Over the weekend, the Hurricanes announced that goalies Jeremy Helvig and Callum Booth had been returned to the Charlotte Checkers.
With the Checkers training camp set to open on Tuesday, I was expecting a sizable round of cuts on Sunday, but I guess they will happen on Monday morning shortly after I write this late on Sunday night.
Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a quick look at what should be a fairly predictable round of cuts. It would be a big surprise if any of the Canes players on one-way contracts were sent to Charlotte at this early juncture, and a number of other players have certainly played their way into an early audition. As such, this first round of cuts would be primarily players who entered training camp as near certain AHLers.
With Booth and Helvig gone, I would expect the Hurricanes to keep the remaining four goalies though timing could be interesting to try to sneak Anton Forsberg through waivers before an injury or two has a team looking for goalie depth on the waiver wire.
Likely to head to Charlotte on Monday: Colin Markison, Hunter Shinkaruk, Spencer Smallman, Steven Lorentz, Jacob Pritchard. This group likely to be joined by 1-3 more forwards will be the initial group in Charlotte.
On the fence: Brian Gibbons, Max McCormick, Eetu Luostarinen, Ryan Suzuki (would return to juniors not go to the AHL). By my estimation Ryan Suzuki will not push for an NHL roster spot on a Canes team that is deep at forward, so the question is how long the team will keep him in camp for development purposes. Gibbons and McCormick will almost certainly start the season the AHL level, but because they represent depth with NHL experience and the speed and tenacity that Brind’Amour wants on his wings, one or both could stay a bit longer for the coaching staff to see how they might later fit if needed.
Likely to get a longer NHL audition: Julien Gauthier, Martin Necas, Janne Kuokkanen, Clark Bishop, Morgan Geekie. Gauthier and Bishop have been among the team’s best players so far, so each obviously stays. I think Kuokkanen is still on the outside looking in but will get a longer look anyway. And though I think Geekie is also destined for Charlotte, I think he has played well enough to survive the first round of cuts. With Gauthier’s rise, Necas is likely on the outside looking in right now on the NHL lineup, but he will be given opportunities until the end of training camp to climb back into the top 12 or 13.
Stelio Mattheos no doubt has some catching up to do after missing the front part of training camp for treatment for testicular cancer. He could stay a little bit longer to give him a fair preseason look, but ultimately will head to Charlotte to continue his development.
My wild guess for cuts: Markison, Shinkaruk, Smallman, Lorentz, Mattheos, Luostarinen, Pritchard.
Likely to head to Charlotte on Monday: Alex Lintuniemi, Cavan Fitzgerald, Fredrik Claesson, Kyle Wood, Derek Sheppard. With the exception of Claesson, this group was destined for Charlotte from the outset. The Canes are deep at the bottom of their blue line, so there is plenty of extra help remaining in training camp even without keeping any extras.
On the fence: Jesper Sellgren, Roland McKeown, Gustav Forsling. As a newcomer to Raleigh, the coaching staff might or might not want a longer look at Sellgren, but I think he is ultimately destined for Charlotte. McKeown and Forsling would figure to still be in the tryout for one of the last spots, but might the team try to get one or both of them through waivers to Charlotte at this early juncture of training camp while other teams are still busy slotting the players they already have?
Likely to get a longer NHL audition: Jake Bean, Haydn Fleury. Because he does not need to clear waivers this year but must do so next year, I think the team will want to see as much of Jake Bean as possible in NHL-ish preseason games to evaluate him and continue his development. He is almost certain to start the season in Charlotte, but I would not be surprised to see him stay in Raleigh until the end. Fleury is almost certain to stay at the NHL level, but I list him here because he is waiver-exempt and on a two-way contract.
Chase Priskie is a wild card since he is out with injury. He ultimately seems destined for Charlotte, but when exactly is uncertain.
My wild guess for cuts: Lintuniemi, Fitzgerald, Claesson, Wood, Sheppard, Sellgren.
If my math is right, these cuts would give the Checkers a decent group of seven forwards, six defensemen and two goalies to begin practices.
What say you Canes fans?
1) If you see this before cuts are announced, what are your predictions?
2) For after cuts are announced, did any of the players remaining or cut in this first big round of cuts surprise you?