Chronological Blog List

Handicapping the upcoming AHL roster cuts

Over the weekend, the Hurricanes announced that goalies Jeremy Helvig and Callum Booth had been returned to the Charlotte Checkers. With the Checkers training camp set to open on Tuesday, I was expecting a sizable round of cuts on Sunday, but I guess they will happen on Monday morning shortly after I write this late on Sunday night. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a quick look at what should be a fairly predictable round of cuts. It would be a big surprise if any of the Canes players on one-way contracts were sent to Charlotte at this early juncture, and a number of other players have certainly played their way into an early audition. As such, this first round of cuts would be primarily players who entered training camp as near certain AHLers.   In goal With Booth and Helvig gone, I would expect the Hurricanes to keep the remaining four goalies though timing could be interesting to try to sneak Anton Forsberg through waivers before an injury or two has a team looking for goalie depth on the waiver wire.   At forward Likely to head to Charlotte on Monday: Colin Markison, Hunter Shinkaruk, Spencer Smallman, Steven Lorentz, Jacob Pritchard. This group likely to be joined by 1-3 more forwards will be the initial group in Charlotte. On the fence: Brian Gibbons, Max McCormick, Eetu Luostarinen, Ryan Suzuki (would return to juniors not go to the AHL). By my estimation Ryan Suzuki will not push for an NHL roster spot on a Canes team that is deep at forward, so the question is how long the team...

‘What I’m (not?) watching’ — Preseason Gm3 @Was: Tryouts continue against the Capitals

Today’s game 3 of the preseason will not be broadcast locally, so those wishing to track the game will be forced to radio unless some kind of video stream emerges from the depths of the internet. The game features a lineup pretty similar to Tuesday’s road lineup but with a couple NHLers and potential NHLers sprinkled in.   ‘What I’m (not) watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Washington Capitals 1) Julien Gauthier rising After Wednesday’s game, I said on Twitter: 1/2 It's early, but @CanesNHL Julien Gauthier has played his way up into same consideration as Martin Necas. Both are waiver exempt. — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) September 19, 2019 2/2 If it's a true 'earn your ice time', Gauthier at a minimum has earned a try out/ice time on an NHL line. #TakeWarning — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) September 19, 2019 Gauthier will play in his third consecutive preseason. Subtle but meaningful in the expected lineup is that Gauthier will play on an NHL line with Lucas Wallmark and Brock McGinn, whereas Martin Necas will play on more of a tryout line with Morgan Geekie and Janne Kuokkanen. This is not a slight to Geekie and Kuokkanen who have both played well, nor does it mean that Necas is out of the picture based solely on two preseason games. But it is very clear that Gauthier has caught the coaching staff’s attention and deservedly so. The key for Gauthier is not to pause or be happy about his progress but rather to keep pushing every shift.   2) Sorting out the D The blue line features Jake...

Chasing dreams and beating the odds

A good number of players in the NHL are players who were drafted high with the expectation that they would eventually make an impact at the NHL level. By no means do I intend to discount the efforts of these players. Yes, Andrei Svechnikov entered the 2018 NHL Draft projected as a can’t miss NHLer based on his natural ability, but the recipe for his success also included hard work and sacrifices. I think sometimes fans can underestimate the sacrifices and life transitions that many young players go to packing up and moving at such a young age. As a high school age kid, Andrei Svechnikov packed up and left his home to move across the globe to a place where he did not speak the language — and pursue his dream of playing in the NHL. The point is that pretty much every player has sacrifices and stories related to reaching the NHL. But today’s Daily Cup of Joe steps briefly away from the here and now of training camp and looks at a few of the Hurricanes players who are improbable NHLers who beat the odds to make it to the show.   Lucas Wallmark (4th round) After being a mid-round draft pick in 2014, Lucas Wallmark stayed home in Sweden to hone his skills for a couple more years. When he arrived in North America, Wallmark quickly earned some NHL ice time, but did not stick at the NHL level until the 2018-19 season.   Jaccob Slavin (4th round) The biggest late-round draft win by the Hurricanes is easily Jaccob Slavin. Slavin was a ho-hum fourth-round...

Rising up the depth chart through two preseason games

For anyone looking for notes/recap from Wednesday’s 3-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, hope is to find time to post those during the day on Thursday.   Much can and will change over the course of preseason. And then even once things are decided to start the regular season, things will continue to change over the course of a long and unpredictable 82-game NHL season. But at the same time, these preseason games are a point of evaluation for players, especially those on the AHL/NHL cut line. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a quick look at players rising in terms of standing on the depth chart and case for an opening night roster spot.   Julien Gauthier Gauthier is probably the biggest riser through two games. Credit to some combination of Mike Vellucci and just maturing as a player, Julien Gauthier has been the story of preseason so far. He played well in Tuesday’s game and then followed it up with an even better effort on Wednesday. On Wednesday, Gauthier regularly looked like a power forward to be reckoned with at the NHL level with the puck on his stick. That was not new. But what was how hard he was on the puck in all three zones and how engaged he was on a consistent basis. As I said on Twitter shortly after Wednesday’s game, if ice time is truly to be earned based on merit, Gauthier has officially challenged Martin Necas for one of the last roster spots.   Clark Bishop Playing with Gauthier on Wednesday, Clark Bishop also had a strong game. His goal...

‘What I’m watching’ — Preseason Gm2 Vs. Tam: Now for the NHL roster

I feel like I am running about 12 hours behind on about everything in life this week, but I did finally post at least abbreviated notes on Tuesday’s game. Those are HERE. As is typically the case at home in the preseason, tonight’s Hurricanes lineup features much more of an NHL contingent, with three lines of NHL forwards and also four NHL defensemen plus Gustav Forsling who figures to be in the mix of players competing at the AHL/NHL cut line. Dzingel-Aho-NinoFoegele- Haula- NecasSvechnikov- Staal- TurboLorentz- Bishop- Gauthier Claesson-ForslingSlavin-HamiltonGardiner- FaulkSheppard- Lintuniemi EMOJIS TO COME — Sara ‘morning skate tweeter’ Civ (@SaraCivian) September 18, 2019   Quick ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Tampa Bay Lightning 1) Chemistry at the top The top scoring line features Sebastian Aho in his usual place and familiar face Nino Niederreiter. Ryan Dzingel is the new add. The party line on Dzingel is that his play on the defensive side of the puck is not one of his strengths. So I will be watching two things in that regard. First is to see if/to what degree this line has chemistry out of the gate. Second, I will be watching to see how Dzingel looks in instances where he needs to read/react and not just be a Brind’Amour system heat-seeking missile on the left side.   2) Svech with the the shutdown leader I am on record as preferring to stock Jordan Staal’s line with players who rate average or better defensively. Important to note is that Andrei Svechnikov is still only 19 years old and growing in all facets of his...

Preseason Gm1 @Tam: Canes resume preseason dominance with 3-0 win

Picking up right where they left off steam rolling the competition in preseason action under Rod Brind’Amour, the Hurricanes scored early and ran to a solid 3-0 win in Tampa. Both rosters were light on NHL talent, so I would not read anything into this in terms of the regular season, but winning still beats losing and the immediate return of the pressuring forecheck is encouraging. I caught only the second and third periods due to another commitment, but here are short notes from that.   Brian Gibbons and Max McCormick Flanking Morgan Geekie, the veteran AHL duo had a strong game and contributed on the score sheet. What stood out more than the scoring was how well both players fit what Brind’Amour wants to do. Both skate well and push aggressively both pursuing and playing with the puck. The comparison is to Greg McKegg who was similarly a veteran AHLer with some NHL experience and a skill set that fits the Canes forechecking style.   Morgan Geekie He had a strong game. The jury is still out on his ability to match NHL pace, but his game, especially on the offensive side of the puck, is mature. The McCormick rebound goal came on a heady play that saw a well-defended Geekie shift just enough to change shooting angle off the rush, put the puck on net and set up a rebound chance.   Jake Bean I feel like I am going to oscillate daily on his potential as an NHLer. He looked every bit of a player who was a notch above the competition in the prospect tourney....

Hurricanes prospects on the contract clock

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a step away from the here and now of preseason hockey to look at the group of Carolina Hurricanes prospects who must be signed after the 2019-20 season when their draft rights expire or otherwise be lost to free agency. Below is the group of players in this category with a quick assessment of each.   David Cotton Cotton was drafted as an NCAA player, so the Hurricanes have maintained his rights for four year. His graduation year is this year, so the Hurricanes have until next August to sign him. If they do not, Cotton can become a free agent like Chase Priskie did this summer before signing with the Hurricanes. Cotton has made step-wise progress and returned as a veteran leader to the prospect camp this summer. He showed well in that week against young players and was also just named the captain for Boston College. He has NHL speed and good skating ability. That combined with steady progress in terms of his skills, makes him a near certainty to sign an entry-level contract with the Hurricanes as long as he does not instead prefer the free agent route that is now available to him.   Matt Filipe Like Cotton, Matt Filipe was a veteran leader for prospect camp this summer. And also like Cotton, Filipe has good size and skates well enough to have NHL potential. He also possesses a good shot. I think Filipe is also a near certainty to be offered an entry-level contract. The risk again is if he instead prefers to wait until August and go...

‘What I’m watching’ — Preseason Gm1 @Tam: Chance to make a lasting impression

As is standard for early preseason road games, the Hurricanes roster that takes the ice on Tuesday night in Tampa, Florida will be light on NHL talent. More of the NHL group will play the turnaround home game on Wednesday in Raleigh. But that is not to say that games like this are not important. Instead, these games are absolutely critical for depth players who will have limited opportunities to make an impression on Rod Brind’Amour and the coaching staff. In 2018-19, Warren Foegele used a strong preseason start to move up the depth chart and get preseason ice time with NHLers. And Greg McKegg had a strong preseason that no doubt put him near the top of the list for future call ups. He later returned to Raleigh and played the second half of the year at the NHL level. Similar opportunities exist this preseason which begins tonight. Adam Gold from 99.9 The Fan posted the expected line combinations from the morning skate in Raleigh: So…here’s how the @CanesNHL will line up in Tampa tonight… Brock-Wally-MartyKuokk-Luostarinen-GauthierMcCormick-Suzuki-GibbonsMarkison-Geekie-Pritchard Bean-PesceFleury-McKeownSellgren-Wood ReimerForsberg Should be seeing McElhinney for the Bolts — Adam Gold (@AGoldFan) September 17, 2019 So parsing through that lineup and considering what I said above, here is ‘what I’m watching’ for Tuesday’s game:   1) Prospects standing out — Janne Kuokkanen, Julien Gauthier, Morgan Geekie and Jake Bean Kuokkanen, Gauthier and Bean represent three of the four players that I identified in Monday’s Daily Cup of Joe article that identified potential dark horses. As noted in that article, there is not much room for players to win slots right now, but...

Carolina Hurricanes potential dark horses

Tuesday marks the start of the Carolina Hurricanes preseason slate with a road game in Tampa. The addition of Jake Gardiner makes the Canes blue line pretty full without much room for surprises. With Justin Williams and Saku Maenalanen’s late decisions not to return, there could be a bit more room at forward especially if the team encounters an early injury. And in net, the logical starting point is the two goalies on one-way contracts. The Hurricanes enter preseason without much for room for players to win open slots, but nonetheless today’s Daily Cup of Joe identifies a couple possible dark horses.   In goal Alex Nedeljkovic Regardless of how he plays in preseason, and I do figure he will see some game action, Alex Nedeljkovic is almost certainly destined to start the season in the AHL. But I do think the team wants and needs to get him some NHL ice time to evaluate him for the 2020-21 season if not sooner. As such, I think this training camp is an important one for Nedeljkovic. More so than just level of play, he needs to show the demeanor of a capable NHL netminder. If he looks ready, Nedeljkovic should punch his ticket to return to the NHL level if/when there is an opening and also be given ice time when he does.   At forward Janne Kuokkanen Kuokkanen was out with an injury when both the Checkers and Canes surged in the second half of the year. That combined with having maybe a somewhat lower ceiling than a couple other young guns, and Kuokkanen is a bit of...

Random Canes musings: 4D chess with Faulk, Julius Honka rumor, Fredrik Claesson PTO and Trevor van Riemsdyk status

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe has a small but interesting batch of random Canes musings.   4D chess on the Justin Faulk trade rumors After a wild day when rumors that Justin Faulk could be traded to Anaheim broke on Monday, it has been pretty quiet on that front since. My original article on that topic is HERE. Justin Faulk deserves a huge amount of credit for putting in a couple solid practices with the news swirling around and being a good sport answering questions about it at his stall afterward. I have no inside information on the current status of that situation, but here is an interesting possibility that is outside the realm of what is currently being considered. It has been reported that the Hurricanes and Justin Faulk discussed a next contract back in June, and at least as reported have not discussed it since. The assumption is that Faulk was asking for full market price and for long-term which would suggest something in the $7-8 million range within which Jacob Trouba just signed. The thought is that this range was more than the Hurricanes cared to pay which at least in part is what started the team down the trade path that it seems to currently be on. The addition of Jake Gardiner put the Hurricanes back at five top 4 defensemen which would make it feasible to trade Faulk now without undermanning the blue line. In addition, with the trade of Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin last summer after early season contract talks, there is precedent for pretty quickly dealing players whose contract demands do...

Notes from Carolina Hurricanes first day of practices – Erik Haula, Martin Necas and Bill Burniston

Hockey is back!!!! As I said on Twitter shortly after joyfully scampering into PNC Arena for Friday’s practices: Nothing better than walking into chilly feeling and hearing the whish..whish..whish…of skates and clackety clack of pucks and sticks. — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) September 13, 2019 Today’s Daily Cup of Joe looked at the possible roster battle and/or depth chart positioning for the forward position. And below are notes from Friday’s two practices.   First impression – Erik Haula One of my watch points for the first practice was newcomer Erik Haula. As a former Western Conference player, my watch points on him were minimal prior to joining the team, so the start of training camp is a chance to start matching up my assessment to my impressions of him prior largely from research. In the drills as lines, he skated with Warren Foegele and Martin Necas. Both of those players skate well and can push pace. Haula looked every bit the part of a player who could match pace which is encouraging given that his 2018-19 season was cut short by a serious leg injury. Two other things that stood out…First, he showed the hands of a finisher in close on multiple occasions. Second, he seemed to be pretty vocal especially for a player new to the group. During the line skating at the end, he spent some time barking at/encouraging one of the players in the group who was struggling a bit. I could not get a helmet number, but thinking is that it might have been fellow Finnish player and youngster Eetu Luostarinen. (If anyone can confirm...

Setting up the roster battle at forward

Only a couple weeks ago one of the party lines about the Carolina Hurricanes was raving about the team’s depth at forward. But since then, the team has lost Justin Williams who was certain to occupy a top 9 slot and seemingly also Saku Maenalanen who at a minimum could have been a competent fourth-liner. If you work through the current forward roster, the team now has only 11 forwards on one-way contracts. Even if you assume a spot for Martin Necas, the team is at 12 forwards. That leaves room for at least more and even more if the team encounters an injury. So though a couple weeks ago it looked like things were decided, there is very much an open competition for the #13 slot and possibly even stealing Necas’ slot if he does not look ready in preseason games. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a look at that competition but first offers a quick catch up on the past articles on the forward ranks. Yesterday, we reopened The Coffee Shop with a set of polls on building out the forward lines around centers Sebastian Aho, Jordan Staal, Erik Haula and Lucas Wallmark. You can vote if you have not or see the results HERE. Last week, I worked through three steps in building out forward lines: Part 1 had player by player thoughts on each Canes forward. Part 2 put the forwards into categories. Part 3 took an early try at building out lines. I mostly stand by my lines from part 3 except that I had Saku Maenalanen on the right side of Staal’s...

Watch points for the early stages of Carolina Hurricanes training camp

Thursday officially starts the 2019-20 NHL season. On Thursday, the Hurricanes players report for physicals in the morning and have a team meeting in the afternoon. On Friday, two groups take to the ice to begin preparation for the 2019-20 season. With the excitement of the return of Canes hockey, we dusted off The Coffee Shop section where there is a set of polls on the forward line combinations. You can find that HERE. The first couple days of training camp are largely a ton of skating and drills to start working back up to game speed and shake off some rust. And at least in his first year, Brind’Amour did not seem to build lines or pairings with an eye for the season in the first few practices. As such, the first few practices more than anything represent a great chance to head out to PNC Arena to feel the chill in the arena and hear the sounds of hockey. But there are still a few things worth watching in the first few practices before the more significant watch points for the first preseason games next Tuesday and Wednesday.   1) Leadership Last season, the Hurricanes entered training camp with Justin Williams at the helm. He looked every part the captain from the beginning of training camp setting the tone, being vocal during practice and engaging teammates. With Williams’ departure, the team is without a captain as of right now, but that is likely to change before the start of the season. Will someone undeniably look the part of the captain in the front part of training camp?...

Coffee Shop polls: Build the Hurricanes forward lines (polls and discussion)

With the start of training camp upon us, we will dust off The Coffee Shop category and given everyone a chance to build out the Hurricanes 2019-20 forward lines. To keep there from being too many variations, the starting point is assuming that Sebastian Aho, Jordan Staal, Erik Haula and Lucas Wallmark start the season at center. If injuries do not disrupt things, I think that is highly likely to hold true. The Hurricanes do have a couple other options at center, but I view Aho, Staal and Wallmark as locks and Haula as the preferred choice for the other slot. So with no further ado, who plays where come opening night? Polls are below, but even better would be to hear everyone’s reasoning in the comments for why they would build the lines as they would.   Who will play on Sebastian Aho's wings? Clark Bishop Ryan Dzingel Warren Foegele Saku Maenalanen (unsigned) Jordan Martinook Brock McGinn Martin Necas Nino Niederreiter Andrei Svechnikov Teuvo Teravainen One of the AHL young guns rising up View Results  Loading ...   Who will play on Jordan Staal's wings? Clark Bishop Ryan Dzingel Warren Foegele Saku Maenalanen (unsigned) Jordan Martinook Brock McGinn Martin Necas Nino Niederreiter Andrei Svechnikov Teuvo Teravainen One of the AHL young guns rising up View Results  Loading ...   Who will play on Erik Haula's wings? Clark Bishop Ryan Dzingel Warren Foegele Saku Maenalanen (unsigned) Jordan Martinook Brock McGinn Martin Necas Nino Niederreiter Andrei Svechnikov Teuvo Teravainen One of the AHL young guns rising up View Results  Loading ...   Who will play on Lucas Wallmark's wings? Clark...

Random Canes notes: Salary cap math

With all quiet on the trade front on Tuesday and only one more day until training camp starts, today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a quick look at the salary cap from a couple different angles.   Small but potentially burdensome error with Jake Gardiner signing The signing of defenseman Jake Gardiner pushed the Hurricanes up into uncharted waters as a team that shows to be currently above the salary cap on CapFriendly. As I noted in a couple places, the current roster of the Hurricanes is set to squeeze under the salary cap ceiling without needing to a trade. If one counts assumes that one of forwards Brian Gibbons and Clark Bishop head to the AHL along with one of Haydn Fleury or Gustav Forsling on defense, the Hurricanes come in right at the $81,500,000 salary cap ceiling. But therein lies the problem and what I think could prove to be an error in signing Gardiner. The Hurricanes are so tight that if it was Fleury and Bishop heading to the AHL, the team would be over the salary cap limit by literally $5,000. Any other combination would squeeze under but only by less than $100,000. So that math could be workable, but because it is so tight, it could create headaches as the season rolls along. At the maximum, if the Hurricanes need to call up a player to replace another without formally putting the first on injured reserve, the call up would need to have a salary less than the player he replaces. That would not be a problem for replacing a higher cost player, but...
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