Yesterday’s Daily Cup of Joe looked at the goalie options available via free agency and otherwise. Math-wise, the goalie position is fairly straightforward. The Hurricanes so far seem committed to giving Scott Darling at least another year to right the ship. And the team has one slot available to add the best possible plan B (or possibly even plan A).
Today’s Daily Cup of Joe ventures into a murkier situation in assessing the current state and needs at the forward position. The murkiness comes from uncertainty with regard to how many younger prospects will prove to be NHL-ready for the 2018-19 season. Below is a quick look at the Hurricanes current situation at the forward position.
Disclaimer: I am not getting overly bogged down with who plays with whom and which line players slot on at this early juncture. The focus is more on simple quantity of players by position.
My starting point assumes that none of Lee Stempniak, Derek Ryan or Joakim Nordstrom who are all unrestricted free agents are re-signed.
NHL probables: Sebastian Aho, Jordan Staal, Victor Rask, ONE SPOT OPEN
Youth possibilities: Martin Necas, Lucas Wallmark
The team has youthful promise but is thin at the center position. My first iteration of filling four center slots sees Sebastian Aho transitioning more permanently, Victor Rask aiming to rebound and rookies Martin Necas and Lucas Wallmark battling for the final slot. One has to wonder if the Hurricanes will add one more proven NHL center along the way.
NHL probables: Jeff Skinner, Brock McGinn, Jordan Martinook, ONE SPOT OPEN
Youth possibilities: Warren Foegele
The left wing slot also has an open position. If Jeff Skinner departs via free agency, the left side becomes really thin and also light on scoring production. Warren Foegele and Valentin Zykov would figure to be the front runners to wi the open slot at wing.
NHL probables: Teuvo Teravainen, Justin Williams, Micheal Ferland, Andrei Svechnikov, Phil Di Giuseppe
Youth possibilities: Valentin Zykov
If Andrei Svechnikov makes the NHL squad as expected, the Hurricanes are reasonably full up at the right wing position though the flexibility of Teravainen could create an extra opening if he moves to the left side.
Other wild cards: Aleksi Saarela, Nicolas Roy, Janne Kuokkanen
Netting it out
When I net it out, two things jump out at me. First is that just like last summer, the team could really use at least one more higher-end scorer. Svechnikov, Necas and other young players have the potential to rise up and be top half of the roster players sooner rather than later, but counting only proven players my math says the Hurricanes have only three players (Aho, Teravainen, Skinner) who provide more than depth scoring. The other thing that jumps out at me is the possibility of three rookies being regulars in the lineup with the current roster.
What say you Canes fans?
1) How many slots do you think the Hurricanes will ultimately give to rookies/youth?
2) What is the biggest positive of this group of forwards? What is the biggest negative?