Rookie defenseman Justin Faulk can receive the best experience by staying with the Hurricanes instead of playing for the U.S. team in the world junior championships.
The decision comes in part because Faulk has been playing regular minutes since a brief stint in the American Hockey League with Charlotte.
So the decision to keep Faulk instead of releasing him to the national team means it's almost guaranteed that Faulk will stay with the NHL club. He has proved himself in the top-six mix among the team's defensemen.
"We believe it is in the best interest of our organization and his development for him to remain with the Carolina Hurricanes this year," general manager Jim Rutherford said in a statement.
On Wednesday night, Faulk skated a game-high 24 minutes, 43 seconds in a 4-3 loss to the visiting Phoenix Coyotes.
It's no secret that the Hurricanes' defense is shorthanded, particularly with Jay Harrison coming off a multi-week absence and Joni Pitkanen remaining out of the lineup with a concussion. That has left Faulk with more opportunities and responsibilities.
Faulk also appears clearly ahead of Derek Joslin in the pecking order and, depending on recent performances, perhaps ahead of Jamie McBain.
Faulk will be back in action Friday night at home against Ottawa in the Hurricanes' final game before Christmas.
The Hurricanes had scored power-play goals in their last two home games until Wednesday night. The Hurricanes act uneasy on power plays, particularly at home when there's a tendency to overpass with a craving for a textbook sequence. They were 0-for-3 on power plays against Phoenix.
The Hurricanes and Phoenix have played several games ending in shutouts, so Wednesday's 4-3 was an abnormal development. Five of the last seven games played in Raleigh, N.C., were shutouts, including the last four times that Phoenix won. This time, the Hurricanes crumbled after holding a 3-1 lead more than halfway through the game. Phoenix scored the last three goals, so it marked the first regulation loss for the Hurricanes in 12 games (9-1-2) in which they've led after two periods.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's a tough one to answer. We were in control of the game." -- D Bryan Allen, whose ice time was the least amount among the Hurricanes' defensemen in the loss to Phoenix.
D Jay Harrison reached a career high for assists in a season by notching his eighth this season in the loss to Phoenix on Wednesday night. His 10 points match his total from all of last season, a notable number considering he recently missed 10 games because of a concussion.
C Tim Brent was injured in Tuesday's practice, becoming the second Hurricanes player this season to suffer a practice injury that resulted in loss of game time. G Brian Boucher hasn't returned to active status since he was injured in practice earlier this month.
C Riley Nash was called up from Charlotte of the AHL and made his NHL debut. His call-up was done on an emergency basis, but he skated more than 13 minutes without putting a shot on goal.
Tim Brent was injured during Tuesday's practice with an undisclosed ailment.
LW Jeff Skinner (concussion) missed his fifth consecutive game Dec. 21. He has been placed on injured reserve.
D Joni Pitkanen (concussion) was injured Dec. 6 against Calgary and has missed every game since then. There's no specific time frame for his expected return.
G Brian Boucher (lower body) was injured in practice Dec. 5. He has been placed on injured reserve.