It's that time of the week where we'll step away from Hurricanes news to discuss what has been going on with some of their prospects. Last week, they had three prospects leading their respective OHL clubs in points and saw big performances from forwards Sergey Tolchinsky and Brock McGinn. Who stood out in the Canes prospect pool this week?no comments
With the OHL season being a couple weeks old and college hockey just around the corner, it's now time for our weekly review of the Hurricanes prospects. The team's prospect pool isn't as widespread as it was last year, as most of their junior players have graduated to the professional level but there is some new blood in the system and a few of them have been doing well for themselves in this young OHL season. Three Carolina prospects currently lead their respective teams in points (Segey Tolchinsky, Trevor Carrick & Brock McGinn) and a couple others have been off to good starts, as well.
After the jump, we'll take an individual look at the week that was for each of Carolina's OHL prospects.no comments
After months of previewing and speculating, the 2013-14 season is finally here for the Carolina Hurricanes and they face a very tough test tonight when they take on the Detroit Red Wings. I never like to read into opening night results that much because it's only one game, but after how the last two season openers went for Carolina (both 5-1 losses), it would be nice to see the Hurricanes come away with a win tonight. Especially since this hasn't exactly been an ideal off-season for the Canes. Between the news about Joni Pitkanen, the myriad of injuries affecting the club right now and the move to a tougher division, the feeling in Hurricanes camp right now is one of concern rather than hope.
Personally, I don't think the Hurricanes are going to be that outmatched in this new division as some may believe, but there are a lot of things that need to go right for them in order to make the playoffs. With so many key players injured during the pre-season, it may take a few games for the coaches to figure out what the full-time lineup will be and the next couple of weeks may not be pretty from Carolina's standpoint, especially since they play some very good teams at the beginning of their schedule.
There's definitely a lot to be concerned about if you're a Canes fan and I understand that but personally, I'm way more excited for this season than I was the last two or three. I might be a little more optimistic than I should be, but I truly don't believe the Canes were as bad as their record stated last season and I like that there is a lot up in the air for them this year. I don't know what to expect in terms of results or how the team will perform in the new division because there is still a lot that needs to be decided. All I do know is that this is going to be a much different Canes team than they were in year's past (for better or worse) and that really makes me look forward to this season even if most people are projecting the Canes to finish last in the division.
As for tonight's game, I really want to see the Hurricanes carry over their strong puck-possession game from last season and hang tough with Detroit but ultimately, I'm just hoping for a win. Even if it's one where they get outshot 35-22 and rely on luck to carry them. This is not how I want the Canes to win all of their games but for tonight, I'll be satisfied with a win no matter how it comes. I'm sure everyone else in the Triangle has the same mindset, so let's get to previewing the actual game.no comments
There has been a lot going on for me the last couple of months and I thought it would be a good idea to give you all a heads up on everything that has been going on for me lately and how it will effect this blog. First off, I'll just say that this blog is not going anywhere and I'll still do my best to get one post a day up on here. However, with me being added to the staff of a couple other web sites, working full-time and still doing my NHL tracking project on the side, there will be less game day coverage than there has been in years past. I'm still going to be tracking scoring chances, zone entries and zone exits for every game and post the data here afterward, but I may not get able to get a preview & recap posted every night like I did for the last couple of years.
Those posts are great for generating hits, but I always felt like those can be found on other blogs so instead, I'm going to be focusing on bringing you guys more analytical pieces on a regular basis. My goal is still to get at least one article up per day and I'm sure that will be fairly easy to do once the Canes get a few games under their belt.
In addition to that, I'm going to add a couple of new features to the web site, one of which being a database for all of the data I've tracked for the Hurricanes over the last two seasons (scoring chances, zone entries, exits, etc.) and possibly having it expanded beyond that. I'm also going to try to bring back my weekly statistical recap of the Hurricanes team & individual player performances like I did during the 2011-12 season and review the performance of Carolina's prospects.
There are some other things I have planned for this season as well, but I'm not quite ready to reveal them just yet. I just wanted to give you all a heads up on some of the changes I'll be making to this blog over the next month or so. As always, thanks for your readership. I'm looking forward to this season.no comments
With the roster needing to be trimmed down to 23 players by 5 p.m. today, many fans were hoping that the Hurricanes roster situation would be cleared up by now. Unfortunately, the roster the Hurricanes submitted left everyone with more unanswered questions. According to the statement released by the Canes today, the Hurricanes "opening night" roster will feature 12 forwards, 8 defensemen and two goaltenders. Seeing how two players on the roster are injured (Tim Gleason & Elias Lindholm), it's very likely that the lineup the Hurricanes send out on Friday night will be completely different from what we're seeing here.
This became evident when the team announced that they were sending defenseman Ryan Murphy to the AHL even though he has been very impressive in training camp and is needed on the power play. They also did not sign right winger Radek Dvorak, despite him also having a good camp and filling a need in the bottom-six. The Hurricanes can still make changes to their roster between now and Friday but had until today to trim their roster down to 23 players. What might sound odd to fans is that they were already at 23 players before they sent Murphy to Charlotte. One would think that this means the coaching staff wants him to play a few games there before breaking into the NHL, but then TSN's Bob McKenzie tweeted that Murphy will likely be on the opening night roster despite being sent down today.
This really comes down to cap space and the Hurricanes needing to wait until the season to place injured defenseman Joni Pitkanen on Long-Term Injured Reserve. As everyone knows by now, Pitkanen is not going to play this season and the Hurricanes were eventually going to place him on LTIR, which would take his cap hit off the books until he is healthy and able to play. However, they can't place Pitkanen on LTIR until tomorrow at the earliest because that's when the salary cap begins to take into effect. Capgeek explains everything well in this article here, but the gist of it is that LTIR can not be used unless a team absolutely needs cap relief, so the Hurricanes have to wait until tomorrow to put Pitkanen on LTIR and get his $4.5 mil. cap hit off the books. Right now, he is listed as an "injured non-roster player," and his $4.5 mil. puts the team right up against the cap. I suspect this to change tomorrow.
This is probably why the team elected to send Murphy & his $1,313,333 cap hit down while keeping Matt Corrente on the roster for now. It also explains why they did not put the injured Gleason on IR yet because he will likely be out for more than 10 games with a concussion. Once this happens, the Canes will likely have enough room for Murphy, Dvorak and possibly another player if they want to add more to cover up the injuries.
As for the rest of the roster, there are still a few things to iron out. Alex Semin is still questionable for opening night with a hand injury and no one knows if Elias Lindholm will be in the lineup either. It's also tough to figure out if the Canes will make another move since the team's right wing depth is still lacking and they could use a couple of improvements in other areas. With the season being just around the corner, my instincts say there won't be any major moves, but there could be a couple of surprises.no comments
Another round of roster cuts has passed and it's still uncertain what the Hurricanes opening day roster will look like. The team has spent the last couple of days attempting to trim down the roster to 23 and while we are getting a better picture of what the roster will look like, it's still tough to figure things out at the moment. Between the injuries, the Welsh/Dalpe trade and Chris Terry going on waivers, the Hurricanes had only eight healthy forwards skating at practice the other day and are currently carrying nine defensemen on the roster.
There are obviously going to be some changes before Thursday night, but they have until noon today to cut the roster down to 23 players The roster they send out for the first game will obviously be very different from what it will be in a couple months, but the Canes have a short amount of time to clean up this mess of a roster and it will be interesting to see what moves are made. Kirk Muller mentioned over the weekend that he is going to take time with the roster cuts because of how many players are injured and he seems to have held true to his word so far, as only one player was waived over the weekend and no one else was added.
Still, when you have only eight healthy skaters at practice and nine defensemen on the roster, there has to be some transactions just around the corner but what exactly can the Hurricanes do while staying below the 23 player limit?no comments
We all knew that there had to be a few roster cuts or trades on the horizon and late last night, we got our first moves as the Hurricanes dealt Jeremy Welsh and Zac Dalpe to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for forward Kellan Tochkin and a fourth round pick in this year's draft. My initial reaction to this was shock because the Canes just sent two roster players to Vancouver for a mid-round pick and a player who spent all of last season playing in the Central Hockey League. On the surface, the Hurricanes got fleeced and they'll likely end up on the short end of this deal a few years from now unless Tochkin really surprises everyone. So why did they make this trade then?
Unfortunately, this all comes down to cap space and salary. The Hurricanes unwisely gave Jeremy Welsh a two-year contract that had him on a one-way salary the second year, meaning he would be paid the same amount of money regardless of where he played. Welsh is set to make $1,000,000 this year and that is obviously too much money for someone who was likely going to be in the AHL to start the year. If Welsh made the team out of camp, then this is a different story but he was largely unimpressive both in camp and the preseason so the odds of him being on the Canes opening night roster were slim.
Not wanting to spend $1 mil. on an AHLer, the Canes decided to send Welsh to a team who might have some use for him and if not, they're a big market team and shouldn't have much of a problem swallowing his $1 mil. salary in the AHL. Unfortunately, you have to either give up something or expect little in return when making a trade like this and that's exactly what the Hurricanes had to do here by also sending Dalpe to the Canucks while receiving a fourth round pick and a CHL player in return. Or at least that's what the general belief seems to be.
While I have no doubt that the Hurricanes may have needed to "sweeten the pot" to get Vancouver to take on Welsh's contract, I'm not sure if throwing in Dalpe was that difficult for them. Dalpe was one of the team's better prospects and can still have a bright future in the NHL, but him being on the opening night roster was looking like a longshot based on the reports out of training camp. Dalpe was scratched in two of the last three games and played less than 10 minutes in Saturday night's preseason finale against Buffalo.
I still like Dalpe and believe he can be a regular NHLer, but it was becoming pretty clear that he wasn't seeing eye-to-eye with the coaching staff, especially since Muller took over. Dalpe played a total of six non-consecutive games under Muller in his first year as head coach before being sent down in mid-February and he got only 10 games last year, four of which coming after he was initially sent down at the beginning of the year. Muller was also prone to use other players from Charlotte (Bowman, Samson, etc.) or make do with what he had on the roster instead of calling up Dalpe when he didn't have to pass through waivers. I don't want to assume anything because I'm not around the team 24/7, but it's fair to speculate that the two weren't on the same page and Dalpe likely would have been placed on waivers once the final roster cuts were announced.
If this was the case, then I don't see the problem in getting something in return for Dalpe rather than risk losing him for nothing on waivers. Why else would the Hurricanes trade a promising scoring talent who fills a current need as a right winger? Dalpe is 23 years old and is at the age where he needs to make the NHL or risk tolling away in the minors for the rest of his career, and I think he will have a good shot at breaking into the league with the Canucks. It's just unfortunate that his situation with the Hurricanes ended up as bad as it did because the team spent a 2nd round pick on him and he has really made considerable strides since making the transition to the right wing.
I know that I've made 1,000 excuses for why Dalpe isn't in the NHL right now, but I truly believe that he has yet to be given a fair shot and can thrive in the right situation. He should have gotten more than 10 games last season and I have a feeling that he will get a decent look on a Vancouver team that needs forward depth right now. If his development continues to be on-pace, then he should begin to look like the guy the Hurricanes took in the second round a few years ago.
I can understand the Hurricanes motives behind this trade since they were backed into a corner, but I can't say that I agree or like the move at all since it presents little upside for them. The one good thing that can come from moving Welsh & Dalpe is that it opens up the opportunity for a waiver claim or a trade to fill some other holes on the roster. It wouldn't shock me if there is at least one new face in on the team come Tuesday afternoon.no comments
The Hurricanes will play their final preseason game tonight and ultimately, there really isn't a lot riding on it because the opening night roster is going to look completely different from what we'll see tonight. Regulars such as Alexander Semin, Jeff Skinner and Tim Gleason will be out of the lineup and the Hurricanes top line will feature Radek Dvorak playing right wing. Injuries remain a concern, but it's doubtful that the Hurricanes opening night lineup is similar to what we'll be seeing tonight so there's no point in getting hung up on the results of this game.
However, this is a big night for players who are on the cusp of making the roster, as it is their final chance to make a good impression on the coaching staff before the games start to count. Head coach Kirk Muller said after the embarrassing 6-0 loss to Montreal last Friday that the "door was closing" for some players. Now that a week and a round of roster cuts has passed since then, have there been any changes? Somewhat. Most of the players who were longshots to make the team are now in Charlotte, but a lot of the fringe guys are still with the Hurricanes and have one more game to earn one of the final opening night roster spots.
There are a couple of players who stock has risen within the last week (Nathan Gerbe, Riley Nash, Ryan Murphy, Brett Bellemore), but the Hurricanes still have room for a couple more players and possibly more if the injuries to Gleason & Ruutu prevent them from playing in the opener. This is bad news for the Hurricanes in the long-term, but it also provides an opportunity for the younger players to thrive in a bigger role, something a lot of people have been calling for years now. Unfortunately, some of these younger players haven't risen to the occasion and tonight could be their last chance to make a lasting impression with the coaching staff.
This doesn't apply to all of the fringe guys because there have been some who have impressed in camp and the preseason, but others have underperformed and they will need to make the most of their ice time tonight if they want to earn a roster spot. As it stands now, the Hurricanes probably have 2-3 forward spots open and one or two spots on defense depending on who is healthy in another week or so. Who has the best chance of earning these spots and playing in Raleigh come next Friday?
After the jump, we'll look at the updated projected roster and which players will need to have a good showing tonight against Buffalo.no comments
If you follow Raleigh News & Observer writer Chip Alexander on Twitter, then you have probably seen the Hurricanes forward line combinations during training camp and said to yourself "what in the world is this team doing?" The Hurricanes top-six was thought to be set in stone but injuries to Alexander Semin, Elias Lindholm and Tuomo Ruutu have put a wrench in the team's plans. Now, we are seeing players like Radek Dvorak & Nathan Gerbe in the top-six and line combinations that look completely random.
Preseason is often the time for experimentation and the Hurricanes aren't the only team that's thought outside the box, but I'm sure there are a lot of fans who are puzzled when trying to figure out what the Canes forward lines will look like come opening night. There's a chance that things will revert back to normal if Semin, Ruutu and/or Lindholm are ready to go by then, but Muller has been experimenting even when these players were in the lineup, so we are bound to see some interesting lines no matter what.
Forward depth was a problem for the Hurricanes last season and judging from the lines at training camp, it could still be a problem this year. There is always a chance that one of their younger players steps into a bigger role and makes the situation better, but the Hurricanes are going to be placing a lot of faith in unproven talent, especially on their bottom-two lines. Breaking players into a smaller role isn't the worst thing to do but if an injury to a top player occurs, it throws everything out of proportion by forcing them to do more than they are expected to. The Hurricanes have already endured three injuries and as a result, the lines look like a mess and the opening night lineup is subject to change at any minute.
The one thing the Canes do have going for them is that they are strong down the middle and they have a few guys who can play multiple positions, which will hopefully come in handy while they adjust to injuries and whatnot throughout the year. Muller already mentioned that he is open to using Elias Lindholm, a natural center, at right wing and we've seen him use Ruutu as both a left & right wing before in the past. The question is where will they fit in the lineup and how can that help the Hurricanes forward depth issues?
To illustrate this point, I'm borrowing an idea from Japers Rink where I ranked each player by position and presented them in the form of a Venn diagram and showed the forwards who can play multiple positions in the overlap category. Before we dive into things, I just want to clarify that I'm doing this to give a full look at the Canes options and am not trying to predict the team's opening night lineup or forward lines that they might use, because both of those are up in the air right now.no comments
Now that one week of pre-season games are in the books, we should have somewhat of an idea of where some of their fringe players are. They ran the risk of inviting a lot of young/unproven players to camp and with at least 6-7 open roster spots, all of them were going to get their fair shot over the past week. I went over some of the position battles that we could be seeing over the past week and after four games, it is still tough to figure out which players will stay on the big club once the seasons starts in two weeks.
There is a strong chance that we won't know the opening day lineup until after next week when the pre-season concludes, but we should see a few cuts today and there are likely going to be a few interesting names on the chopping block. The Hurricanes pre-season didn't exactly show much promise, as the team dropped three of their first four games including a 6-0 loss to Montreal and head coach Kirk Muller stated that the "door is closing" for a few of the younger players.
The results in pre-season typically don't matter, but there was some expressed disappointment from Muller about the performance and execution of some of the younger players and I'm willing to bet that a couple of them might be in Charlotte by Monday morning. Muller's given plenty of chances to the young guys in camp this year by using them in top-six roles and on special teams. so it will be interesting to see who ends up staying in Raleigh after this week.
We already know that Nicolas Blanchard, Zach Boychuk, Justin Peters, Michal Jordan, Jared Staal and Aaron Palushaj are heading to Charlotte, but who else could be next on the cut list?no comments