Does Erik Karlsson trade pave the way for a Justin Faulk deal?

Does Erik Karlsson trade pave the way for a Justin Faulk deal?

Thursday was a huge news day from a Carolina Hurricanes perspective. Just before the first of two practices kicked off at 2:45pm, the team announced that it had named Justin Williams its captain. I offered my initial thoughts on that announcement HERE. Shortly before that the team announced that Victor Rask had undergone surgery on his fourth and fifth fingers from an injury sustained in a kitchen accident earlier in the summer and would be out indefinitely. And somewhere amidst that fray, news broke that the Ottawa Senators had traded Erik Karlsson to the San Jose Sharks for what could best be termed a sizable collection of random pieces. Though not directly related to the Carolina Hurricanes, this last announcement is the topic of today’s Daily Cup of Joe.   How the Erik Karlsson deal could impact the Hurricanes Erik Karlsson was by far and away the best player left who seemingly had to be moved, and he would have stood atop the list of available defensemen even before the list had been mostly cleared. In terms of basic skill set, Karlsson is an offensively gifted right shot defenseman who brings a ton in terms of generating offense and scoring. He is adequate or maybe better but not elite defensively to top 4-capable and well worth it given the offense he brings. To be clear, Justin Faulk is not the same caliber of player as Erik Karlsson, but for a team looking for a right shot, experienced top 4 defenseman who can play on a first power play unit and contribute offensively Faulk checks all the same boxes even...
Part 2: ‘Like’ and ‘room for improvement’ from Carolina Hurricanes prospects at Traverse City

Part 2: ‘Like’ and ‘room for improvement’ from Carolina Hurricanes prospects at Traverse City

Coming out of the Traverse City tourney yesterday, I started into a series of ‘like’ and ‘room for improvement’ for the prospects who played in the tourney. Yesterday’s article  included Andrei Svechnikov, Jeremy Helvig, Janne Kuokkanen, Nicolas Roy and Luke Henman. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe continues with similar comments/notes on a second set of Canes prospects who played in Traverse City.   Jake Bean Like: I think Bean’s vision, puck handling and poise on the point of the power play are good enough to play at least on a second unit on the power play in the NHL today. With a bit of room to assess the situation and take a couple strides, Bean also looks capable of advancing the puck up and out of the defensive zone. Considering that skill set alone, Bean projects to be an offense-oriented third pairing defenseman in the right situation. Room for Improvement: But the problem is that is exactly what I project for Bean right now. To become more, his game will need to mature defensively, and to be honest, I question whether Bean is on the right trajectory make the necessary improvements. The biggest issue I have with his play is his tendency to just keep backing up and backing up when facing players coming at him with speed. That issue with gap control is problematic in today’s NHL where even bottom half of the roster players can convert time and space quickly into scoring chances. In the name of full disclosure, I have not been as high as the consensus on Bean for some time now, so I admittedly...
‘Like’ and ‘room for improvement’ from Carolina Hurricanes prospects at Traverse City

‘Like’ and ‘room for improvement’ from Carolina Hurricanes prospects at Traverse City

I had notes and good intentions of posting a recap and notes from the Hurricanes finale in Traverse City on Tuesday afternoon, but life got in the way. I will hopefully put them up in the next day or so. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe looks more broadly at the entirety of the tourney and offers ‘likes’ and ‘room for improvement’ from what I saw over the four-game set. My comments do also consider my assessment of the players coming into the tourney, so they are more of an update than an assessment on a very small sample size. In addition, all of these players are still fairly early in their development with the potential to improve and reach higher levels of play.   Andrei Svechnikov and Martin Necas as a duo Like: Both players had their moments and looked every bit NHL-capable. Svechnikov showed the sniper-like capabilities of a goal scorer and Necas had his share of times where he seemed to cover 30 feet of ice in an eighth of a second. So individually, each player did enough to impress. Room for improvement: As much as I tried to find it, I would not say that the duo exhibited great chemistry as defined by players making each other better. They did combine for one really pretty goal late in Tuesday’s game when Necas found Svechnikov with a nifty pass between the circles and Svechnikov made a pretty move and then finished with a laser for a goal. But in total, I did not see the two as being a 1+1=3 as often as I had hoped for...
Three things that I do NOT think we can get a read on during preseason

Three things that I do NOT think we can get a read on during preseason

With a number of changes both on and off the ice, Hurricanes fans will tune in starting this week for training camp and preseason trying to assess the new team and what the changes mean for the 2018-19. I think there are number of things that training camp and preseason action will be useful for assessing or reassessing. I think preseason games will be helpful for gauging where Andrei Svechnikov is at this early stage of his development. I also think that preseason action can be useful for an early gauge for chemistry for line mates. And preseason action should also be useful for at least early indications on three other things. But I actually think that preseason will be of minimal if any use for evaluating a couple keys for the 2018-19 season.   1) Goaltending After yet another sub-par season in net in 2017-18 and a decision to give it a go again with Scott Darling and another player looking to rebound in Petr Mrazek, an early positive sign on goaltending could be top of a Hurricanes fan wish list entering training camp. As such, everyone will be watching Scott Darling and to some degree Petr Mrazek closely. Does Darling look quicker, more confident, sharper or whatever else? Does Mrazek look like the starter he was a few years back? Etc., etc. But if Hurricanes history over the past long run of playoff misses teaches the Caniac Nation anything it is that preseason offers very little in terms of gauging regular season performance. The Hurricanes have generally been decent or better in net in preseason only to...
Random Canes blue line notes – Adam Fox, Michael Fora and more

Random Canes blue line notes – Adam Fox, Michael Fora and more

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe includes a small collection of random Canes notes that have not found their way into articles yet or could benefit from a deeper dive.   Blue line depth, Justin Faulk and the potential impact on Adam Fox In the blockbuster trade that sent Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin to Calgary for Dougie Hamilton and Micheal Ferland, the Hurricanes also obtained an extra bonus in prospect Adam Fox. Fox is not just a low to mid-tier throw in. He is a high-end blue line prospect who I (and others since then) rate above Jake Bean who previously topped the team’s blue line prospect rankings. Fox was allegedly available because the Flames thought he would not sign but rather would play out four years of college and then become a free agent. The burning question is whether the Hurricanes can convince him to sign next summer after his junior year. Personal factors and other things could come into play, but looking at the situation solely from the angle of Fox considering his opportunity joining the Hurricanes versus signing with another team, there are a few things to consider. First is the logjam on the right side of the Hurricanes blue line right now. With Justin Faulk still in tow, the team has four proven NHL defensemen who are right shots right now. That does not look great for Fox hoping to get NHL ice time sooner rather than later. Just in general, the strength of the Hurricanes blue line is a negative right now for Fox. But I think somewhat of a path could be cleared...
Wish list for the Carolina Hurricanes at the Traverse City prospect tourney

Wish list for the Carolina Hurricanes at the Traverse City prospect tourney

In case you missed it, I posted a slightly more formal ‘what I’m watching’ style preview for the Traverse City prospects tourney which starts on Friday. You can find that HERE. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes on a similar theme offering an informal wish list for the tourney.   Svechnecas dominates! Andrei Svechnikov and Martin Necas arguably represent the two players not officially on the current NHL roster with the greatest potential to boost the team’s fortunes. Playing against a much younger group that is a couple notches below the NHL level, I would like to see the duo play together and utterly dominate. How about 8 point each in 4 games?   Julien Gauthier adds every-shift noticeability to his repertoire Invariably over a couple days of hockey, Julien Gauthier is going to have those handful of plays that show why he was drafted in the first round and why he has the potential to become good NHL power forward. But that is not what has ever been missing in his game. What has been missing is his ability to remove the invisibility cloak for long stretches in between his ‘wow’ plays. In Traverse City, I would like to see Gauthier be a noticeable physical force on a regular basis.   Jake Bean plays like a first pairing defenseman DEFENSIVELY Somewhat like Gauthier, Bean’s game has never been light on his ability to generate his share of ‘wow’ plays with the puck on his stick. With the puck on his stick and enough space to get started, Bean’s game is probably NHL-ready right now. And I said more...