First and foremost, gratitude today and every day for those who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our country and freedom across the globe.
Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers a short collection of random Canes notes.
The Charlotte Checkers
With a goal in the second overtime on Sunday night, Morgan Geekie propelled the Charlotte Checkers into the Calder Cup Finals. What is most encouraging from a Hurricanes perspective is how much of the success is driven by true prospects. AHL rosters are always an interesting mix between young prospects and veteran AHLers. The Checkers do have some veterans to balance things out, but the number of players who are 20-22 years old bodes well for this group helping the Hurricanes in the future.
His 2018-19 season was very much a tale of two halves. In roughly the first half of the season, Ferland looked like a very capable top 6 scoring forward who brought a power forward element to a skilled line. Then after a setback due to injury and a new landing place in the lineup, he was incredibly quiet during the second half of the season. After missing time with a recurring injury, he was never really the physical difference-maker in the playoffs either. Along the way, there was speculation about his asking price and fit long-term with the Hurricanes. Despite the fall off in his scoring, I would be interested in re-signing Ferland if term and price are right. His ability to disrupt games physically, be a new NHL policeman as much as is needed and most significantly skate and score on a top line are a rare combination. The burning question is what it takes to re-sign him. I think three years even at a fairly high price is less risky than even a lower price for five years. If he is not re-signed, it will be interesting to see if the Hurricanes add another physical player from outside the organization.
Jake Bean and the ailing power play
I have a half-written article that shares some thoughts for how to improve the power play. At the most basic level, I think the Hurricanes power play fails in that it does not have creative players in positions to distribute the puck and make things happen. The result is a power play full of step-wise, predictable and just a tiny bit slow puck movement instead of puck movement that breaks down the defense and creates grade A scoring chances in the process. I think that begins and ends with not having a true quarterback type who primarily fills the center spot in the umbrella type structure. Justin Faulk is a capable trigger man to receive and shoot the puck, but his strength has never been distributing the puck on the power play. Maybe to a slightly lesser degree, I think the same is true of Dougie Hamilton who is also a capable shooter. Jake Bean is interesting in this regard. He too has a knack for getting shots through and scoring goals from the blue line, but he also possesses more of the skill set of a true power play quarterback. If he takes the next step and is capable enough defensively to hold down a third pairing defense slot for the 2019-20 season, his greatest contribution short-term could be as a play maker on the power play.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Who is tracking the Charlotte Checkers closely and has comments on their success thus far?
2) Where do you stand on Micheal Ferland? If you would re-sign him, what is your maximum for salary and term?
3) Could Jake Bean be a difference-maker on the power play for the 2019-20 season adding a quarterback element that seemed to be missing for most of the 2018-19 season?