Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers a short set of random Canes thoughts.
I really like his development so far this year. What concerned me most about his play in 2018-19 was not that he struggled a bit with the defensive responsibilities (that was somewhat expected) but rather that he was so incredibly quiet offensively. Fast forward to today and increasingly he is starting to use his skating ability to carry the puck and buy time and space and forward territory to make plays. As I have said a few times, I still think he has the best chance of becoming the long-coveted second scoring center even if the team rightfully lets him acclimate at wing for a quite a bit longer.
Jake Gardiner in Raleigh
There have been times in the past where being a small market team might have been a disadvantage in some ways. But there are advantages too. One of them is the fact that there is no super-powered microscope on players here like in many markets. Tyson Barrie is about melting under the pressure heaped on him and his struggles adjusting to a new team. Some amount of pressure can be helpful, but the extreme version can completely smother struggling players. So yes Jake Gardiner is struggling right now a bit like Dougie Hamilton was this time last year. In this market, the pressure and scrutiny is minimal. That allows time without massive duress for a player to just work it out which Hamilton did last year. As much I am watching Gardiner closely right now, I really think up to the midway point of the season can just be adjustment time. Here is hoping that the patience, non-crushing level of scrutiny and generally positive vibe in Raleigh are just what is needed for Gardiner to find his groove.
If my math is right, that is the first game (out of seven) that the Hurricanes have lost with Jordan Martinook in the lineup. There is some element of luck to this, and no doubt the small sample size is in play, but at the same time I do think brand of leadership in the locker room is a huge positive.
Right and wrong with Charlotte’s veteran mix
The roster maneuvering in Charlotte combined with the whereabouts of the many of the departures has been fascinating. On the one hand, none of the players let go have really carved out a role at the NHL level suggesting that at least as far as building an NHL roster, the Hurricanes (so far) have been right on these players being expendable fringe NHL/AHL players. Aleksi Saarela had a short audition in Chicago in preseason and then ran his mouth again adding fuel to the fire that says he might just have been addition by subtraction. Nicolas Roy figured to get every chance to win an NHL roster spot with his bargain salary to help with Vegas’ cap challenges. He did get that audition but did not really do anything to keep a spot and is back in the AHL. And other veterans like Trevor Carrick Patrick Brown and Andrew Poturalski are all still in the AHL. But the other side of the coin is that I think the organization maybe realizes that it cut to the bone with veteran experience that is useful. The team signed veteran Tye McGinn to a tryout contract. Zach Boychuk was seemingly in Charlotte. It is not clear but was that for a tryout? And now the Checkers have signed 25-year old journeyman Kerby Rychel. The team would never admit it, but I think the organization is realizing that it could use a handful more veterans in Charlotte.
What say you Canes fans?
1) What are your thoughts on my notes above?
2) Who has something else interesting to bandy around on a Friday?