Training camp sneak peek: Carolina Hurricanes last three forward slots

Training camp sneak peek: Carolina Hurricanes last three forward slots

If you missed it yesterday, I recommend checking out the interesting collection of comments in the Monday Coffee Shop. The open forum offers an interesting collection of comments spanning a number of Hurricanes comments from the Canes and Coffee Community.   I will undoubtedly dig into this and other similar topics in more detail as we get closer to the start of training camp and then again after we see preseason action, but in a fit of missing hockey, I took to scribbling out the Hurricanes forward situation over the weekend. Things can change, but I view nine slots as pretty fixed. Barring an injury, I would be very surprised not to see all of Jeff Skinner, Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, Jordan Staal, Victor Rask, Marcus Kruger, Elias Lindholm, Justin Williams and Lee Stempniak in the opening day lineup. That makes nine forwards and at least based on what position the nine played in 2016-17, it leaves one opening for each forward position. In addition, the lineup has a few players with positional flexibility such that they could move to make things work.   The assumed starting point Despite being the third center nearly assured of a roster spot, I actually view Kruger as being the anchor of a checking-focused line that is one of the bottom two lines (a 3A and 3B if you will) that is used somewhat situationally. So my starting point is that there is a hole at center on a 3A scoring-focused line and that the two openings at wing are on Kruger’s 3B checking-focused line. So math has the openings as a scoring-capable...
Ranking the Carolina Hurricanes prospects — Part 4: Overall top 15 and parting comments

Ranking the Carolina Hurricanes prospects — Part 4: Overall top 15 and parting comments

If you were away from Canes and Coffee for the weekend, on Saturday I posted part 3C of my prospect evaluations and rankings which featured that last group of forwards. That article also includes links to the previous parts if you are catching up. My wrap up today will combine the rankings for all three positions to create a top 15 and it will also offer a few parting thoughts on the rankings and various players.   Complete Carolina Hurricanes prospect rankings                   **Goalies Nedeljkovic and Booth are boosted above what “Totals” would rank them to account for importance of goalie position and adjust for high uncertainty for almost all young goalie prospects.   A few comments on the rankings Here are a few random observations on the rankings and the project in total. It is less about where a player is today, and more about how rapidly and significantly he can improve from here. Had I created  similar list at this time two years ago today, Brett Pesce and Jaccob Slavin would probably have probably been battling for the #5 slot among defensemen below Noah Hanifin, Haydn Fleury, Trevor Carrick and even Ryan Murphy. And against a lesser prospect pool two years ago, they might/might not have pushed into a top 16. The depth at forward jumps out. Seven of the top 9 are forwards, and there are a at least a few players who did not make the top 16 who are quite promising as well. Despite being ranked #1 and #5 overall respectively, I do not consider Julien Gauthier or...
Hurricanes sign Brett Pesce to six-year contract extension – A second level of detail

Hurricanes sign Brett Pesce to six-year contract extension – A second level of detail

A few hours after the news dropped, I posted my initial thoughts on the Hurricanes extending Brett Pesce for six years at $6.025 million per year. If you have not read that article, I recommend reading it before this article which starts more at a second level of detail. The “sixth star” (an ode to Glen Wesley) Things could change if Pesce finds his way onto the power play and/or boosts his scoring, but the current trajectory has him slotted to be an underrated glue player. A long time ago when Wesley was in his prime, I used to use the term “sixth star” to describe his play. Wesley rarely scored, mostly steered clear of the highlight reel and did not do enough on the stat sheet to regularly be a top 3 and earn a star of the game. But when the Hurricanes were good on home ice, he was very regularly steady and solid lining up against Crosby and/or Malkin one night, Kovalchuk and Heatley the next and Ovechkin and Semin the next. He just quietly did the defensive work necessary to make it possible for a few players to rise up with a few plays on the score sheet and win a hockey game. Players like this are generally underrated but critical to a team’s success. Niklas Hjalmarsson long filled this role on perennially successful Blackhawk teams, and the Penguins have always had a knack for having a capable defense-first defenseman to sit behind more offensive-minded blue-liners like Sergei Gonchar and Kris Letang. It is reasonable to hope for continued development from Pesce who is entering...
Canes and Coffee two-year anniversary — THANK YOU + Early peek at year 3

Canes and Coffee two-year anniversary — THANK YOU + Early peek at year 3

Official launch day – July 29, 2015 July 29, 2017 marks the two-year anniversary of the founding of Canes and Coffee. For the nostalgic types, it is not overly interesting, but here is the launch article from July 29, 2015. More on the ice from the same day, check out my article recapping the Canes 2015 prospect camp. That article had Sebastian Aho ranked first among the forward prospects in the Saturday scrimmage and also raved about (and ranked second in the scrimmage) a mid-round pick who has since risen up the prospect depth chart and could be a dark horse for the 2017-18 opening day roster.   THANK YOU! I cannot express enough how thankful I am to everyone who has helped Canes and Coffee at any point over the past two plus years reaching back to the initial fundraiser in June of 2015. —Thank you to everyone who contributed to the launch of Canes and Coffee including Kickstarter contributors (See our Founders’ Page.) and also the numerous people who provided feedback and encouragement when the site was being built and launched. —Thank you to everyone who played a role in getting the site off the ground, especially Rob and Drago at Oak City Tech, Jamie Kellner for providing photos and Marty Smith from Curagami for sharing his insight and experience designing content sites and building online communities. —Thank you to everyone who generously chipped in a few dollars in the spring and early summer to help us remain up and running. –Finally, thank you to everyone in the Carolina Hurricanes hockey community who spends a small part of their...
Stats-based analysis of the Hurricanes blue line — By Corey Sznajder

Stats-based analysis of the Hurricanes blue line — By Corey Sznajder

Canes Art provided by Chris Clark. Matt’s Introduction: If you are catching up and want to see the other articles for Canes and Coffee’s reader/guest week, you can find links in the other Wednesday article HERE. Wednesday’s guest article for reader/guest week at Canes and Coffee is another great one that lives at the cutting edge of today’s NHL and at the same time harkens back to Canes hockey coverage from years past. The author, Corey Sznajder, is busy working on an NHL microstats project to collect and publish a database of microstats for the 2016-17 season, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask if he would be interested in writing a guest post. Somewhat to my surprise, he agreed. Corey’s formal bio is below, but please also allow me to introduce him from my Hurricanes hockey fan viewpoint. Nowadays those of us who are passionate hockey fans see quite a bit of statistical information, analytics and visual representations for players. It has become common enough that it almost seems like this analysis has always been commonplace when in fact the reality is that the advent (or at least the surge) of fancy stats, analytics and similar in the public domain is really only about 4-6 years old. And back in the early pioneering days of this movement, Hurricanes fans were incredibly lucky to have a knowledgeable tour guide in Corey Sznajder. He started incorporating Corsi, other shot total and other analysis in his writing at his blog The Shutdown Line early on. I have always viewed Corey as the first leader and teacher on this front in...
My Puck: A Story of the Carolina Hurricanes New Identity

My Puck: A Story of the Carolina Hurricanes New Identity

Matt’s editorial note: With the buzz and optimism around Canes hockey this summer, Cory could not help but return from his summer break way early. There are no guarantees in professional sports (Canes fans know that too well lately), but I hope you share his optimism and energy. I do.   A storm is coming. Can you feel it? Disclaimer: Author is 100% allowed to use cheesy clichés in his ridiculous excitement for the coming of hockey season The Carolina Hurricanes have had one of the best offseasons in recent memory this summer. The problem is, the offseason means nothing and we all are just bouncing in our seats in anticipation of seeing if the 2017-18 Canes can deliver on the ice. But seeing as that’s two months off, let’s just keep distracting ourselves with the bright situation, shall we?   Yay, Our First Real Post-Cup Identity! Let’s embrace the fact that, for the first time in years, the Carolina Hurricanes have an identity. For years, it seemed like the team had none, or at the very least, was something like “They Whom Are Beholden to Family Staal.” (There are worse identities.)  The truth as we’ve all come to painfully know, is that we coasted on our Cup win for about 8 years. As names like Brind’Amour, Whitney, Cole, and Williams disappeared, so did the identity. For years it was just sitting there hoping Eric Staal and Cam Ward could turn it back to their Cup days and bring us a taste of the playoffs. Then for several more years, it was the painful process of rebuild, a gigantic...