Five initiatives for early in the Hurricanes early in the 2018-19 season

Five initiatives for early in the Hurricanes early in the 2018-19 season

In case you missed it, the first set of articles in a summer series that looks at the newest Hurricanes prospects went up quietly yesterday afternoon. Finnish forward Lenni Killinen who was drafted in the fourth round of the 2018 NHL Draft was up first. You can find an article with short interviews from two scouts based in Finland HERE, and you can find a short reading list of external articles on Killinen HERE.   In writing the two most recent Daily Cup of Joe articles that looked at roster battles for training camp, I could not help but look forward to the start of the regular season just a bit. Over the course of a long NHL season, the roster, line combinations, defense pairings and many other things will shift multiple times. So getting too bogged down in opening day combinations can sometimes be overdone. But in thinking about the front part of the year, there are a few things that I would like to at least take a look at.   1) Valentin Zykov with Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen Micheal Ferland, who was obtained in the trade with Calgary, possesses a skill set that could fit well with Aho and Teravainen. Like Zykov, he brings a crease-crashing style of play and an ability to score in close. But where Ferland could be superior is as a forechecking disruptor who turns the puck over and creates quick transition opportunities. So it would not surprise if Ferland eventually lands on that line. But I really think the team needs to give Valentin Zykov a reasonable run of games...
Dark horses for the Carolina Hurricanes 2018-19 training camp

Dark horses for the Carolina Hurricanes 2018-19 training camp

Yesterday’s Daily Cup of Joe highlighted some potential roster battles for training camp in a look at players “on the spot.” The goalie position had Scott Darling and Petr Mrazek on the spot but only because both will be battling for the starting role. And no other goalie entered the picture in yesterday’s article. The blue line was similarly pretty tidy counting six NHLers plus Justin Faulk who makes seven if he is not traded. And though the article did acknowledge that there was room for a #7 if Faulk departs, the position is also pretty tidy. But the forward position is a different story altogether. In that section, I highlighted 10 players battling for roster spots, higher line role and ice time in addition to 6 sure things. That makes for a sizable group of 16 players battling for 13 slots. In writing this article, I included a number of players, especially at the forward position, who seem mostly likely to compete for an win 2018-19 NHL ice time. One thing that is encouraging is the number of players who were not included who might be longer shots but are not entirely out of the question. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe looks at a few dark horses who were not included in yesterday’s article who could surprise.   Goalie Alex Nedeljkovic Nedeljkovic’s development path is an interesting one. He checked pretty much every box while playing at the junior level including steady play over the long haul and also big game success in both the playoffs and international play. Then he arrived at the AHL level for the...
Players on the spot for the Carolina Hurricanes 2018-19 training camp

Players on the spot for the Carolina Hurricanes 2018-19 training camp

With both new roster additions via trades and a number of young guns from Charlotte ready to compete for NHL roles, the upcoming preseason figures to be an interesting one in terms of roster battles, especially at the forward position. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes an early look at Carolina Hurricanes players who will be on the spot come September.   Goalies I do not see either goalie being just handed the starting role. In an ideal world, Scott Darling will rise up and become the goalie that the team thought it obtained last summer. But after his struggles last season, he will not be guaranteed the starter’s crease but rather will have to earn it. By the same token, Petr Mrazek does not enter with any guarantees either. The situation is likely to be fluid early in the season, but whichever, if either, goalie impresses in preseason is likely to get the first and greatest chance to be the #1 when the regular season starts.   Defense The blue line is actually one area where the NHL roster is mostly set. If Justin Faulk is still with the team (which I see as highly doubtful), then the situation changes, but in a Faulk-less scenario, the top 6 is set. The potential does exist for a battle for the #7 slot but if the team is healthy to start the season that slot is likely to be spent on an older player (i.e. Trevor Carrick) versus a younger prospect who will benefit significantly for NHL ice time.   Forwards So whereas things are mostly set at least in...
Canes catch up notes: Faulk for Saad, Pesce vs. Faulk and Sebastian Aho’s next contract

Canes catch up notes: Faulk for Saad, Pesce vs. Faulk and Sebastian Aho’s next contract

Especially for July past the beginning of free agency, today is a busy one at Canes and Coffee. Check out today’s dueling prospect camp recaps including part 1 of my player by player final notes and also a guest article by Brandon Stanley. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe addresses a couple Canes catch up notes related to a matter at hand with Justin Faulk and also another potentially big Hurricanes event this summer that so far has been in the background.   Justin Faulk for Brandon Saad Elliotte Friedman from TSN reported that the Blackhawks were interested in Justin Faulk but that the Blackhawks balked at the asking price of Brandon Saad. My guess is that where things sit right now is that the Blackhawks would be happy to offer Artem Anisimov plus something else for Justin Faulk, and that the Hurricanes would be willing to offer Justin Faulk plus possibly something else for Brandon Saad. But as a depth center with a modest scoring ceiling, I do not think the Hurricanes have much use for Anisimov. If the Hurricanes are going to add a center this summer, the player must be a higher-end offensive player. If that is not possible, then the path forward is probably patience while Martin Necas develops. From a Chicago side, the Blackhawks need to somehow improve on defense without giving up too much depth scoring to do so. Yes, the Blackhawks could use Faulk. But on a team that is suddenly light on independent depth scoring losing Saad even after a down 217-18 season would be costly. Therein lies what I suspect is...
Sorting out the Carolina Hurricanes 2018-19 blue line

Sorting out the Carolina Hurricanes 2018-19 blue line

This week has been a busy one in terms of building out the Carolina Hurricanes 2018-19 blue line. On Tuesday, the team announced that it had signed free agent defenseman Calvin de Haan to a four-year contract for $4.55 million per year. I initially evaluated that signing HERE, and then followed up with a second round of thoughts the next day HERE. Then book-ending the Fourth of July with defenseman deals, the Hurricanes announced that the team had re-signed restricted free agent Trevor van Riemsdyk to a two-year deal worth $2.3 million per year. My analysis on that signing is HERE. Finally, prior to this week, the Hurricanes added Dougie Hamilton (along with Micheal Ferland) in a draft weekend blockbuster for Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin. I offered initial thoughts on that deal HERE, and followed up with another round of analysis in this article on the multiple side effects from that deal. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe looks at the 2018-19 blue line looks at the 2018-19 blue line from multiple angles.   Justin Faulk As part of my analysis of the Dougie Hamilton addition and before Calvin de Haan even entered the mix, I said that I thought Justin Faulk was highly likely to be dealt to clear the logjam on the right side of the defense and possibly add a forward who might replace Jeff Skinner as the dominoes fall one by one. Once de Haan was signed, the probability of a Faulk trade increased. While there are always complexities to trading players with nearly $5 million of cap hit and with significant value, I will...
Hurricanes sign defenseman Calvin de Haan — Second round of thoughts

Hurricanes sign defenseman Calvin de Haan — Second round of thoughts

In case you were away for the Fourth of July holiday and are catching up, I wrote about the Hurricanes signing defenseman Calvin de Haan in some detail HERE. Having yammered about signing de Haan for most of the week before the deal happened, I am obviously in favor of it. At the most basic level, the Hurricanes needed to improve its top 4 defensively. The addition of Dougie Hamilton was a step in that direction, but the team still needed a capable and steady left shot defenseman to round out and balance the top 4. De Haan should do exactly that. The simplest justification for this deal is the most powerful one, but there are also a couple other significant angles which are the subject of today’s Daily Cup of Joe.   The price In rough terms, I think Calvin de Haan is a bit similar to Brett Pesce as a legitimate top 4 defenseman, leans defense and is a little bit light compared to ideal in terms of generating offense. De Haan’s career high is a modest 25 points, and his point totals over all five of his full seasons similarly project to 15-25 points over an 82-game season. So Pesce signed what I think is a fair deal at $4 million per year as a restricted free agent. Rough math suggests that the average for a top 4 on defense is about $20 million, but for many teams that includes at least one player who is a stretch as a top 4. When one considers that de Haan was an unrestricted free agent, I think a...