The original plan was to launch into a series of check ins on Carolina Hurricanes players playing with the Checkers in 2017-18 either late this week or possibly early next week. But with the call up of Warren Foegele on Sunday and the potential for his NHL debut on Monday, the first in the series just became incredibly timely.
Continuing with the theme from the recently completed series of 16 articles that checked in on Hurricanes prospects below the AHL level, the AHL series will similarly gather input from hockey people who watch/track the players on a regular basis.
About the interviewee: Mike Solarte from Spectrum News
Mike Solarte (Twitter=@MikeSolarte) is the NC Sports Director for Spectrum News. Mike has been in Charlotte for 15 years, and before that was in Raleigh for 7. You can see him Monday-Friday on Chevrolet Sports Night at 10pm.
Charlotte Checkers check in on Warren Foegele
Canes and Coffee: What was your first impression of Warren Foegele in terms of skill set and strengths upon first seeing him with the Checkers early in the 2017-18 season?
Mike Solarte: Initially, my impression of Foegele was that of a kid trying to find his way, but after watching him, he showed that he was more than a kid looking around. Foegele has good puck poise for a rookie, and remarkably, hasn’t scored a power play goal this season. He has 26 (to date), and 4 of those are short-handers. Coach Vellucci told me that because Foegele gets so much ice time as it is that he hasn’t used him on the power play hardly at all this season.
Canes and Coffee: What are the highlights and short summary of Warren Foegele’s 2017-18 season thus far?
Mike Solarte: When you look at highlights, I would say it’s been his consistency game in and game out. Rarely does he look lost or out of place, and he has really nice hands for a first-year pro.
Canes and Coffee: What limitations or areas for improvement stand out in Foegele’s game/skill set as he continues his development?
Mike Solarte: Foegele’s limitations, at this point, are his size. That sounds funny for a 6-2, 190 pound player, but if he added a little more thickness to his body, he could be an even more difficult matchup for opposing teams. Then there is his knowledge of the NHL system in place in Carolina. The idea of the Checkers is to mirror the big club, so all players that can get called up already know the routine when they get there. This isn’t a criticism of Foegele but rather more of a checklist item.
Canes and Coffee: How would you rate Warren Foegele for NHL-readiness for the 2018-19 season? What is still on his to-do list to be NHL-ready? What role do you envision him playing at the NHL level?
Mike Solarte: I think his NHL-readiness depends on a couple of factors. First is how much knowledge he demonstrates on the Hurricanes’ systems. Second is if there is there a spot for him on within the forwards group. I can see Foegele as an NHL forward, but the questions above likely will have a bigger impact on how soon he makes the jump.
Canes and Coffee: How has he looked/performed in a penalty killing role? The four shorthanded goals stand out, but more generally, does he project to be a capable penalty killer at the NHL level down the road?
Mike Solarte: I would say that his hockey IQ allows him to be solid on the PK. I cannot really formulate much beyond that, as when I am watching them kill penalties, I am more focused them on not allowing a power play goal.
Canes and Coffee: Is there anything else noteworthy that is not covered in the questions above?
Mike Solarte: For his pronunciation, he has a couple extra vowels in his last name. (I know it’s not what you are looking for, but Paul Branecky and I had a laugh about that when I first asked for confirmation on how to say the kids name, lol).
Canes and Coffee would like to extend a huge thank you to Mike Solarte from Spectrum News for sharing his ‘from the rink’ insight on Warren Foegele’s 2017-18 season with the Charlotte Checkers.
With the Checkers charging toward the playoffs, Mike is a great Twitter follow to stay in the loop with the Hurricanes prospects who are only a step away from the Hurricanes lineup.