Yesterday’s Daily Cup of Joe dove part-way into the summer work looking at the large collection players who could become available from the Montreal Canadiens after their disappointing first-round loss.
Today’s daily post catches up on a couple news events and other items not yet covered in other articles.
Congratulations to Derek Ryan for being named a Masterton Trophy finalist
As most know, Derek Ryan was named the Carolina Hurricanes entry for the Masterton Trophy which is awarded each NHL season to the player who exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey. It will be a shocking upset if Ryan ultimately wins, as most people believe it is a foregone conclusion that Craig Anderson whose wife is battling cancer will win the award.
Though Ryan will not likely win the award, his story still an incredibly good story of chasing his dream to play in the NHL and persevering when presented with obstacles and a long path to get there. Alex Prewitt from Sports Illustrated chronicled Derek Ryan’s journey to the NHL in his article on February 17.
As an aside, I have seen occasional social media chatter suggesting that Bryan Bickell should have been the Hurricanes nominee. He likely would have been, but he was not at the NHL level when the nominees were selected.
Klas Dahlbeck re-signs for one year at $850,000
Last Friday the Hurricanes announced that the team had re-signed Klas Dahlbeck to a one-year contract at $850,000. The deal is a one-way deal which means that Dahlbeck will receive the same salary even if he is sent to the AHL.
Most significant is that Dahlbeck will qualify as the one experienced defenseman that the Hurricanes must expose in the expansion draft. Prior to re-signing Dahlbeck, Justin Faulk was the only defenseman who qualified, so an alternative needed to be created before the expansion draft.
Though Dahlbeck will be exposed in the expansion draft, he is unlikely to be chosen. More likely, the Hurricanes will lose a forward and Dahlbeck will be the #6 or #7 defenseman when the Hurricanes start the 2017-18 season. Shortly after the deal was announced, I noted my reservations with Dahlbeck in this role. On the positive side of the slate, Dahlbeck did have stretches of decent play, and I like the physical edge and bit of nastiness that he brings to the lineup. But my concern is his lack of flexibility in terms of playing either side of the blue line. He struggled mightily playing on the right side, which is his off side, early in the season and only seemed to settle in when playing on his natural left side.
In the #7 slot, ideally a player can player either side without a significant downgrade in level of play. This enables the player to step in where needed in the event of any injury/roster opening. And for the Hurricanes, I think it is more likely that the team needs help on the right side in the third pairing. As of right now, I think the two most likely #5 defensemen are Noah Hanifin if he slides back down into the third pairing or otherwise Haydn Fleury as the most likely next young player to ascend into the NHL lineup.
But all in all, Francis addressed the expansion draft need and filled a depth defenseman roster spot in the process. And the fate of the 2017-18 Carolina Hurricanes season will be more dependent on bigger moves yet to come.
The case for Curtis Joseph as goalie coach
In what looked like a ho-hum move last summer, Ron Francis announced that the Hurricanes had added Curtis Joseph to help with goalie prospects developing in the Hurricanes’ organization. Joseph would spend some time in Charlotte where Alex Nedeljkovic was starting his professional career, and he would also work with other Hurricanes goalie prospects below the AHL level. I speculated at the time that Joseph would also give Francis another staff member to bounce goalie stuff off.
Fast forward a year and the Hurricanes are coming off of another sub-par season in terms of netminding. The team also has a vacancy for the goalie coach after Francis decided not to re-sign David Marcoux.
If he wants such a daily role tied to a specific team, Curtis Joseph would figure to be one person considered for the goalie coaching role. I have not seen Joseph work with the young goalies and information on this is sparse, so it is impossible for me to comment on his coaching abilities. But at a conceptual level, I like the idea of turning to an NHL goalie coach who brings extensive NHL experience as a player. With the Hurricanes likely to have two veteran netminders in 2017-18 whether it is the current two or if there are changes, the duo might benefit less from technical work on their mechanics and more from someone who can help them mentally play at the highest levels that they are capable of.
It will be interesting to see if Francis turns to Joseph or instead goes another route in filling the open goalie coaching position.