lowell last season, Fast got called up to play with the Hurricanes in the final game of the year. The 25-year-old was named captain of the Lowell Lock Monsters to start the 2004-05 season. But once the season got underway, Fast struggled. Off to a bad start, he saw time in only 32 games, the rest watching as a coach’s decision. He had only six points in those 32 games and was -4.
Hurricanes Director of Amateur Scouting Sheldon Ferguson spoke to Hockey’s Future last week for the forthcoming Top 20 Prospects ranking. He was completely puzzled as to what had happened to Fast this season, speculating that it was perhaps a collapse of confidence.
Brad Fast himself didn’t have many more answers, but he did share his thoughts and feelings about what he’s been through this season.
“It’s been a frustrating year,” Fast described. “It started out good in Lowell, being captain and everything. And then I didn’t play up to expectations and things just sort of snowballed from there. I got out of the line-up and it was tough for me to get back in.”