After a many-year run of sending prospects to the Traverse City tourney, the Hurricanes will switch to the Prospects Showcase which is in Nashville this year and also features teams from the Predators, Capitals and Lightning.
Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a look at that roster and what some of the players have to gain from that tourney.
Where are the Canes prospects?
The first thing that jumps out when perusing the roster is the fact that only 10 of the 20 players are actually Canes prospects. The other 12 are invitees. Important to note is that this is a function of who the Canes have drafted and not the size or quality of the their prospect pool. NCAA and players slated to play in Europe do not generally play in the fall rookie tourneys. The NCAA players are already at school, and the European players have also started their training camps far away in Europe. So the low number of players is because the Hurricanes have drafted so many European and NCAA players in the past two drafts.
Who is there?
The list of actual Canes prospects includes first game action for 2019 forward draftees Ryan Suzuki, Jamieson Rees and Blake Murray. The tourney also offers a first look at free agent signees defenseman Chase Priskie and forward Jacob Pritchard. Janne Kuokkanen, Jesper Sellgren, Luke Henman, Eetu Luostarinen and Jeremy Helvig round out the group.
A first look at the next wave of defense prospects
The tourney represents a chance to see two of the team’s promising blue line prospects possibly playing together on a pairing. Yesterday’s Daily Cup of Joe highlighted the group of four slightly older and more experienced defensemen who are most likely to compete for the last couple NHL roster spots in October. Jesper Sellgren played well at the AHL level after joining the Checkers late in the season and for the playoffs. Chase Priskie arrives on the scene as a highly-touted NCAA player who some think could be close to NHL ready. In a tourney heavy with 18 and 19 year olds, one would expect Priskie and Sellgren to stand out in this tourney if they are in fact on a fairly fast path to the NHL.
A chance to rise above
After missing the second half of the 2018-19 season, the tourney represents a chance to get back into the swing of things for Janne Kuokkanen. As a veteran rookie tourney player, he should rise above this group. Ryan Suzuki, Jamieson Rees and Eetu Luostarinen are more in the middle age range for this tourney but as players selected in the first half of the draft, one would hope they would rise above the competition and demonstrate that they are closer to the NHL level than this level.
Of the invitees, two are familiar names who joined the team for the prospect camp after the NHL draft. Returning are goalie Samuel Harvey and defenseman Noel Hoefenmayer. I wrote in some detail about the Hurrianes inviting three goalies to prospect camp despite having enough draftees available to fill the nets. I suggested that given how goalies are often late bloomers visibility and relationships beyond the drafted group could make a lot of sense to sort of build a bigger prospect pool even if non-contractually. So from that group Harvey will now see action in a Hurricanes uniform in September. At 6 foot 1 inch tall, Harvey is slightly undersized by goalie standards today, but does 2-3 inches really make that big of a difference? He is coming off consecutive strong seasons in the QMJHL. The Hurricanes goalie prospect pool is pretty deep, but might the team be at least considering adding one more to the mix? Noel Hoefenmayer is an OHL defenseman with good NHL size and some offensive ability. He is another who after receiving a call back has potentially made an impression.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Of the newcomers via draft and free agent signings, who are you most looking forward to watching?
2) Which players do you think have the most to gain from a strong tourney?
3) What, if anything, do you make of Samuel and Harvey and Noel Hoefenmayer making second appearances with the Canes prospects? Who has information on other invitees?