Carolina Hurricanes quick hitters — Micheal Ferland, Brian Gibbons and Ryan Warsofsky

Carolina Hurricanes quick hitters — Micheal Ferland, Brian Gibbons and Ryan Warsofsky

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers a small batch of quick hitters.   Micheal Ferland Micheal Ferland has reportedly signed a four-year deal for $3.5 million per year with the Vancouver Canucks. What started as a gap between the team and Ferland during the winter and seemed to grow as time passed likely made it impossible that Ferland was going to return, but on a simple financial level, the deal is in the neighborhood of something I would have considered. Even considering some injury risk $3.5 million per year is a fair price for a player with a unique skill set and capability of being a good complementary top 6 forward. That $3.5 million yearly salary is increasingly a third line rate, and even on a bad day Ferland is at least that. The tougher question is the risk that comes with the four year term. I would jump at that salary for two years. I would probably still take it at three years. At four years, it becomes a bit tougher and probably something I pass on with some hesitation. I view Ferland as a player who proved capable of being a complementary player with the ability to match pace and finish enough to be a productive scorer. In addition, I think his ability to be a physical disruptor is underrated. Ferland’s combination of skating and brute force makes the ice dangerous for opposing players with the result being players peeking up from the puck and sometimes getting rid of it early. The Hurricanes have not really replaced Ferland’s physical edge and role as ultimate policeman, and I...
Carolina Hurricanes players with wide ranges for the 2019-20 season — Alex Nedeljkovic, Warren Foegele and Andrei Svechnikov

Carolina Hurricanes players with wide ranges for the 2019-20 season — Alex Nedeljkovic, Warren Foegele and Andrei Svechnikov

Yesterday’s Daily Cup of Joe had higher or lower than arbitrary consensus for Canes players Haydn Fleury, Lucas Wallmark and Justin Williams. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe looks at a group of players whose range of possibilities are, in my opinion, wide such that whether they land on the high end or low end of those ranges could decide the fate of the Carolina Hurricanes 2019-20 season.   Alex Nedeljkovic Nedeljkovic did all he could do at the AHL level during the 2018-19 season being arguably the Checkers’ best player in the second half of the season and netminding his way to a Calder Cup championship. No doubt, Nedeljkovic is ready for a look at the NHL level. No doubt, he has the pedigree and potential to play a role at the NHL level. But predicting NHL success based on AHL play just does not generally work. There are any number of very good career AHL goalies who just do not have NHL stuff. And there are also goalies who do not seem to project to the NHL level who receive an opportunity, seize it and excel and then never look back. With James Reimer in the picture at least as of now, predicting Nedeljkovic’s impact on the Hurricanes 2019-20 season becomes even murkier. Could Nedeljkovic be one of those rookies like Jordan Binnington who gets a chance and runs with it? Or might he struggle a bit initially and take some time to adjust to the NHL level just like he did the AHL level a couple of years ago?   Warren Foegele His season was an odd...
‘Higher or lower’ on Hurricanes players Haydn Fleury, Lucas Wallmark and Justin Williams

‘Higher or lower’ on Hurricanes players Haydn Fleury, Lucas Wallmark and Justin Williams

Entering the dog days of the hockey summer where new news is rare, today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers up a short collection of player notes with a higher or lower theme. Though the baseline is arbitrary, the idea is to comment on whether I am higher or lower on certain Canes players or aspects of their game compared to what I perceive the average (hence arbitrary) being. If my memory is correct, there is probably some partially borrowed material on Fleury and Wallmark. Sorry, we are approaching mid-July when some amount of repeats is unavoidable if the goal is daily Canes content and discussions.   Haydn Fleury – Potential for a higher ceiling – Higher I think I am higher on Haydn Fleury than many. My assessment of his 2018-19 season is that he established himself as a competent bottom pairing forward who was light offensively even for that role and really did not bring much for upside past being serviceable. In short, I think that makes him a  #6/#7 defenseman which is not great for a #5 overall draft pick who is now 23 years old. But I think where I am higher on him than most is the potential for upside. As a big kid who skates pretty well, the basic physical tools are there. And only 87 games into his NHL career, I think it is premature to declare that Fleury has for certain reached his ceiling and just is what he is at this point. Finally, even if Fleury does not take another significant step development-wise, his low scoring ways should keep his salary...
Identifying question marks/watch points for (current) Hurricanes roster — Forwards

Identifying question marks/watch points for (current) Hurricanes roster — Forwards

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe is part 2 of 2 identifying question marks/watch points for the (current) Hurricanes roster. If you missed it on Friday, part 1 covered the goalies and defensemen. Part 2 covers the forwards. The starting point is considering the forward group from the beginning of the 2018-19 season to what the team has now.   Who is in? Who is out? As of now, out are Justin Williams (please come back!), Micheal Ferland, Valentin Zykov and Victor Rask (who started the 2018-19 season on injured reserve). In are Nino Niederreiter who was added midway through the 2018-19 season and also Erik Haula.   Weighing the changes At a simple level, the net is a two for two swap of Williams and Ferland for Niederreiter and Haula. On the surface that might be a modest downgrade in terms of raw production. All four of those players are capable of playing in the top 6 forwards as complementary type players. But bigger picture for the Hurricanes is that the team was a bit light offensively at times during the 2018-19 season, and that was with offensive leaders like Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen and Justin Williams healthy. An injury or two to the wrong players could see the Hurricanes on the wrong side of being able to score enough after climbing in the second half of the season to 16th out of 31 in terms of goal scoring.   My thoughts Personally, I have mixed feelings on the current group. I am on record as preferring that the team add one higher-end offensive catalyst to drive a second...
Identifying question marks/watch points for (current) Hurricanes roster — Goalies and defensemen

Identifying question marks/watch points for (current) Hurricanes roster — Goalies and defensemen

After a day off for the Fourth of July holiday, Daily Cup of Joe returns with a short set of notes identifying question marks and watch points for the current Carolina Hurricanes roster. The first part starts with the goalies and the blue line.   The goalie position As detailed in my article on the Petr Mrazek re-signing, I think the Hurricanes are set in net with the possible exception of pruning to get from four goalies to three. To say the team is set is not to say that the position is without risk. Some may forget that Petr Mrazek actually started slow in 2018-19 and that it was actually Curtis McElhinney who carried the crease early in the season. That could be worth watching. Though the Hurricanes did rebound and push up into the playoffs, much preferred would be to start better and require less heroics once the calendar flips to the new year. If James Reimer is traded and Alex Nedeljkovic pushes up into the backup role at the NHL level, he would be another big question mark. My unscientific math says that the hit rate for successful transitions to the NHL level for even good AHLers is probably a 50/50 proposition. Even if Mrazek carries the load, the Hurricanes will still need 20-30 games of decent netminding from the backup. If instead, James Reimer stays, he too is a bit of a question mark as a proven NHLer but coming off a down 2018-19 campaign. Watch points/question marks: How Mrazek starts and the level of play from the NHL backup.   The blue line The...
Below the headlines Canes lose quality AHL/NHL depth on first day of free agency

Below the headlines Canes lose quality AHL/NHL depth on first day of free agency

Rightfully, the headline news from a Carolina Hurricanes standpoint is the re-signing of Petr Mrazek to fill the top of the depth chart in net and the offer sheet signed by Sebastian Aho. My thoughts on the Petr Mrazek re-signing are HERE. And my detailed thoughts on the Sebastian Aho offer sheet are HERE.  Beneath the headlines the Hurricanes took a hit in terms of AHL/NHL depth on the first day of free agency.   Canes lose six depth players to free agency At forward, Charlotte Checkers captain Patrick Brown signed with the Vegas Golden Knights. Charlotte Checkers leading scorer Andrew Poturalski signed with the Anaheim Ducks. Greg McKegg signed with the New York Rangers. Tomas Jurco signed with the Edmonton Oilers. On defense, Daniel Renouf signed with the Colorado Avalanche, and Josiah Didier who was under contract with the Checkers, not the Hurricanes, departed to sign with Providence in the AHL. Coupled with the departure of Charlotte Checkers Head Coach Mike Vellucci, there will be significant changeover in Charlotte. More significantly, the team’s AHL/NHL depth has been depleted, especially at forward.   Is this a red flag? The Mike Vellucci situation is a separate thing which I will not address here, but at a summary level, I would categorize the other departures as mostly normal turnover. The Checkers won the Calder Cup which put these players in the spotlight. And I feel nothing but happy when players whose career has been mostly or all AHL salaries to date leverage a successful season to win better next contracts. So though the impact on the team’s AHL-level depth is a...