Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers a set of quick hitters on many of the Hurricanes prospects who are expected to compete for NHL roster spots in 2018-19.
He is a center probably more so than any other young, high ceiling player including Sebastian Aho. I think Aho also belongs at center, but he is more of an ‘either’ as a finishing-capable wing whereas I think Necas’ strengths and skill set lean more strongly toward the center position. Necas either makes the big club at that position or is better off developing in the AHL to start the season.
Though his game does project to play on a checking line like Jordan Staal’s, he is unlikely to be ready for that role in October. As a forechecker he is ready, but in terms of read/react, I think he will some run time in a slightly lesser role at NHL speed.
I think many overestimate how close he is to being NHL-ready. He is good enough to quarterback a second power play unit at the NHL level today, and with the puck on his stick and a little room to get started, he looks ready. But playing against competition that was two notches below the NHL last summer in prospect camp and in the Traverse City tourney, he still had work to do defensively. He will make some number of offensive plays that capture attention in training camp, but the real tell on his readiness is how he looks defending.
Andrei Svechnikov (if drafted)
All indications are that he should be ready to both learn and contribute at the NHL level in 2018-19. I do not understand those who want to play him with Jordan Staal. That puts a ton of emphasis on the defensive part of Svechnikov’s game which is likely less developed than his scoring. And Jordan Staal’s strengths are not that of a puck distributor who can drive scoring chances for Svechnikov. Better for him would be more ice time with in offensive positions and a little less in defensive positions as he gets his feet under him at the NHL level.
With the initial impression that Martin Necas made last summer and now the Andrei Svechnikov noise, Lucas Wallmark is almost like a forgotten man. Do not forget that he is probably the player who has most looked like a player ready to graduate to the NHL at the level just below the NHL. The challenge for him will be earning a spot at a crowded center position.
He obviously made a favorable impression in his short audition playing with Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen. That will garner him significant consideration in training camp. Unlike some, I do not consider him a sure thing to start the 2018-19 season at the NHL level. But based on his play with the Aho/Teravainen duo, he has the potential to be a difference-maker in 2018-19 if he can complement Aho/Teravainen and help them take one more step up from mid-60s in terms of scoring.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Which of my quick hitters do you agree with?
2) Which do you disagree with?
3) Do you have any others for these or other Canes rookies?