If you were away from Canes hockey for the holiday weekend, you missed a novel-sized 2-part series assessing Ron Francis’ first 2 years as GM of the Carolina Hurricanes.
In a bit of rare May actual news, the Canes announced that they had hired Ulf Samuelsson to replace Mark Morris as the Charlotte Checkers head coach for the 2016-17 season. You can find the team’s news release HERE.
Today’s post will go in a completely different direction in 2 regards. First, it gets back to the here and now for building the 2016-17 Carolina Hurricanes roster. Second, it is MUCH less wordy featuring only 10 (roughly) Twitter-sized thoughts.
1-I continue to think that the decision for the second goalie will be the most important decision that Ron Francis makes this summer.
2-I think Reimer (if alleged price/term is anything close to true) is too risky $-wise. I think Bishop is too risky for trade cost because of UFA status next summer. I am torn on variety of other options.
3-Of the under the radar/potentially cheap, options Chad Johnson is intriguing. His 22-16-4 / .920 Sv% / 2.36 GAA on a still rebuilding Sabres team were impressive.
4-I am on record as prioritizing a playmaking center above all else in terms of forward additions because of the potential for such a player to be a catalyst for an entire line.
5-The more I sort through the free agent options at forward, the more I think Francis will need to go the trade route. Other than the expensive, high-end options everyone else looks like only depth options.
6-If Francis does go trade route, draft picks will be primary currency, but I stick by my earlier assessment that Brett Pesce and Ryan Murphy are 2 2015-16 regulars most likely to be part of a trade simply because of depth on blue line.
7-In the same vein, I will be surprised if Francis does not do 2 deals over the draft weekend.
8-Also from the history repeats itself category, I would not at all be surprised to see Francis make a late addition on the cheap (a la Kris Versteeg and Joakim Nordstrom last summer) from a team trying to make moves and still squeeze under the salary cap late in the summer.
9-Of the players who seem within reach, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins excites me the most. He is not perfect or without risk, but he is a proven playmaking/scoring top 6 center. If the Canes do not at least try to add scoring, none of the other moves will matter anyway.
10-Of 2015-16 non-regular NHL forwards (not counting Sebastian Aho who is in a different category), I think Patrick Brown has best chance to stick in 2016-17. (Yes. Over Sergey Tolchinsky and Brock McGinn.) He fits as a solid fourth-liner.
Who has more Twitter-sized thoughts on building the 2016-17 team?