Preseason #4 @Nas: ‘What I’m watching’ — AHLish Canes squad heads to Music City to take on Preds

Preseason #4 @Nas: ‘What I’m watching’ — AHLish Canes squad heads to Music City to take on Preds

After dressing pretty nearly the NHL lineup for last Friday’s preseason home tilt against the Washington Capitals, the lineup for Tuesday in Nashville looks very much like the AHLish squad that kicked off preseason with a win in Tampa. The game represents a last chance for many players to make an impression before shuttling off to Charlotte on Wednesday and also an opportunity for surging players like Warren Foegele, Janne Kuokkanen and Lucas Wallmark to further their claim to an NHL roster spot.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Nashville Predators 1) Continuation from Warren Foegele, Janne Kuokkanen and Lucas Wallmark With a lineup that is only about half NHLers, I will be curious to see who these three players play with. Most significant in light of my article on lurking problems at the center position is how Brind’Amour looks to deploy Lucas Wallmark. But regardless of who plays with whom, I will be watching closely to see if all three of these players can continue their strong play.   2) Possibly a great measuring stick game for Jake Bean If Jake Bean pairs with Brett Pesce or Trevor van Riemsdyk, this game represents a great measuring stick game for Jake Bean. Nashville should ice a good amount of their NHL roster playing at home, so seeing how Jake Bean looks against strong competition but with a strong stay-home defenseman as a partner will give a decent read of just how close he is to NHL-ready.   3) Last chance to make an impression For many players, this game will represent the last chance to...
Preseason #3 Vs. Was: ‘What I’m watching’ — Brind’Amour turns focus toward October 4 opener

Preseason #3 Vs. Was: ‘What I’m watching’ — Brind’Amour turns focus toward October 4 opener

The Carolina Hurricanes will take to the ice at PNC Arena in Raleigh on Friday night for their third preseason game against the Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals. The game is the last before the Charlotte Checkers camp opens on Monday and historically one that stills sees a heavy dose of AHL players getting their chance to make an impression for later. So what jumps out about this game is the roster that looks pretty close to what the Hurricanes will ice on opening night. Adam Gold from 99.9 The Fan had the following from the morning skate: Never mind on the line up change…this is the group with Kuokkanen out. Foegele starts https://t.co/Bpk4VvP64j — Adam Gold (@AGoldFan) September 21, 2018 Micheal Ferland who was on the original lineup sheet, as is Trevor van Riemsdyk and Scott Darling who is just rotating turns as would be expected in preseason. I think you could make a reasonable case that barring injuries this group of 20 with Darling swapped in for Nedeljkovic plus the three I mentioned will be the opening day roster of 23. As such, my preview shifts to evaluating this group for building the opening night lineup.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Washington Capitals 1) Sebastian Aho with skill and scoring on his wings Of all of the positives for Wednesday’s 6-1 win, Sebastian Aho was not one of them. He did not so much make bad plays, but he really did not do much in the way of good. As a player who strength is not so much making space for himself...
Preseason #2 Vs. Tam: ‘What I’m watching’ — Canes seek continuation with NHL group in game 2 rematch

Preseason #2 Vs. Tam: ‘What I’m watching’ — Canes seek continuation with NHL group in game 2 rematch

Tuesday featured a road match of a young Canes group that was light on pure NHL talent playing the core of a Stanley Cup contender. But proving that the game is won on the ice, the Hurricanes group, led by the forwards, pushed pace and played an aggressive, skating brand of hockey that tilted the ice into the Tampa Bay end and resulted in a 4-1 Hurricanes win. If you missed it late last night, you can find my recap for that game HERE.  Preseason action continues tonight with a rematch in Raleigh. As one would expect, Wednesday will feature more of an NHL lineup for the Hurricanes and less of an NHL lineup for the Lightning.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Tampa Bay Lightning 1) Continuation of pace and pressure For me, the story of the game Tuesday was the strong forward play that dictated play, tilted the ice into the offensive zone and minimized pressure on the defense and goalies to stop the Lightning scoring stars. I closed with this for my game recap yesterday: 7) The burning question The forward play was impressive. They generally played a simple and aggressive game pursuing the puck in all three zones. At least theoretically, the pace and aggressiveness (and hopefully the success in Tuesday’s game) could potentially be the first part of what we call “Brind’Amour hockey”. But to be honest, I think the Caniac Nation, myself included, is so desperate for signs of a positive trajectory that 60 minutes of hockey in game 1 of the preseason could be taken for more than...

Preseason #1 @Tam: ‘What I’m watching’ — Let the games begin!

After another long offseason, the Carolina Hurricanes are back on the ice in game action in the first of six preseason games to prepare for the 2018-19 NHL season. The game group travels to Tampa Bay to take on the Lightning. As is usually the case in early preseason road games, the Hurricanes lineup is slightly on the light side in terms of players expected to make the NHL roster and as is often the case, will play a Lightning team that is fairly stacked with its superstars. Both today’s game and Wednesday’s will feature ‘that one chance to impress’ for a number of players on the underside of the cut line before the roster starts to shrink and the team focuses more on NHL lineup preparation.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Tampa Bay Lightning 1) Young D under pressure As noted above, many of Tampa Bay’s big guns will be in the lineup and will be facing a young Hurricanes group on defense that includes only Haydn Fleury and Trevor van Riemsdyk for the 2017-18 NHL regulars. The game represents a big challenge and measuring stick for the group of aspiring young defensemen that includes Roland McKeown, Jake Bean, Josh Wesley, Daniel Renouf and Michal Cajkovsky. On Tuesday, I will be watching to see how the young group holds up against high-end NHL competition as a way of measuring proximity to NHL-readiness for these players.   2) Lucas Wallmark As detailed in my Daily Cup of Joe article on Monday on Victor Rask’s injury, I see Lucas Wallmark as the front runner to...
‘What I’m Watching’ for Carolina Hurricanes in Traverse City

‘What I’m Watching’ for Carolina Hurricanes in Traverse City

The first right of passage into the new season for Canes hockey is always the prospects tourney in Traverse City. The tournament offers game action right at the front of training camp.   About the Traverse City tourney The tournament pits prospect teams against each other in a round robin style tourney that concludes with a one-game championship based on rankings during the round robin. As such, the tournament offers a good chance to gauge the team’s prospects from watching them play against similar age competition. Though there are no really formal rules for team composition, the tournament is primarily for junior age players 18-20 and newer AHLers. The tournament does not include NCAA prospects as they are already at school and generally does not include European prospects since they are already starting up their 2018-19 training camps in Europe. That roster composition leaves the Hurricanes a bit short, as the team’s prospect pool includes about a dozen players who are in the right age range but already into their NCAA or European training camps for the 2018-19 season.   Hurricanes’ history of players using prospect tourneys as a spring board The tournament has an interesting history for the Carolina Hurricanes. Multiple times, players who were well off the depth chart used the Traverse City tourney as a spring board into NHL training camp and rode the momentum all the way onto opening game rosters. Josef Vasicek rose up as a 19-year old to surprisingly win a third line center slot long ago, and Victor Rask similarly made an impression in Traverse City that started him toward an NHL...
‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes Prospect Camp — Camp preview

‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes Prospect Camp — Camp preview

In addition to all of the commotion around possible trades and free agency right around the corner, Canes fans will be treated to some actual hockey this week. The prospects arrived yesterday and practices which are open to the public begin on Wednesday. The full schedule is HERE. I will add to it as the week rolls on and certainly write more of a game version for the scrimmage on Saturday, but here is the overview version of ‘what I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes Prospect Camp.   1) Andrei Svechnikov One of the best parts of this annual event is the chance to get a first glimpse at the newly-drafted prospects. As when Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm were here, Andrei Svechnikov brings another high-end talent who will compete for a roster slot immediately. I always enjoy watching new players just to see their demeanor and personality on the ice and around the other players, and I also like getting a feel for their games and who they remind me of. I am hearing Marian Hossa for Svechnikov, so I will be watching to see if that checks out. In addition, as a player expected to play in the NHL this season, I will be watching to see if Svechnikov looks to be a level above this younger group of players who are not (at least yet) NHL caliber.   2) Jake Bean His case is an interesting. He is a similarly high-pedigree draft pick selected in the front half of the first round but has taken a more step-wise development path playing two years in juniors after...