Deep dive on Lucas Wallmark

Deep dive on Lucas Wallmark

#VoteTeuvoToday Please please please do your part to help our Canes hockey community vote Teuvo Teravainen into the 2020 NHL All-Star Game. VOTE HERE   Today’s Daily Cup of Joe does a deep dive on Canes center Lucas Wallmark.   Lucas Wallmark’s entry point following the 2018-19 season After bursting onto the scene last year when Victor Rask was injured at the start of the 2018-19 season, Lucas Wallmark reminded me very much of Josef Vasicek and ironically also Victor Rask in their rookie seasons. Like both of those players, Wallmark was mature well beyond his experience level in terms of attention to detail and the challenging defensive responsibilities of an NHL center. Wallmark jumped straight in the C3 slot as a rookie and looked capable doing so. That advanced level of soundness defensively makes for a high floor for a young player and a great starting point to grow into more at the NHL level. Vasicek did that to some degree before injuries and a shift in the NHL to a faster game limited his ceiling. And Rask similarly rose quickly before suddenly plummeting when the offensive part of his game seemed to completely dry up. Then Wallmark did one better filling Jordan Staal’s shoes taking on Staal’s top-end match ups when Staal was out of the lineup for an extended period of time with a concussion. Over the course of the 2018-19 season, Wallmark established himself as a capable center who was not in over his head defensively even against other teams’ top lines. He finished with a modest 28 points especially considering his reasonable helping of...
Checking In with Brandon Stanley — The mid-December edition

Checking In with Brandon Stanley — The mid-December edition

As we approach the holidays, the 2019-20 season has more or less solidified itself as a transition year for the defending Calder Cup champions. A repeat run is looking increasingly unlikely, as even a playoff spot is likely not in the cards at this point. However, that does not mean there are not some promising performances happening down in Charlotte. A few slow starts have started to turn around, and prospects that look like potentially big pieces down the road for the Canes have taken their games up a notch. The team is lacking the depth and firepower of the previous year, but these are some of the most promising performances as we hit right around a third of the way through the year. Instead of doing a game-by-game breakdown, for this edition we’ll take a look at how notable prospects are performing and what to watch for as we head into 2020.    Defensemen Jake Bean The good: The young offensive defenseman continues to be lethal offensively and on the powerplay, showcasing the skill that made him a highly-regarded defenseman and led to his first-round selection in 2016. Bean is leading the Checkers in points with 17 (5 goals, 12 assists) and still looks every bit the powerplay quarterback everyone hoped he could be. His shot has gotten significantly better since he first broke in as a pro, as his most recent goal against Syracuse displayed when he wired a wrist shot top-shelf from distance that beat the goalie cleanly. The bad: His defensive game hasn’t taken the step forward I’d hoped to see thus far. He’s not a physical...
Checking In with Brandon Stanley — 10/18 – 11/10 plus player spotlight on Alex Nedeljkovic

Checking In with Brandon Stanley — 10/18 – 11/10 plus player spotlight on Alex Nedeljkovic

Up and down we go, friends. The Charlotte Checker roller coaster is riding right along.  The Checkers, through the first month+ of the year, have looked about like what they are: a young team with a lot of new faces trying to find their identity. I headlined when the season started that they lost a 30-goal scorer, one of their best two-way centers, all three of their captains, and a few other important, ultra-talented others from their championship run that have graduated to the Canes. One night they’ll have a great showing and fill the net up, showcasing a steady defense and solid goaltending, the next they’ll look lost in their own end, hanging their goalies out to dry with odd-man rush after odd-man rush (hmmm… That sounds kind of familiar, actually). So, with three weeks’ worth of games to cover (eight games) and a player spotlight featuring a player that I think a lot of people are asking questions about at the moment, we’ll jump right in.   Charlotte Checkers 2, Utica Comets 8 So, yeah, this happened a couple weeks ago. We won’t dwell here long. The Checkers got punched in the mouth early and never recovered. Alex Nedeljkovic was pulled with about five minutes to go in the first period, with a sweet save percentage of .400 (three goals allowed on five shots), and Forsberg didn’t fare much better allowing the five more on 24 shots. Utica is a good team with some really nice young prospects, and they showcased their skill on this night. This was actually part of a month of October that saw...
Checking In with Brandon Stanley: Getting to know the new guys for the Charlotte Checkers

Checking In with Brandon Stanley: Getting to know the new guys for the Charlotte Checkers

Canes and Coffee is thrilled to announce that Brandon Stanley will again be offering regular updates on the Charlotte Checkers and with it the good group of Canes prospects playing at that level. You will find Brandon’s longer thoughts here, but please also consider following him on Twitter at @bwstanley26. Welcome back, Caniacs!   Charlotte Checkers departures After their thrilling run to the Calder Cup championship last spring, the Checkers saw a significant amount of changes heading into the 2019-20 season. Let’s just take a peep at this list of key players from last year’s roster no longer in Charlotte.  Andrew Poturalski – alternate captain, playoff MVP with 12 goals and 23 points in 18 games, leading scorer with a 70-point regular season, signed with Anaheim. Aleksi Saarela – team-leading 30 goal-scorer (and yes, I’m still salty about it. I hope the kid can figure out how to get his head right soon, if the reports are true, because the talent level is immense), traded to Chicago. Martin Necas – 52 point rookie season, looking great in the Canes lineup.  Trevor Carrick – 47 points from the blue line while serving as alternate captain. Traded to San Jose, where he’s finally getting a shot at some NHL ice time.  Nick Schilkey – really solid AHL player, responsible two-way game while chipping in 15 goals and 37 points and playing all over the lineup, in all situations. Now with Bridgeport, the Islanders AHL affiliate.   Patrick Brown – 19 goals and 35 points while being one of the team’s top penalty killers, and serving as captain. Signed by Vegas.  Nicolas Roy,...
Julien Gauthier recalled by the Carolina Hurricanes

Julien Gauthier recalled by the Carolina Hurricanes

On Wednesday, it was announced that Julien Gauthier was recalled from the AHL. While it is possible that he is just an extra because one of the 12 forwards already on the roster is dinged up, but I think more likely he is set to get the NHL chance that he earned with a strong preseason. With the Hurricanes off to a 4-0 start, one might ask what Gauthier could possibly do to improve the team. But even with the red hot start, a team should never be content, especially in early October. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe considers what could make sense for Julien Gauthier’s NHL debut and audition.   What Julien Gauthier brings He is obviously unproven at the NHL level, but if he can make the transition to the NHL level, Julien Gauthier brings a rare ‘today’s NHL’ power forward skill set. At 6 foot 4 and 226 pounds, Gauthier can be a physical force. In a modern NHL where decent speed between the blue lines is table stakes to be able to play, pretty much any team can use another big body who can match pace and score goals like an old school power forward. Julien Gauthier has the potential to be exactly that and showed signs in preseason that he just might be ready to do so at the NHL level.   His preseason Gauthier won/earned this NHL audition with his strong preseason play. There is an odd mismatch between his level of score sheet production and level of play, but he was easily among the team’s best forwards during the preseason. I am...
Canes trade Justin Faulk to St. Louis for prospect RW Dominik Bokk and D Joel Edmundson

Canes trade Justin Faulk to St. Louis for prospect RW Dominik Bokk and D Joel Edmundson

On Tuesday night, Justin Faulk was a non-attendee for a season ticket holder event. On Wednesday morning, he was mysteriously not on the ice for practice though he had not been noted as injured. And then a couple hours later it was announced that Justin Faulk and a fifth-round pick had been traded to the St. Louis blues for forward prospect and 2018 first-rounder Dominik Bokk, physical defenseman Joel Edmundson and a seventh-round draft pick. The trade closes the book on the longest-tenured player on the Hurricanes roster, and I think finally completes the intended restart that the team tried to effect last summer. What follows is a look at this deal on multiple levels   The final piece of work for effecting a restart After Tom Dundon’s acquisition of the team early in 2018, the changeover was rapid and at times tumultuous. Before the 2018 NHL Playoffs were completed, the team had relieved General Manager Ron Francis and Head Coach Bill Peters of their duties. They were replaced from within by Don Waddell and Rod Brind’Amour respectively. On June 8, 2018 before the 2018 NHL Draft, I wrote an article that used the term ‘harsh realities’ in discussing a number of key players. I stopped short of calling this a potential trade checklist for shaking up the culture for a restart, but that is what this article was. By the end of the summer 4 of 6 players discussed (Ward, Skinner, Hanifin, Lindholm) had been traded. Faulk would have been the fifth with only Jordan Staal remaining. The changeover on the roster were even more significant. Added over...