With only 2 games remaining in the Carolina Hurricanes 2015-16 season and the team eliminated from the playoff hunt, the last few days could be interesting in terms of personnel decisions.
The last hurrah?
At the NHL level, Thursday has the potential to be the last home game for Cam Ward as a Hurricane after a long and storied 11-year run in net in Raleigh. I do NOT think it is a foregone conclusion that Ward is done. The Canes do need a second starter-capable goalie. Cam Ward has been pretty good in that role in the latter half of the season. He was 4-4-0 in December when the Canes turned things around and then 3-0-2 in January, 4-3-2 in February and 5-1-3 since then. There are other options too, but Cam Ward should at least be on the consideration list. While nothing is certain, there is at least a chance that Thursday’s game could be Cam Ward’s last home game in a Hurricanes uniform.
The Checkers playoff push and the shuttle bus
The Checkers won in overtime on Tuesday night and maintained their position in the eighth and final playoff spot in the AHL’s Western Conference. The Hurricanes have basically been running a shuttle bus between Raleigh and Charlotte to both evaluate players at the NHL level and also stock the Checkers team with as many of their best players as possible. Brody Sutter, Derek Ryan, Brock McGinn, Sergey Tolchinsky and Patrick Brown have all been back and forth playing on both teams.
The Checkers play Wednesday, then a back-to-back set on Saturday and Sunday and finally a back-to-back set next Thursday and Friday after the Hurricanes season is over. It will be interesting to see what the Canes do with personnel to possibly try to boost Charlotte into the playoffs. All of the shuttle bus players mentioned above plus Ryan Murphy, Noah Hanifin and Phil Di Giuseppe (still out with injury) are eligible for the AHL playoffs. In addition, I think it is correct that Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce could be sent down to Charlotte for regular season games but would not be eligible for the playoffs. (Someone holler if that is incorrect.)
I would be surprised to see the Canes send Noah Hanifin to Charlotte before the home finale, but the Canes punt a little bit on the final road game in Florida on Saturday to offer more help to Charlotte for this weekend’s games and also the final 2 next week?