The hot topic around the Hurricanes web community is how the team currently rostering nine defensemen and how three of them (including arguably the team's best prospect) have been scratches in the first three games of the season. Paul Maurice has shuffled the lines and defense pairings a couple times now but has yet to change the lineup. He has a good reason not to because the current defense corps has been pretty solid so far (granted, it's only been three games) but sooner or later, Jamie McBain and Derek Joslin are going to have to get some playing time (my view is that Murphy should be sent back to junior for another year). To make matters worse, neither McBain nor Joslin can be sent to the AHL without passing through waviers and I'd have to think that there are a few teams interested in claiming them. Here's my take on how Carolina should fix this logjam...no comments
The Carolina Hurricanes announced today that they have assigned 12 players to the AHL. Those players being the following: forwards Zach Boychuk, Drayson Bowman, Jerome Samson, Chris Durno, Brett Sutter, Jon Matsumoto and Chris Terry, defensemen Bobby Sanguinetti, Justin Krueger and Mathieu Roy, and goaltenders Mike Murphy and Justin Peters. Samson, Sutter, Matsumoto, Sanguinetti and Peters needing to pass through waviers before they can go to Charlotte, but I'm not terribly worried about that. Any team can claim them but they need to stay on the NHL club or they go back on waivers. The only one I'd be worried about is Peters because some teams may want to sign him as a back-up. Columbus comes to mind.
After these moves, we have a slightly better idea of what the forward corps will look like to start the year. I was lobbying heavily for Boychuk to make the team but he hasn't been terribly impressive in camp so back to Charlotte he goes. I'm hoping we see him in Raleigh sometime this year, though. Bowman and Samson were also players who I thought should get looks for the bottom-six but they weren't that impressive the last couple of weeks so it's understandable they were sent down. I do think Bowman is one of the first guys the team will turn to should an injury occur. The rest of the cast isn't much of a surprise.
With these roster cuts, there are a few pleasant surprises to think of. One of which is Riley Nash having a very impressive camp and chosen to fill in for Tuomo Ruutu as the second line center for the time being. I think he will be sent down once Ruutu is healthy but it's really nice to see his game progressing the way it has. Also of note is Zac Dalpe beginning to look like a lock to make the team and possibly earn himself a spot in the top-six.
Carolina's forward corps looks a lot more clear after these moves, but there's still a lot of questions on what the final defense pairings will look like. That question should be answered within the next week or so.no comments
Jim Rutherford has locked up the Canes 2011 first round pick Ryan Murphy on a three year, entry-level contract. It will pay him $832,500 per season at the NHL level and $70,000 per season at the minor league level and he also received a $277,500 signing bonus according to the Hurricanes web site.
It's a very good deal for someone with Murphy's upside and I have to think his performance at the Traverse City tournament is what helped him earn this deal. Him and other young defenseman Justin Faulk were Carolina's most impressive players in that tournament and it wasn't even close. The question is when can we expect Murphy in the NHL? My guess is not for another year or two. Murphy was outstanding in the Traverse tournament but he will have to really blow people away in training camp to earn a spot on the big club with the defense corps pretty much set as it is.
Since Murphy is only 18, he can either make the team out of camp or be sent back to Kitchener and I'm thinking the latter is the better option. He still has some work to do in his own zone and giving him another season or two in Kitchener should help him develop his all-around game a little more. As of providing offense from the blue line is his best asset and with Kaberle signed, Pitkanen retained and another puck-mover in Jamie McBain on the roster, I'm not sure where Murphy will fit. It gets harder to find a spot for him if Justin Faulk (who was equally impressive) makes the team.
He'll probably be on the roster in another year or two when Pitkanen and Kaberle are heading toward the end of their new contracts. It's pretty interesting got think about how good Carolina's defense corps will look in another three years once Murphy and Faulk are full-time players. Tons of offensive potential there and a potential shutdown defenseman in Brian Dumoulin who could be with the Canes sooner than most think. If the team can add another shutdown guy into the prospect pool then the Canes blue-line should be completely revamped over the next few years.no comments
In baseball, there is a belief called "the manager effect" that goes around among fans and bloggers. It's basically the idea that some managers can get their team more motivated than others and play harder to win games. Some believe in this, some don't. This idea usually runs wild whenever a new manager comes in at the middle of the season and the team undergoes a hot/lucky streak during that time (see Buck Showalter's run with the Orioles). This belief obviously carries over to all sports when questioning how much of a role the coach plays with how good or bad a team is. There are many who have the mindset that a great coach can get a poor team to overachieve and vice-versa, it's one of the reasons why Pete Deboer was sought after by a few GMs this off-season to fill their vacant head coach positions. One way people try to determine how effective a head coach is by looking at a player's performance after he is traded or after his previous coach was fired.
If you remember the Canes playoff run during the 2008-09 season, a lot of players who were a big part of that team were basically cast-offs from other clubs and most of them started producing after Paul Maurice took over as head coach. Jussi Jokinen, Joni Pitkanen, Tuomo Ruutu and Sergei Samsonov all started to "rejuvenate" their careers a bit after being signed by or traded to the Hurricanes and all except Samsonov seemed to play better under Maurice. Let's go through the first three.no comments
- A pretty significant trade went down today as the New Jersey Devils sent Brian Rolston to the New York Islanders for Trent Hunter. This looks like a clear win for the Devils at first because it frees up more cap space for them to re-sign Zach Parise (they now have $7 million free) and Rolston has never lived up to his $5+ mil plus cap hit. When looking at things more closely, the Islanders don't look too bad for doing this trade because they need to get to the cap floor and Rolston's cap hit is higher than his salary (barely) so this helps their cause there. Also, Rolston has only one year left on his contract while Hunter still has two years left with a $2 mil cap hit so the Isles aren't taking on an albatross of a contract here.
That said, what makes the Islanders look bad here is they took a big contract off the hands of a divisional rival, which obviously will not go over well with the fanbase. Rolston will also be the highest paid player on the Islanders roster next year unless they sign someone else. Luckily for them, he isn't close to being the best player on the team as there are plenty of great young goal scorers on Long Island. Rolston may be able to take on soft minutes and play in the top-six there but he's clearly past his prime. Trent Hunter did not have a good season last year but he is a solid two-way forward who can be a big help for the Devils third line or fourth line. This trade helps the Devils causes right now because it creates cap room to re-sign Parise and it's not like Hunter's $2 mil in cap space will cripple them next season so I don't think them taking that contract is a huge deal, especially if he plays like he did before this most recent season.
- Avs get deals done with two of rookies, Gabriel Landeskog and Duncan Siemens. Good chance that Landeskog starts the year in the NHL for them. Excited to see what he can do.
- Review of Tim Gleason's 2010-11 season by the folks at Canes Country. I disagree with most of the negative things said about him but you could probably tell by reading this blog that I'm higher on Gleason than most people seem to be.
- A goal-by-goal analysis of Tomas Vokoun's season done by Red Line Station. Builds on what I did with Neuvirth, Varlamov and Ward in recent weeks. Great stuff.
- Nashville Predators ink Tyler Sloan to a one-year deal. I have to wonder about a few things; 1.) I can't believe Sloan was signed before Scott Hannan. 2.) Brett Lebda and Tyler Sloan might play on the same blue line. That scares me just thinking about it. 3.) What in the world is David Poille doing this summer? He's a terrific GM but he's made a couple questionable moves the past month or so.
- More great work from Gabe Desjardins at Arctic Ice Hockey looking into the question of how much quality of competition matters when looking at advanced stats in hockey.
That's all for today.no comments