As we rapidly approach June and the beginning of open season for building the 2018-19 roster, there are just two more days to officially put a May that was actually fairly eventful at least for the team’s management ranks behind us.
Building off of yesterday’s Daily Cup of Joe that surveyed the Carolina Hurricanes prospect pool below the AHL, today’s Daily Cup of Joe is pure, unadulterated hockey fun — building ideal lines from the Hurricanes prospect pool without regard for which players will actually reach the ceilings that are required to even make it to the NHL.
Here are a few ideas for purpose-built lines:
1) The shutdown line extraordinaire
Warren Foegele – Nicolas Roy – Stelio Mattheos
In the same vein as a great Jordan Staal line, here is a line capable of both physically battering and offensively stymying the opposition. The line starts with Nicolas Roy who is Staal-like at 6 foot 4 inches tall and 207 pounds and also with his face-off acumen, reach and all-around play. Then add Warren Foegele who brings speed and forechecking tenacity at left wing, and the line gains the ability to hem opponents in their own end. Add Stelio Mattheos as another rugged and physical wing the potential to be miserable to play against, and you have a line with good size, physical play and defensive acumen. The line is not as flashy or impressive offensively, but it has the potential to be be a great shutdown line that does enough offensively.
Alternate: If you want a bit more offense and size to boot, just plug Julien Gauthier into the right wing slot.
2) The offensive juggernaut
Aleksi Saarela – Martin Necas – Andrei Svechnikov
Yes. I realize I cheated and assumed Andrei Svechnikov into the Hurricanes organization prematurely, but again, this is an exercise in dreaming not prognosticating. Except for potentially Sebastian Aho, Martin Necas has as high of a ceiling as anyone currently in the Hurricanes organization in terms of playmaking and puck distribution. So surround him with the two best snipers possible and what offense happen. Despite being only 18 years old and still a month away from being drafted, scouts have Svechnikov labeled as a can’t miss scorer at the NHL level. There are a couple options for the other side of Necas, but I opt for more of a pure sniper and skill players in Saarela over another enticing alternative in crease crasher Valentin Zykov.
Alternate: Valentin Zykov could bring a different dimension to such a line.
3) Finnish too
Janne Kuokkanen – Eetu Luostarinen – Aleksi Saarela
With Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen already a going concern at the NHL level, how about another Finnish line. Eetu Luostarinen is a couple years away from NHL-ready, but just maybe being book-ended by fellow countrymen Janne Kuokkanen and Aleksi Saarela could expedite the development process. The line would boast three natural centers and rate high for hockey IQ. A couple years down the road, could this line slot just below Aho/Teravainen?
Alternate: If you want to expedite the process, simple move Kuokkanen to center and replace Luostarinen with the more experienced Saku Maenalanen.
4) The power line
Valentin Zykov – Morgan Geekie – Julien Gauthier
In an exercise that mostly ignores potential limitations with all-around play, how about building another line with the utmost for scoring fire power. Valentin Zykov led the AHL in goals scored in 2017-18. Morgan Geekie posted 84 points in only 68 games in the WHL in 2017-18. And Julien Gauthier had a couple big goal scoring seasons in Canadian juniors too. All three players have multiple tools in their scoring tool bag with a common ability to play a power forward game and score at/near the crease. The tantalizing mix of skill with size and net drive bodes well in today’s NHL that takes traffic at the front of the net and point blank chances to beat the NHL’s goalies.
Alternate: Those less of a pure power forward, Lucas Wallmark is another interesting option in the middle. He brings a heady centerman who might be able to help by distributing the puck but also with plenty of finishing ability of his own.
What say you Canes fans?
With the way the Coffee Shop has been hopping of late, I cannot wait to see what line combinations others come up with.
1) If you could make one and only one line from the prospect pool, what would it be?
2) What other purpose-built lines would you imagine?