Much of my ‘Daily Cup of Joe’ is a constantly moving target of changes I would consider if was the GM or coach and trying to improve the team. On October 22, I put up a ‘3 wishes’ (cheated and included 4) post that you can read HERE. That original wish list had mixed results in terms of both getting a chance and being successful.
From the original list on October 22
The first wish asked for Eddie Lack to get a shot to run with the net for awhile. That has not really happened yet (though maybe it starts Wednesday?), but I cannot really fault Coach Bill Peters because he had a real rough outing soon after and has not really played the lights out game the earns a consecutive start (until Monday).
The second wish called for Hanifin/Murphy to be turned loose and encouraged to start pushing pace and playing like aggressive puck carrying defensemen. Murphy was on his way before being injured. Hanifin is showing flashes here and there but has yet to really open things up. Interestingly, I think the player most on the cusp of dialing up the pace and offense from the back end could be the newest recall Jaccob Slavin. He seems most comfortable playing his game for better or worse, so the ‘for better’ is at least possible.
The third wish called for Brett Pesce to get a shot next to John-Michael Liles. That actually happened soon thereafter and has obviously exceeded even the most optimistic hopes of what was possible.
I also through out a Skinner/____/Versteeg option. We have seen that line some with intermittent success.
If I had another round of 3 wishes right now, I would spend them as follows:
First wish – Eddie Lack
First I re-up on giving Eddie Lack a run in net. At some point Ron Francis needs to figure out what he really has in Lack since he extended him for 2 more years at a salary that suggests he gets at least half of the starter’s job. Can he do it? More significantly, despite seeing limited signs of it thus far, I continue to think that he is the highest probability chance of the Canes finding a hot goalie who can help them win games in the here and now.
Second wish – Phil DiGiuseppe and possibly Derek Ryan
Look for offense from below. In a fit of out of the box thinking awhile back, I voted to recall Derek Ryan and Phil DiGiuseppe together and plunk them down as two-thirds of a third line aimed at scoring. You can find that post HERE. I am also fine with the more step-wise path of moving 1 player at a time which would suggest a recall of Phil DiGiuseppe who is a natural wing and could potentially provide a boost offensively. The NHL is a young man’s game. I am skeptical of there being much scoring upside from the older young Canes forwards. DiGiuseppe is playing well right now and should enter the lineup with confidence.
Third wish – At least a look at Pesce/Faulk
In another out of left field idea, I would try Brett Pesce and Justin Faulk together (maybe after Ryan Murphy returns to provide at least 1 more right shot defenseman. The long version of my rationale for Pesce/Faulk is in this post HERE. The short version is that I think Faulk could benefit from a more sound partner, and despite his limited experience I think Brett Pesce is the best that the Canes current roster has to offer. The question/challenge of course is whether Pesce could transition to his off side without taking a significant hit in terms of quality of play. I acknowledge that there is a reasonable chance that the right/right thing just fails out of the gate at which point you just quickly cross it out and move on. But in terms of skill set and level of play right now, I think it makes enough sense to at least take a short look.