George Floyd, the Canes and Coffee COVID-19 hiatus and a re-kick off of Canes coverage

George Floyd, the Canes and Coffee COVID-19 hiatus and a re-kick off of Canes coverage

George Floyd and a vote against racism in any form From its very beginning, Canes and Coffee has with incredible consistency been solely focused on Carolina Hurricanes hockey. Both the site and the Twitter handle have stayed the course of being a reprieve from the problems and contentious issues in our world. I challenge any of the long-time readers to count more than a handful of digressions into social issues, politics or anything else that was not related to Canes hockey. In general, that will not change. Social, political and other world topics will not become a regular entry here. That is not because those issues are not important but rather because that is not what this site is for. But with my wife out of town and my kids mostly occupied with their own stuff, I spent a significant part of my weekend thinking about the George Floyd murder and the resulting chaos that has unfolded over the weekend across our country. Though it is off-topic for this site, I feel personally compelled to say something because I feel like we all have a role to play in building a better world. Per my comments below, increasingly not saying anything actually says something too. In very simple terms, racism in any form is wrong. Though it is not pleasant to consider, the volume and effects of racism are much more significant than those of us who are white and privileged care to recognize especially if we do not wish to spend time being troubled with something that does not too often affect us directly. If there has been...
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...
Hurricanes acquire defenseman Brady Skjei from Rangers for 2020 1st round draft pick

Hurricanes acquire defenseman Brady Skjei from Rangers for 2020 1st round draft pick

See also initial thoughts on Canes obtaining defenseman Sami Vatanen from the New Jersey Devils for prospect Janne Kuokkanen and a conditional fourth-round pick. See also initial thoughts on the Hurricanes acquisition of center Vincent Trocheck from Florida for Lucas Wallmark, Erik Haula, Chase Priskie and Eetu Luostarinen.   The Carolina Hurricanes’ final move on a busy 2020 NHL trade deadline day was perhaps the most surprising. Shortly after it was announced that the team had added a defenseman as many including myself expected, word came that the Hurricanes had also landed New York Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei in return for the lower of the Hurricanes’ two 2020 first-round draft picks. I was skeptical, but the initial report proved to be true.   The key terms For the trade itself, the Hurricanes will give up the lower of its two first-round picks. Brady Skjei arrives with a contract that lasts four years after this one at an annual salary cap hit of $5.25 million per year. As such, Skjei is not signed solely as short-term help for the Hurricanes injury woes but rather as a longer-term addition to the core of the blue line.   Brady Skjei Skjei is an interesting case. The positive on him is that he brings great size and skating ability and a skill set that is every bit top 4-capable. He played his way up to that level by the completion of his entry-level contract which earned his current contract. And as a 25-year old, he is theoretically just entering his prime. So if one considers him to be a legitimate top 4 defenseman...
Hurricanes acquire Sami Vatanen from New Jersey for prospect Janne Kuokkanen plus conditional 4th-round draft pick

Hurricanes acquire Sami Vatanen from New Jersey for prospect Janne Kuokkanen plus conditional 4th-round draft pick

See also initial thoughts on the Hurricanes acquisition of center Vincent Trocheck from Florida for Lucas Wallmark, Erik Haula, Chase Priskie and Eetu Luostarinen. See also initial thoughts on Hurricanes acquisition of defenseman Brady Skjei from the New York Rangers for a 2020 first-round draft pick.   In the waning moments before the doors closed on the 2020 NHL trade deadline, the Carolina Hurricanes made not one but two deals to add defensemen.   The trade details for Sami Vatanen The Hurricanes traded forward prospect Janne Kuokkanen, depth AHL defenseman Fredrick Claesson and a conditional 2020 fourth-round draft pick to the New Jersey Devils for defenseman Sami Vatanen. The Devils also retained half of Vatanen’s prorated $4.8 million salary which will save the Hurriacanes about $600,000 in real cash down the stretch. More significantly, the move helped make the salary cap math work to add another defenseman. Finally, the condition on the draft pick is that it is a fourth-round pick if Vatanen plays five or more regular season games and becomes a third-round pick if he plays 12 or more regular season games or 70 percent of playoff games. That clause is significant because Vatanen has been out of the lineup for a few weeks and is not scheduled to return for another week or so.   Sami Vatanen Vatanen is signed only through the 2019-20 season and as such is a rental intended to help fill gaps caused by injuries. Best bet is that the Hurricanes will not re-sign him for next season. Vatanen is a solid veteran right shot defenseman. As such, he fits into one...
Carolina Hurricanes 2019-20 season preview: Part 1 — The roster relative to 2018-19

Carolina Hurricanes 2019-20 season preview: Part 1 — The roster relative to 2018-19

Suddenly with only two days until the puck drops on the 2019-20 season, it is time to start into the usual season preview series. Part 1 considers the 2019-20 roster as compared to the 2018-19 team. One of the common Hurricanes’ themes over the summer was to rave about how deep the team is or how much it had improved. With the volume of changes, it takes some work to consider the changes in total and assess the 2019-20 roster. I think looking at it by position helps paint a clear picture.   Goalie The big change is that Curtis McElhinney is gone and is replaced by James Reimer. Reimer has the potential to be as good as McElhinney, but he is also coming off a down season at age 31. The question is whether he as a rebound in him. Behind Reimer, the Hurricanes have deep goalie depth with Alex Nedeljkovic now another year deeper in his professional career and coming off a strong 2018-19 season in the AHL. In addition, the Hurricanes also have Anton Forsberg (if he clears waivers) who also has NHL experience. I think it is also significant to note that Petr Mrazek enters the 2019-20 season with many fewer question marks than this time last year. Netting it out: The Hurricanes enter the season with significant uncertainty in backup James Reimer. But to the positive, Mrazek is less of a wild card in his second season with the team, and the Canes will be four deep with potential NHL netminders if Forsberg clears waivers. I would call the goalie position even but still...
Carolina Hurricanes cut roster to 29

Carolina Hurricanes cut roster to 29

As expected, the Hurricanes announced a broad set of roster cuts to stock the Charlotte Checkers and get a step closer to an opening day lineup. But with 29 players still on a roster likely to land at 22-24 by the end of the weekend, there are still decisions to be made at least partly based on the final two preseason games. Here is an updated assessment of the situation after today’s cuts.   Goalie I am on record from awhile back and again in today’s Daily Cup of Joe as saying that regardless of how competitive the situation looks in camp, the ultimate resolution to the goalie situation continues to be a foregone conclusion from before the start of camp. Alex Nedeljkovic needs to and will get NHL ice time at some point as he gets a chance to stake a claim to a backup slot or more in the near future. But before that occurs, the team needs to at a minimum give James Reimer a run in the NHL to try to rebound from a tough 2018-19 season. Ideal would be that he rebound and become tradeable. Especially if Forsberg clears waivers, I think the team would be willing to go with a combination of Mrazek, Nedeljkovic and Forsberg to fill two NHL slots. I guess the question for some might be why Forsberg stayed and Nedeljkovic left. I think the best bet is that Mrazek and Reimer split the two weekend starts and that the team does not want to put either of them in a position where they have to come in cold. So...