Dreaming of max Hurricanes

Dreaming of max Hurricanes

With the 2019-20 season hanging in doubt, the season could potentially become a missed opportunity for older teams whose potential to hoist the Cup will decrease in the coming years. But the Carolina Hurricanes are very much a team whose future chances will likely be better than the team’s chance in 2019-20. For that to become true requires the Hurricanes to improve from being a team battling at the edge of the playoff cut line to being a team in the next tier. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe speculates on what it takes mostly from the current roster for the Hurricanes to rise into the top tier of teams in the NHL that are expected to compete for the Stanley Cup.   On defense A tiny bit more offensively is always welcome, but for defensive anchors Brett Pesce and Jaccob Slavin, I think they really just need to keep doing what they have been which is be stalwart defenders and the leaders for two capable defense pairings. I question whether Dougie Hamilton’s scoring pace from 2019-20 is sustainable, but I think simpler for Hamilton is just repeating the basics of what he did in 2019-20. He boosted the offensive from the bak line at even strength, on the power play and as a bonus in overtime, and equally importantly his lapses defensively were minimal such that he was a bona fide top 4 defenseman defensively while being elite offensively. Exact goal and point totals for Hamilton are not as important as just being a difference-maker offensively and defensively. Hamilton is only signed through the 2020-21 season, so being part...
Carolina Hurricanes sign forward David Cotton + update on upcoming prospect decisions

Carolina Hurricanes sign forward David Cotton + update on upcoming prospect decisions

Today the Carolina Hurricanes announced that they had signed 2015 six-round draft pick David Cotton to a two-year entry-level contract. The team also signed his brother Jason Cotton who is an undrafted free agent graduating from Sacred Heart University.   On David Cotton David Cotton is an interesting prospect. As a sixth-round pick, he is the type that is a long shot to make the NHL when drafted, but he has made steady progress over the course of his college career. He possesses the size and skating ability to have a chance at the NHL level and has developed a decent power forward scoring tool bag over the four years since being drafted. He also developed as a leader being the captain of his Boston College team as a senior in 2019-20 and also one of two veteran leaders (along with Matt Filipe) for the most recent Carolina Hurricanes prospect camp. My big question with him is how he will look against NHL preseason competition and then at the AHL level. As an NCAA player, he has not been able to participate in the prospect tourneys or preseason action, so the only reference points for him are against prospect camp and NCAA competition. He looked very good at the most recent prospect camp, but playing against mostly 18-20-year olds most of whom will not see the NHL is not a great reference point for a player drafted four years ago. But in giving credit where it is due, Cotton did stand out in that group and had a strong senior season with 39 points in 32 games. He figures...
Greatest sources of upside going forward

Greatest sources of upside going forward

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe has a similar theme as my Daily Cup of Joe from Tuesday that looked at the 2020-21 Canes roster from a high level.  Today’s Daily Cup of Joe makes a short list of players who offer the most upside (and potential risk as the flip side) looking forward into the 2020-21 season.   In goal Alex Nedeljkovic (if he sticks at the NHL level as I expect for the 2020-21 season) If the Hurricanes make room for Alex Nedeljkovic at the NHL level for the 2020-21 season as I expect, he represents both significant upside and risk at the same time. Recent times in the NHL have seen many rookie or young goalies be given an opportunity, seize it and boost an entire team. Jordan Binnington is top of the list, but in addition Elvis Merzlikins has capitalized on Sergei Bobrovsky’s departure in Columbus, Carter Hart has burst onto the scene in Philadelphia, Tristan Jarry has risen up in Pittsburgh, Pavel Francouz has challenged in Colorado, Ilya Samsonov has done the same in Washington and Igor Shesterikin has accelerated the transition to the next generation. At least 25 percent of the NHL had goalies who were not even in the mix two years ago lead the way. So with Nedeljkovic, the upside is the potential that he is part of a revolution in the crease which increasingly seems to be a young man’s position. The downside is that the Canes clear space for him only to learn that he is not ready. In today’s NHL, a #2 goalie is generally expected to shoulder about one-third...
An early look at building the 2020-21 Carolina Hurricanes

An early look at building the 2020-21 Carolina Hurricanes

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes an early look at building the 2020-21 Carolina Hurricanes. To be clear this is not commentary on the likelihood of the 2019-20 season resuming. It is just an interesting topic for discussion in my opinion.   The budget Before the world changed, estimates were that the NHL salary cap would increase significantly by $4 to $7 million. Increasingly, a flat salary cap seems more likely with most, if not all, of 18 percent of the regular season lost and likely the playoffs to be abbreviated if they occur at all. As noted in my Daily Cup of Joe yesterday that looked at impacts from the suspended 2019-20 season, the Hurricanes are actually positioned well for this and could actually benefit from it. The Hurricanes will net some salary cap relief from clearing Patrick Marleau’s salary and the small portion of Justin Faulk’s that was retained. Those two contracts clear almost $7 million without the need to replace a player. And the vast majority of the team’s top players are already under contract. From the current roster, the Canes have only Warren Foegele to re-sign and Justin Williams to re-sign or replace. On defense, the Hurricanes already have five defensemen under contract for the 2020-21 season with the need to re-sign Haydn Fleury who is a restricted free agent. Only Joel Edmundson and Trevor van Riemsdyk are unrestricted free agents. When one nets it out, the Hurricanes will not need much of the $7 million freed up to maintain the status quo. Most of it should be available to either add players outright or...
2019-20 NHL suspension’s effects on the Carolina Hurricanes…plus fluid plans for Canes and Coffee

2019-20 NHL suspension’s effects on the Carolina Hurricanes…plus fluid plans for Canes and Coffee

Quick (will become regular focus) public service comments on COVID-19 pandemic I do not plan to use this platform to cover the COVID-19 pandemic or to pretend that I am an expert on what we should or not be doing right now. That said, I feel like I have an obligation to say something and will use that to say two quick things. 1) Please consider this as an opportunity to constantly pick a couple small spots to do something to help someone else right now. What that looks like is completely different for all of us. Maybe it is helping out your local restaurants by buying gift cards or ordering takeout. Maybe it is helping elderly neighbors make sure they get what they need. Maybe it is making a monetary donation or two to charities who help people in need right now. Find your own spots. 2) If we reach a point where we realize that maybe we did too much to slow the pandemic and minimize its effects, that will be at worst a minor inconvenience. If instead we reach a point where we did not do enough, the toll on everyone’s lives could be massive. Please consider erring significantly on the side of caution and doing your part to charting a path to better not worse. Again, I promise not to make Canes and Coffee a site for COVID-19 coverage or recommendations. There are plenty of capable media covering that obviously.   Fluid plans for Canes and Coffee   As for Canes and Coffee and Canes hockey coverage, to say that we are in uncharted waters...