In general, I am a cautious fan of Canes coach Bill Peters.  I say cautious simply because I simply refuse to go head over heels over a new coach based on resume and impressions for how he does things.  I was mostly that way anyway, and the short Kirk Muller era solidified this approach to coach loving.  When I net it out, I think Peters rates pretty high for a coach with 1 season under his belt with a wide playoff miss.

But I have to admit, I was puzzled by the lines at practice today.  My initial thought was “Did this weekend not happen?”  The Canes played and won 2 games and seemed to find some things that worked along the way.  Most notable at forward was Jeff Skinner’s scoring outburst playing on a line with Riley Nash and Kris Versteeg.  The trio played together on Sunday as well and seemed to be good then too.  Kris Versteeg assisted on the Jaccob Slavin game-winner.

If I was coach of the Carolina Hurricanes and was granted only 2 player wishes for training camp, I would immediately use both wishes to get Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner going offensively.  Sure it was only a tiny period of time, but that happened for Jeff Skinner this weekend.

So if I am coach of the Hurricanes figuring out practice for Monday, I start with “do no harm” to Jeff Skinner.  His line stays together.  Given that nothing else seemed to clicking nearly so magically, all other puzzle pieces are in play.  But NOT Jeff Skinner, Riley Nash or Kris Versteeg.

So per the team’s social media and web director Michael Smith, lines reported from practice today were:





Malone/Ryan McGinn

The last 2 lines make sense.  Nordstrom fits as and could actually be a frontrunner for a fourth-line slot.  If Nestrasil is not needed for a higher line, I guess he could fall to here.  And the 5th line is likely the players on the outside trying to play their way into a spot right now.  Malone likely stays on the roster as a #13 anyway because of his 1-way contract, but he could fall out of the top 12.

In a short interview on the team web site today, Coach Bill Peters made mention in passing of Eric Staal preferring to play center, so he was trying to get him back there.  But coming out of the weekend, I think taking a note and telling Eric Staal to have some patience might have been a better course.

Other than the last 2 lines, it looks as if Bill Peters literally drew out of a hat.

–Jeff Skinner is paired with neither of the 2 players he had his scoring outburst with.  If that line’s play this weekend was not enough to stay together longer, does that mean that Peters will just shuffle randomly on some kind of schedule?  …because it is not possible to do more to stay together.

–The Victor Rask/Elias Lindholm duo that seemed as set in stone as anything is now separated.

–I really do not like Gerbe/JStaal/Nash.  I view all 3 as decent options to skate and drive the net, but I am not sure any of the 3 brings enough playmaking to actually make sure someone gets a shot after he goes there.

But my 2 cents aside, I think my biggest concern is with the process.  Had nothing worked this weekend, I would be more open to completely shuffling the deck.  But Peters actually seemed to find something that worked incredibly well on Saturday and then immediately went away from it.  At that point, what is Peters even looking for?  Trying something.  Finding something that works.  Then still just immediately jumping to the next shuffle anyway seems like a recipe for endless shuffling.

I would be curious to hear others’ thoughts.  It is training camp and a good time to experiment.  Am I overreacting?

Quick poll:

What are your thoughts on Bill Peters line shuffling for practice today?

  • Chill out. It is preseason and exactly the time for regular line tinkering to assess many different options. (82%, 72 Votes)
  • I agree. Why wouldn't you keep Skinner/Nash/Versteeg together at least a bit longer after a scoring outburst for Skinner. (18%, 16 Votes)

Total Voters: 88

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Go Canes!

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