Fortuitous bounces

Fortuitous bounces

It is often said that success in professional sports including the NHL must be earned. No doubt, there is an element of truth to that. But hockey can also be a game where a lucky bounce or two completely swings a game. That can be said for off the ice moves too. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe considers some lucky bounces that have played a significant part of the Hurricanes in-process rebound that started with the 2018-19 playoff berth and run to the Eastern Conference Finals.   The general manager transition The Hurricanes went through a series of three inflection points with regard to the general manager position. First, Tom Dundon and Ron Francis failed to connect seemingly from the very beginning which ultimately led to Francis’ ouster. Francis deserves credit for laying part of the foundation for success from his work building a deeper prospect pool. But in his time as general manager, he seemed limited to building for the future. With the Hurricanes needing to at some point flip to playing for now, I think there is a case to be made that had Dundon and Francis meshed better the team might not be where it is today. The second transition occurred when the team searched for a new general manager. What seemed to be a fairly extensive search yielded nothing. Interestingly, Paul Fenton who pretty much sank the Wild could have been a top candidate as could a few others, but instead the team emerged with a general manager by committee approach initially. Then finally, Don Waddell seemed to rise up from the committee to play...
Carolina Hurricanes announce Prospect Showcase roster

Carolina Hurricanes announce Prospect Showcase roster

After a many-year run of sending prospects to the Traverse City tourney, the Hurricanes will switch to the Prospects Showcase which is in Nashville this year and also features teams from the Predators, Capitals and Lightning. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a look at that roster and what some of the players have to gain from that tourney.   Where are the Canes prospects? The first thing that jumps out when perusing the roster is the fact that only 10 of the 20 players are actually Canes prospects. The other 12 are invitees. Important to note is that this is a function of who the Canes have drafted and not the size or quality of the their prospect pool. NCAA and players slated to play in Europe do not generally play in the fall rookie tourneys. The NCAA players are already at school, and the European players have also started their training camps far away in Europe. So the low number of players is because the Hurricanes have drafted so many European and NCAA players in the past two drafts.   Who is there? The list of actual Canes prospects includes first game action for 2019 forward draftees Ryan Suzuki, Jamieson Rees and Blake Murray.  The tourney also offers a first look at free agent signees defenseman Chase Priskie and forward Jacob Pritchard. Janne Kuokkanen, Jesper Sellgren, Luke Henman, Eetu Luostarinen and Jeremy Helvig round out the group.   A first look at the next wave of defense prospects The tourney represents a chance to see two of the team’s promising blue line prospects possibly playing together on...
Handicapping the Carolina Hurricanes’ battle for the #6 and #7 defense slots

Handicapping the Carolina Hurricanes’ battle for the #6 and #7 defense slots

With the addition of free agent signee Chase Priskie, the group of players who could theoretically fill out the Hurricanes third defense pairing became even bigger. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a shot at handicapping the roster battle set to take place during the preseason. First, the starting point is assuming a top 4 of Jaccob Slavin, Dougie Hamilton, Brett Pesce and Justin Faulk. In addition, Trevor van Riemsdyk figures to be half of the third pairing when he is healthy. After shoulder surgery to repair a playoff injury, van Riemsdyk’s timeline should be in the neighborhood of being ready for opening night, but there is a chance he is not ready for opening night. That leaves one spot in the lineup and another spot for a healthy extra defenseman at the NHL level. The competition for those roster spots includes Haydn Fleury, Gustav Forsling, Roland McKeown, Jake Bean and now Chase Priskie. Below is an effort to handicap what it takes for each of those five players to be in the Hurricanes lineup in October.   Haydn Fleury Starting point: Based on his experience in that role with the Hurricanes, Fleury would figure to be a front-runner to be either the sixth or seventh defenseman at the NHL level. What he brings: Fleury brings a big body who can skate well enough to play at the NHL level. Weaknesses: Version 1.0 of Fleury’s game was incredibly buttoned-down and devoid of offense. Waiver status: Fleury would need to clear waivers to return to the AHL, and as a still young player with high draft pedigree and decent physical...
Thoughts on re-signing Don Waddell and the adding goalie coach Jason Muzzatti

Thoughts on re-signing Don Waddell and the adding goalie coach Jason Muzzatti

My last article before taking a week off offered a checklist of four items left before the start of training camp. The road jersey is on tap for today. The big one remaining is whether Justin Williams returns. Could that be part of the jersey reveal? While I was away, the Hurricanes took care of the other two which were re-signing Don Waddell and adding goalie coach Jason Muzzatti. As part of catching up on the week away, today’s Daily Cup of Joe has quick thoughts on Don Waddell’s new deal and the addition of Jason Muzzatti.   Don Waddell After a bit of a ruckus with Waddell first being named a candidate for the open Minnesota Wild general manager position and then actually making the trip there to interview, that situation was officially put to bed last week when Waddell was inked to a three-year contract. Somewhat like the Sebastian Aho situation, the path to get there was an odd one, but in the end the situation was resolved mostly as expected. I was not high on the team passing on hiring a new general manager last summer and instead just going with the current group with Waddell seemingly at the helm of a committee. But one year later, I have to give credit where it is due. The Hurricanes had a successful 2018-19 campaign pushing up into the playoffs and then surging to the Eastern Conference Finals before hitting the wall against the Bruins. And Waddell played a significant role in the team’s success revamping the team during the off-season and following up with a great trade...
Carolina Hurricanes sign free agent defenseman Chase Priskie

Carolina Hurricanes sign free agent defenseman Chase Priskie

In exactly one week away from Canes hockey in the middle of the slow time of the off-season, the Hurricanes of course reeled off a run off transactions, I will comment at least briefly on the re-signing of General Manager Don Waddell and the hiring of Goalie Coach Jason Muzzatti in the next few days. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe will address the most recent news of the Carolina Hurricanes signing NCAA free agent defenseman Chase Priskie.   Quick background on the situation Chase Priskie was drafted by the Washington Capitals in the 6th round of the 2016 NHL draft. Since then he has completed his NCAA career at Quinnipiac University. When a team drafts a player who heads to the NCAA, the team then has that players rights until his class’s graduating year — so basically four years. After those four years, usually when the player graduates, he becomes a free agent if not signed by August 15. So for a player who is not signed and who then decides to play out his senior year, the chance to become a free agent is a no-brainer unless he really wants to join the team that drafted him. That is what happened to defenseman Chase Priskie who finished up his senior season in 2018-19 and exercised his right to become a free agent. The free agency is unique. The contract to be signed is pretty much defined by the Collective Bargaining Agreement in terms of salary, signing bonus, playing bonuses and term. So there really is not much for the player to gain financially at least in terms of...