The Carolina Hurricanes scoring woes have been well-documented and much-discussed over the past few days both at Canes and Coffee and in the broader Cane-isphere.
Yesterday’s Daily Cup of Joe bandied around a few ideas to improve scoring. The article is a great read for the comments with different viewpoints from multiple readers. A well-timed ‘Checking In’ by Brandon Stanley today also provides updates on the players at the AHL level who could be up for NHL ice time.
Both articles lead into today’s Daily Cup of Joe which looks for scoring help internally.
Already at the NHL level
In terms of trying to find more scoring from the players already at the NHL level, Andrei Svechnikov jumps out. He is still incredibly young, but Svechnikov comes with draft pedigree and expectations that he will one day be a goal scorer at the NHL level. And in recent games, he seems to be knocking on the door every game. At least while Micheal Ferland is out of the lineup, why not give Svechnikov ice time with Aho and/or Teravainen? There are any number of lineup possibilities if Brind’Amour wants to tinker, but simply putting Svechnikov in a position to score more jumps out to me as the most obvious thing to try.
Currently with the Charlotte Checkers
There are multiple different angles to pursue more scoring. Most want to focus on players who could improve and boost the team. Others spend time searching the trade market. But what about the possibility that the Canes already have the players needed. And with the Checkers playing very well, there figures to be options available.
I had Kuokkanen as making the NHL squad even if the team would have been overstocked at the time. Kuokkanen is averaging a point per game in the AHL. In addition, he brings a mature game defensively. I would not classify Kuokkanen as a likely high-end scorer. But Kuokkanen could still be an upgrade scoring-wise.
Saarela is and interesting consideration. To be honest, I was not overly impressed with Saarela’s play in prospect camp and later the Traverse City. But the one thing that Saarela has going for himself is the fact that he is a natural goal scorer. Right now, the ability to put the puck in the net is overwhelmingly the team’s biggest need. Saarela has a bias toward shooting the puck, and his shot is a very good one. No doubt, I question whether he will do enough in between shooting opportunities, but with the Hurricanes struggling mightily to score, perhaps having a forward quietly wandering the offensive zone looking for places to shoot from is exactly what the doctor ordered.
His 2018-19 audition was not a great one. In addition, Necas took some time to get his feet under him at the AHL level. More recently he caught a scoring spark after being moved to wing. I am of the opinion that Necas belongs at the center position. But just maybe he is ready to relaunch the NHL as a wing at least short-term. The skating and the skill are there. Could Martin Necas arrive sooner than expected and hit the ground running offensively?
From the less likely and less exciting category of current players. Veteran AHLer Greg McKegg comes to mind. Could an older player who is hungry to make the team hop right in and be productive? I am on record as liking McKegg’s game in the preseason. He plays fast and in straight lines. He seems like an unlikely player to significantly boost the team at the NHL level, but just maybe an adrenaline rush would be enough to offer a scoring burst.
For whatever reason, Andrew Poturalski has not generally been included in the group of players capable of playing at the NHL level soon.
Nicolas Roy was sound even if very unspectacular in a couple NHL games earlier this year. Certainly there are many variations of turf.
Julien Gauthier is the power forward equivalent of Aleksi Saarela. He has high-end skills that translate to the NHL level,but at last check he was still working to round out his game.
What I would do if I was Rod Brind’Amour
First, I would give Svechnikov some time on what was Aho’s line. He seemingly has untapped upside and could help with the scoring woes.
Then, I would recall Janne Kuokkanen. He looked NHL-ready in my opinion in preseason and has a mature enough game defensively. The downside of Kuokkanen is minimal because of his heady defensive play. The question is whether he can be more than depth offense.
What say you Canes fans?
1) What do you think about the possibility of moving Andrei Svechnikov up to NHL level?
2) Of the AHL players listed, which would you like to see given a chance at the NHL level?
3) What remaining moves would you make to try to garner more offense from the current group?