Assessing the Carolina Hurricanes goalie prospects

In case you missed it, yesterday’s Daily Cup of Joe offered my assessment and rankings of the Carolina Hurricanes blue line prospects. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe continues down that path and offers a quick assessment and ranking of the Carolina Hurricanes’ goalie prospects.   Graduated with honors from the junior level/still working to make the grade at the AHL level (3) Alex Nedeljkovic, Callum Booth and Jeremy Helvig From the draft classes back a few years, the Hurricanes have three goalies who wrapped up Canadian Hockey League careers on high notes and made the jump to the AHL level with high marks at the previous level. Alex Nedeljkovic was the first to make the jump for the 2016-17 season. After a stellar juniors career and similarly strong play in international play, some luster came off of Nedeljkovic’s star after a rough transition to the AHL level in 2016-17. But he rebounded with a better season behind a strong team in 2017-18 and regained some optimism in the process. Callum Booth followed a year behind Nedeljkovic in 2017-18. He played primarily in the ECHL, so he has yet to truly be tested at the AHL level. Finally, Jeremy Helvig will join the group in the professional ranks after finishing up a strong career in the OHL. All three of these goalies have NHL potential and did about all one could hope before jumping to the AHL. All three are in different stages of mastering the AHL level and making a case for being an NHL goalie. Though none are a sure thing, having three goalies with NHL potential in...
Assessing the Carolina Hurricanes defensemen prospects

Assessing the Carolina Hurricanes defensemen prospects

After some time to digest the latest chance to evaluate the younger part of the Carolina Hurricanes’ prospect pool at prospect camp in late June, today’s Daily Cup of Joe attempts to make sense of the blue line portion of the group. With Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce and Haydn Fleury already up at the NHL level and Noah Hanifin already departed from the group, I like to think of the prospect pool across two categories — nearness to being ready and potential ceiling. The first aims to measure ability to help soon, and the second measures the potential to find an impact player or two. I have started to group the Hurricanes’ blue line prospects into three fairly broad categories:   Near-term NHL depth (2) Roland McKeown and Trevor Carrick For players who have proven themselves at the AHL level and seem ready or near-ready to step into the NHL at least in a depth role and be serviceable or better, I count two players – Roland McKeown and Trevor Carrick. McKeown always seems to find a higher gear in NHL action be in preseason to prove a point or in the regular season when given a chance. He burst onto the professional scene by more or less winning the last defenseman roster spot at the NHL level before the 2016-17 season. Ron Francis thought better of it and added depth defensemen off the waiver wire, so McKeown could log a ton of ice time in Charlotte and continue his development. I do not see his ceiling as being as high as some of the other players, but I...
Potential deficiencies from the Carolina Hurricanes’ changes thus far

Potential deficiencies from the Carolina Hurricanes’ changes thus far

Putting the obvious disclaimer up front, it is obviously too early to make any kind of final assessment of the Hurricanes roster. But for those of us who are Hurricanes hockey die-hards, we have to bandy something around in mid-July, so working with what we have is the only option. The leadership is still untouched, but the Hurricanes roster has undergone a reasonably significant transition below that level. The team has added five new NHL players in addition to the potential for 3-4 rookies to also play their way onto the opening night roster. Fun right now is to focus on the potential improvements (which are legitimate), but with all the moving parts, the potential exists to create deficiencies too. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe details a few potential deficiencies generated by the player movement thus far.   1) The penalty kill The Hurricanes struggled to a 24th place finish on the penalty kill in 2017-18, so at first glance significant changeover here could be a good thing. But there can be benefit in continuity and familiarity too. Whereas the team arguably needed to add penalty killing talent, it has mostly shed this at the forward position. Gone is the entirety of the fourth line that was expected to do the heavy lifting in this regard in 2017-18. All of Joakim Nordstrom, Marcus Kruger and Josh Jooris are elsewhere now. Elias Lindholm is also out of the mix. Jordan Staal and Brock McGinn return, but past that training camp should include some auditions. On defense, mainstays Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce, but with Slavin’s propensity to be on the...
Carolina Hurricanes stories to watch during the dog days of summer

Carolina Hurricanes stories to watch during the dog days of summer

Depending on where you want to allocate the odd day in July, we are officially entering the second half of July and the dog days of hockey summer. The second half of July and the first half of August are easily the slowest days on the hockey calendar. Prospect camp is in the rear view mirror and even start of informal skates is still a ways into the future, and many a day goes by without any substantial news. But for the Hurricanes, there are likely to be some big news days interspersed around the mostly nothing days. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe attempts to detail all of the stories to watch during the rest of the summer.   1) Jeff Skinner as a trade possibility Last week included more rumblings about a potential Jeff Skinner trade when he and Max Pacioretty were rumored to be of interest to the Blackhawks. For as many changes as the Hurricanes have made already, I still think a true shake up and restart culture-wise must include the departure of at least one of the team’s leaders. Otherwise, the result of the offseason is scapegoats across the bottom of the lineup with the leadership still intact. It is hard to say who is more likely to be traded, but with one year remaining on his contract, I continue to say that the team either needs to re-sign Skinner or trade him. That combined with the regular rumors around him since before the draft even, I think a Skinner trade is definitely possible.   2) Justin Faulk as a trade possibility Just like Skinner,...
Canes catch up: Contracts for Valentin Zykov, Lucas Wallmark, Greg McKegg and Daniel Renouf

Canes catch up: Contracts for Valentin Zykov, Lucas Wallmark, Greg McKegg and Daniel Renouf

With the run of transactions last week, I never commented on Valentin Zykov’s contract. In the time that has passed since, the Hurricanes have also re-signed Lucas Wallmark and Greg McKegg. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe catches up on these contracts and discusses the team’s NHL contract status in general.   Valentin Zykov Despite having only 12 games of NHL experience, Zykov parlayed a strong AHL season with 33 goals in 64 games and a strong 10-game audition at the NHL level into a two-year, one-way contract that pays $650,000 in 2018-19 and $700,000 in 2019-20. With limited NHL experience, the Hurricanes could maybe have pushed for a safer two-way contract with a higher AHL salary. Instead, the Hurricanes offered a one-way contract to get two years at pretty close to the league minimum. The deal also sees Zykov signing his next contract as a restricted free agent and significantly without arbitration rights. The one-way deal increases the chance that Zykov will stay at the NHL and also provides a strong indication that that is what management expects. My 2 cents: While there is some risk signing an unproven players to a two-year, one-way contract, there is also some risk mitigation in the other direction for the Hurricanes by locking Zykov into a bargain basement salary.   Lucas Wallmark Coming off of a strong season in the AHL in 2017-18, Lucas Wallmark signed a two-year deal that is a two-way contract in the first year and a one-way contract in the second year. Like Zykov, Wallmark has minimal NHL experience, but also like Zykov, Wallmark had a strong 2017-18...