Carolina Hurricanes cut roster to 29

Carolina Hurricanes cut roster to 29

As expected, the Hurricanes announced a broad set of roster cuts to stock the Charlotte Checkers and get a step closer to an opening day lineup. But with 29 players still on a roster likely to land at 22-24 by the end of the weekend, there are still decisions to be made at least partly based on the final two preseason games. Here is an updated assessment of the situation after today’s cuts.   Goalie I am on record from awhile back and again in today’s Daily Cup of Joe as saying that regardless of how competitive the situation looks in camp, the ultimate resolution to the goalie situation continues to be a foregone conclusion from before the start of camp. Alex Nedeljkovic needs to and will get NHL ice time at some point as he gets a chance to stake a claim to a backup slot or more in the near future. But before that occurs, the team needs to at a minimum give James Reimer a run in the NHL to try to rebound from a tough 2018-19 season. Ideal would be that he rebound and become tradeable. Especially if Forsberg clears waivers, I think the team would be willing to go with a combination of Mrazek, Nedeljkovic and Forsberg to fill two NHL slots. I guess the question for some might be why Forsberg stayed and Nedeljkovic left. I think the best bet is that Mrazek and Reimer split the two weekend starts and that the team does not want to put either of them in a position where they have to come in cold. So...
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...
Notes from Carolina Hurricanes first day of practices – Erik Haula, Martin Necas and Bill Burniston

Notes from Carolina Hurricanes first day of practices – Erik Haula, Martin Necas and Bill Burniston

Hockey is back!!!! As I said on Twitter shortly after joyfully scampering into PNC Arena for Friday’s practices: Nothing better than walking into chilly feeling and hearing the whish..whish..whish…of skates and clackety clack of pucks and sticks. — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) September 13, 2019 Today’s Daily Cup of Joe looked at the possible roster battle and/or depth chart positioning for the forward position. And below are notes from Friday’s two practices.   First impression – Erik Haula One of my watch points for the first practice was newcomer Erik Haula. As a former Western Conference player, my watch points on him were minimal prior to joining the team, so the start of training camp is a chance to start matching up my assessment to my impressions of him prior largely from research. In the drills as lines, he skated with Warren Foegele and Martin Necas. Both of those players skate well and can push pace. Haula looked every bit the part of a player who could match pace which is encouraging given that his 2018-19 season was cut short by a serious leg injury. Two other things that stood out…First, he showed the hands of a finisher in close on multiple occasions. Second, he seemed to be pretty vocal especially for a player new to the group. During the line skating at the end, he spent some time barking at/encouraging one of the players in the group who was struggling a bit. I could not get a helmet number, but thinking is that it might have been fellow Finnish player and youngster Eetu Luostarinen. (If anyone can confirm...
Carolina Hurricanes sign defenseman Jake Gardiner for 4 years at $4.05 million per year

Carolina Hurricanes sign defenseman Jake Gardiner for 4 years at $4.05 million per year

Four days after the announcement that Justin Williams would not be returning at least for the start of the 2019-20 season, the Hurricanes spent the $4M-ish available salary cap in signing defenseman Jake Gardiner to a four-year contract with an average salary of $4.05 million per year. My initial Twitter-size comments are way at the bottom for anyone who cares to start with those. In my article about Justin Williams’ decision, I devoted an entire paragraph to the possibility of targeting Jake Gardiner with the salary cap freed up when I wrote: Also in a Leafs vein, could Jake Gardiner be a bargain basement add. To be clear, I do not see the Hurricanes adding a higher cost defenseman with term to the mix. The team has decent depth for the third pairing. But if Gardiner suddenly becomes available on a one-year ‘prove it’ type deal for say $2 million, he could help the Hurricanes get back to five top four defenseman like 2018-19 and also add much-needed power play help. I missed on the fact that the Canes would not be willing to commit to term, but the basic thesis of continuing to opportunistically add players who are discounted for whatever reason came to fruition.   On Jake Gardiner Gardiner is a proven NHL defenseman who has filled a top 4 role for the Maple Leafs for multiple years. He is a left shot who is capable of playing an offensive game but has at times times been much-maligned for his defensive play. The burning question with Gardiner is whether his defensive play is that problematic or if...
Justin Williams to “step away from the game”

Justin Williams to “step away from the game”

Just in time for a Labor Day brunch, the Carolina Hurricanes announced that Justin Williams would not be joining the team. The wording was interesting in that it did not use the word “retire.” The title read, “Williams Announces Break from NHL.” Inside the team news release, the words “…step away from the game” were used. The word “unsure” was also included and Williams made mention of just not being physically or mentally ready at this point. I recommend reading the full news release as it has a good amount of meaningful comments instead of boilerplate terms.   You first! Who should be the Carolina Hurricanes next captain? Sebastian Aho Justin Faulk Jordan Martinook Brett Pesce Jaccob Slavin Jordan Staal Other (Write in Comments) View Results  Loading ...   Where Justin Williams left off after the 2018-19 season From the very first press conference that Justin Williams did (but Bill Peters somehow missed), he returned to help boost the Carolina Hurricanes back to NHL relevancy. With a contagiously fun vibe around the team established, a return to the playoffs and even playoff success, one could make a strong case that Justin Williams had accomplished what he returned to do. A case could be made that he had done his part to change the trajectory of the team and that timing was right for him to retire from the NHL on a high note. And if that is ultimately what happened (or happens?), Justin Williams will be no less of a great as a Carolina Hurricanes player. But at the same time, there was very clearly a role left for...
Carolina Hurricanes re-sign Brock McGinn (before arbitration) for 2 years at $2.1 million per year

Carolina Hurricanes re-sign Brock McGinn (before arbitration) for 2 years at $2.1 million per year

On Saturday, the Carolina Hurricanes announced that the team had re-signed Brock McGinn to a two-year contract at $2.1 million per year ($1.9 million 2019-20 and $2.3 million in 2020-21). The deal came before the arbitration hearing which was scheduled for Saturday. Below are a few levels of thoughts on Brock McGinn’s signing.   Brock McGinn’s contract I had McGinn at $1.75 million per year and would have been fine with one year or two at that price. In a salary cap world, every dollar counts, but $350,000 will not be what determines if the team is successful going forward. And as far as comparables go, the salary is a reasonable middle ground between a bargain and a higher end that could possibly be justified by McGinn’s 16 goals and 30 points in 2017-18. So if one considers McGinn to be a pure fourth-liner, $2.1 million would be a modest premium. If instead one considers McGinn to be a top 9 forward, that same price is a discount. So if one puts him somewhere in the middle, the price is probably a fair one for his role somewhat similar to Jordan Martinook’s $2 million salary.   Brock McGinn’s role/slot As alluded to above, I view McGinn as a tweener line-wise. Ideally on a good team, I think he gets pushed down to a fourth line role. At the same time, I think McGinn can make a legitimate case for being a physical component in the top 9. When you add in his role on the penalty kill and the fact that he is Nathan Gerbe-like in terms of consistent every...