Random Canes notes — Key to next step up and potentially selling high on Haydn Fleury

Random Canes notes — Key to next step up and potentially selling high on Haydn Fleury

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe….is not about goalies!!! I know you’re excited. 🙂 Instead today’s offering is a collection of random Canes notes.   Key to the next step up I think some people underestimate how close the Hurricanes are to being in Stanley Cup contention and at the same time overestimate how much closer the team can get by improving and making upgrades. While there are certainly teams that have a significantly higher chance of hoisting the Cup than others, much of winning it is just catching lightning in a bottle, finding and riding a hot goalie at the right time of year or just even playing good not great hockey and catching some well-timed breaks. 2019 Stanley Cup winner St. Louis came from as far back as the Hurricanes just to improbably make the playoffs in 2019 and then rode goalie Jordan Binnington who was not anywhere near the top of the depth chart when the season started to a Cup victory. The Dallas Stars who are the current favorite to emerge in 2020 have ridden a sudden and mostly inexplainable surge in scoring and a backup goalie to within three wins of shiny silver goodness. And these past couple years are not anomalies. I think the most common recipe for winning the Stanley Cup is three basic ingredients. (1) Be good enough to make the playoffs even if the regular season does not go perfectly. (2) Have enough high-end talent and balance to be able to compete with good teams for most of a seven-game series without needing minor miracles to win individual games. (3) Get...
Considering the possibilities in net: Darcy Kuemper, Ben Bishop and Matt Murray

Considering the possibilities in net: Darcy Kuemper, Ben Bishop and Matt Murray

After a day off to consider how well the Carolina Hurricanes have done at avoiding risky/bad next contracts under Don Waddell over the past two years, today’s Daily Cup of Joe is back on my previous goalie beat. Part 1 considered trade options for veterans Frederik Andersen and Marc-Andre Fleury who have only one year remaining their current contracts. Part 2 considered free agent options in Braden Holtby, Jacob Markstrom and Anton Khudobin. Part 3 considered the odd possibility that a long-timer like Henrik Lundqvist or Tuuka Rask could become available. Today’s part 4 is well-timed with the broader NHL media on the ‘Canes might add a goalie’ train today with Pierre LeBrun from The Athletic including James Reimer in his article listing players who could be traded (subscription required). With Alex Nedeljkovic waiting in the wings, trading Reimer does not automatically mean that the Hurricanes would add an upgrade in net, but it definitely paves the way. This category of goalie options considers a couple netminders who are under contract for the 2020-21 season or beyond and could be a longer-term option in net.   Crazy effect of the 2020 playoffs Before I jump into more Canes specifics, let me take a short turn as a beat writer for the broader NHL. Especially considering the unprecedented lead up with five months off before parachuting directly into playoff hockey, the 2020 NHL Playoffs have had a bizarre impact on the near-term market for goalies. Had I told you in February that the off-season would cause permanent fixture type starters Marc-Andre Fleury, Ben Bishop, Jacob Markstrom and maybe even (though...
Detailing Canes strong track record parting ways with top players

Detailing Canes strong track record parting ways with top players

After three days of goalie articles, Wednesday’s Daily Cup of Joe offers a reprieve for those who are sick of goalies and/or just prefer to roll with Petr Mrazek and James Reimer again (which is not a bad option). Today’s article details the team’s near (or completely?) perfect record of decision-making as relates to parting ways with higher-end players since Tom Dundon bought the company and Don Waddell took over as general manager. The list The focus here is higher-end players, so I will include some players who were either prospects or bottom half of the roster players.   Noah Hanifin In a draft with a ton of talent at the top end, Noah Hanifin came touted as a can’t miss as the fifth overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. Upon arrival, one could quickly see why. Hanifin had size and the capability as an 18-year to skate the NHL game. He was not a difference-maker as a third pairing defenseman at the NHL level as an 18-year old, but he figured to take strides rapidly and grow into the ceiling that his physical abilities afforded him. But the issue was that that never really seemed to happen. When he completed his entry-level contract with the Hurricanes, Hanifin was still every bit of a third pairing defenseman who was trying to learn/develop his way up to a higher level. He just made too many mistakes and still struggled with decision-making/sorting things out at NHL speed. But by virtue of his potential and the draft pedigree that often overprices players in their second contracts, Hanifin was due a big...
Considering the possibilities in net: Henrik Lundqvist, Tuuka Rask

Considering the possibilities in net: Henrik Lundqvist, Tuuka Rask

For anyone who is tired of the goalie theme this week, my tentative plan is to go a different direction tomorrow, so hang in there. For anyone catching up: Monday’s article featured two trade possibilities in Marc-Andre Fleury and Frederik Andersen. Tuesday’s article considered free agent options in Braden Holtby, Jacob Markstro and Anton Khudobin. Today’s article is a bit more out of left field but may not as inconceivable as one might think initially. First, my regular dislaimer…I will repeat that I do not think the Hurricanes need to make a move in net to be competitive. Petr Mrazek and James Reimer were good enough or better in net in 2019-20, so returning with that duo plus Alex Nedeljkovic would not be a negative in my mind. That said, it is the off-season and exploring possible areas for improvement is the name of the game. Today’s options are both players that would be hard to picture in a Hurricanes uniform or any uniform other than what they have worn for a long time — Henrik Lundqvist and Tuuka Rask.   Henrik Lundqvist with the New York Rangers At 38 years old Henrik Lundqvist is clearly in the twilight of his career and on a young team that also happens to have two very good young goalies. The transition to that next generation in net was already underway in 2019-20. Lundqvist has one year remaining on his contract for $8.5 million but with an actual salary of only $5.5 million. There is talk that the Rangers might buy him out which forces Lundqvist’s hand to decide if he wants...
Considering the possibilities in net: Braden Holtby, Jacob Markstrom, Anton Khudobin

Considering the possibilities in net: Braden Holtby, Jacob Markstrom, Anton Khudobin

Yesterday’s Daily Cup of Joe kicked off what could end up being a short series on possible goalie options over the next year or two. Part 1 featured to veteran trade possibilities in Frederik Andersen and Marc-Andre Fleury. An important disclaimer that I will repeat is that I do not think the Hurricanes need to make a move in net to be competitive. Petr Mrazek and James Reimer were good enough or better in net in 2019-20, so returning with that duo plus Alex Nedeljkovic would not be a negative in my mind. That said, it is the off-season and exploring possible areas for improvement is in season. Whereas yesterday’s Daily Cup of Joe looked at two veteran trade options, today’s installment considers two restricted free agent possibilities.   Braden Holtby with the Washington Capitals Only a couple seasons ago, Braden Holtby was perennially among the top goalies in the NHL. Hidden a bit beneath the fact that the Capitals keep winning is the fact that Holtby’s level of play has dropped off a bit over the past couple seasons. He stepped down a notch in 2017-18 and 2018-19 and posted an .897 save percentage and 3.11 goals against average in 2019-20. Holtby figures to be seeking his last big contract for maximum dollars and term and will be 31 years old when the 2020-21 NHL season kicks off. In a normal market that sees a couple bidders and contract demands in the neighborhood of five years and $6 to $7 million per year, I would pass quickly. That is as much a comment on the poor risk/reward ratio...