Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers a small grab bag of catch up items.
The big news today was that Cam Ward had signed a 1-day contract to retire from the NHL with the Carolina Hurricanes. The move leaves only Eric Staal and (possibly?) Justin Williams from the 2006 Stanley Cup champions still slated to play NHL hockey in the upcoming season.
As a player in a key role during both the highest of highs and the lowest of lows for the franchise, his name still conjures up a wide range of thoughts and emotions. But above the fray of a thousand different angles on his Hurricanes hockey career, three things stand out to me. First, during good times and bad, he never once once wavered from being a class individual. Second, he along with Eric Staal have been as big of a part of our hockey community as any player during the past decade-ish for better or for worse. Finally, though there were obviously significant dry spells around them, his highlights truly fit into the special category. The bookends of his shootout win that launched his NHL career and receiving the Conn Smythe Trophy made for one of the most magical seasons in team history. And though the run ended sooner, Ward featured prominently in the 2009 playoff run that also had its share of magic.
Earlier this week, it was announced that Canes prospect Stelio Mattheos had been diagnosed with testicular cancer. He has diagnosed shortly after the Checkers season ended and has been undergoing treatment. Per the press release, he will miss training camp as he continues treatment. Here is wishing Stelio all the best with his treatment and a speedy recovery.
Growing up — Brett Pesce and Jaccob Slavin
Drafted as 18-year olds who are still transitioning from boys to men, it is common for players to still have a ways to go in terms of reaching full size. In browsing the Hurricanes roster today, the weights of Brett Pesce and Jaccob Slavin caught my eye. Jaccob Slavin is now listed as 6 foot 3 and 207 pounds. Brett Pesce weighs in at 6 foot 3 and 206 pounds. Both players were a lean kind of strong even as rookies but did have room to grow. A look back at the 2014 development camp roster that would have been almost exactly five years ago shows Slavin at 180 pounds and Pesce at 190 pounds. If one takes both sets of numbers as accurate, Slavin has added 27 pounds and actually grown two inches in height. Pesce has added 16 pounds. Both players are obviously in great physical condition, so that is a significant amount of good strength added as they have grown up.
Cory Pronman’s prospect rankings
At a basic level, prospect coverage breaks down into two categories. The first includes numerous writers/analysts who research players and provide secondary coverage and/or summaries of what is out there. The second is a much smaller group that actually does primary research by watching the players as regularly as possible and providing firsthand scouting and analysis. Pronman is one of the few who spends his days as a primary source for prospect coverage, and he does it well. So one of the positive annual rites of passage into the next season is Cory Pronman’s August countdown ranking all 31 NHL teams’ prospect pools. After coming in at #4 last summer, the Hurricanes just landed at #8 out of 31 NHL teams. The drop was to be expected with Andrei Svechnikov, Warren Foegele and I believe Lucas Wallmark playing their way out of the prospect category and with Nicolas Roy, Alekski Saarela and Adam Fox departing. The extra haul of players from the 2019 NHL draft probably helped the current ranking but more significantly adds another batch of players to watch a couple years out. Pronman’s article is HERE but requires a subscription to The Athletic. With Sara Civian’s regular coverage and occasional bonuses like this, a subscription is well worth it to stay on top of Canes news.
What say you Canes fans?
1) What is your favorite Cam Ward memory? (or more)
2) For those who track prospects, what do you think of the Hurricanes #8 ranking despite having multiple players graduate to the NHL and a few others leave?
3) Who has other topics for late August Coffee Shop debate?