Chronological Blog List

What ultimately drives better goaltending for the Carolina Hurricanes?

It is no secret that goaltending has been an issue for the Hurricanes for many years now. The team has tried the same and hoped for better with a long run for Cam Ward and also a the 2016-17 season when the team decided to bring back both Cam Ward and Eddie Lack despite goaltending issues in the previous season. No doubt, sub-par defense has also played a role and possibly coaching. Once you throw all of the potential factors into the mix, it is difficult to determine what exactly it takes for the Hurricanes to finally have a season with at least league average goaltending. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe considers the significance of multiple factors in terms of righting the ship in the net.   1) Obtaining better goalies The starting point for the goalie position is how good the netminders on the roster are. Obviously, having a stalwart netminder like Henrik Lundqvist goes a long way toward receiving at least decent goalie play. But recent history with even good goalies like Carey Price, Pekkar Rinne and others having extended down stretches seem to suggest that it is not as simple as having a good goalie. They are just a fickle breed such that even good ones seem to have their ups and downs. And at the same time, each year teams without big name netminders do just fine suggesting that it is possible to get by at least in some years with lesser talents in net. Nevertheless, I would argue that on average the Hurricanes have started from a modest deficit in terms of simply having...

Assessing the Carolina Hurricanes goalie prospects

In case you missed it, yesterday’s Daily Cup of Joe offered my assessment and rankings of the Carolina Hurricanes blue line prospects. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe continues down that path and offers a quick assessment and ranking of the Carolina Hurricanes’ goalie prospects.   Graduated with honors from the junior level/still working to make the grade at the AHL level (3) Alex Nedeljkovic, Callum Booth and Jeremy Helvig From the draft classes back a few years, the Hurricanes have three goalies who wrapped up Canadian Hockey League careers on high notes and made the jump to the AHL level with high marks at the previous level. Alex Nedeljkovic was the first to make the jump for the 2016-17 season. After a stellar juniors career and similarly strong play in international play, some luster came off of Nedeljkovic’s star after a rough transition to the AHL level in 2016-17. But he rebounded with a better season behind a strong team in 2017-18 and regained some optimism in the process. Callum Booth followed a year behind Nedeljkovic in 2017-18. He played primarily in the ECHL, so he has yet to truly be tested at the AHL level. Finally, Jeremy Helvig will join the group in the professional ranks after finishing up a strong career in the OHL. All three of these goalies have NHL potential and did about all one could hope before jumping to the AHL. All three are in different stages of mastering the AHL level and making a case for being an NHL goalie. Though none are a sure thing, having three goalies with NHL potential in...

Assessing the Carolina Hurricanes defensemen prospects

After some time to digest the latest chance to evaluate the younger part of the Carolina Hurricanes’ prospect pool at prospect camp in late June, today’s Daily Cup of Joe attempts to make sense of the blue line portion of the group. With Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce and Haydn Fleury already up at the NHL level and Noah Hanifin already departed from the group, I like to think of the prospect pool across two categories — nearness to being ready and potential ceiling. The first aims to measure ability to help soon, and the second measures the potential to find an impact player or two. I have started to group the Hurricanes’ blue line prospects into three fairly broad categories:   Near-term NHL depth (2) Roland McKeown and Trevor Carrick For players who have proven themselves at the AHL level and seem ready or near-ready to step into the NHL at least in a depth role and be serviceable or better, I count two players – Roland McKeown and Trevor Carrick. McKeown always seems to find a higher gear in NHL action be in preseason to prove a point or in the regular season when given a chance. He burst onto the professional scene by more or less winning the last defenseman roster spot at the NHL level before the 2016-17 season. Ron Francis thought better of it and added depth defensemen off the waiver wire, so McKeown could log a ton of ice time in Charlotte and continue his development. I do not see his ceiling as being as high as some of the other players, but I...

Potential deficiencies from the Carolina Hurricanes’ changes thus far

Putting the obvious disclaimer up front, it is obviously too early to make any kind of final assessment of the Hurricanes roster. But for those of us who are Hurricanes hockey die-hards, we have to bandy something around in mid-July, so working with what we have is the only option. The leadership is still untouched, but the Hurricanes roster has undergone a reasonably significant transition below that level. The team has added five new NHL players in addition to the potential for 3-4 rookies to also play their way onto the opening night roster. Fun right now is to focus on the potential improvements (which are legitimate), but with all the moving parts, the potential exists to create deficiencies too. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe details a few potential deficiencies generated by the player movement thus far.   1) The penalty kill The Hurricanes struggled to a 24th place finish on the penalty kill in 2017-18, so at first glance significant changeover here could be a good thing. But there can be benefit in continuity and familiarity too. Whereas the team arguably needed to add penalty killing talent, it has mostly shed this at the forward position. Gone is the entirety of the fourth line that was expected to do the heavy lifting in this regard in 2017-18. All of Joakim Nordstrom, Marcus Kruger and Josh Jooris are elsewhere now. Elias Lindholm is also out of the mix. Jordan Staal and Brock McGinn return, but past that training camp should include some auditions. On defense, mainstays Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce, but with Slavin’s propensity to be on the...

Carolina Hurricanes stories to watch during the dog days of summer

Depending on where you want to allocate the odd day in July, we are officially entering the second half of July and the dog days of hockey summer. The second half of July and the first half of August are easily the slowest days on the hockey calendar. Prospect camp is in the rear view mirror and even start of informal skates is still a ways into the future, and many a day goes by without any substantial news. But for the Hurricanes, there are likely to be some big news days interspersed around the mostly nothing days. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe attempts to detail all of the stories to watch during the rest of the summer.   1) Jeff Skinner as a trade possibility Last week included more rumblings about a potential Jeff Skinner trade when he and Max Pacioretty were rumored to be of interest to the Blackhawks. For as many changes as the Hurricanes have made already, I still think a true shake up and restart culture-wise must include the departure of at least one of the team’s leaders. Otherwise, the result of the offseason is scapegoats across the bottom of the lineup with the leadership still intact. It is hard to say who is more likely to be traded, but with one year remaining on his contract, I continue to say that the team either needs to re-sign Skinner or trade him. That combined with the regular rumors around him since before the draft even, I think a Skinner trade is definitely possible.   2) Justin Faulk as a trade possibility Just like Skinner,...

Canes catch up: Contracts for Valentin Zykov, Lucas Wallmark, Greg McKegg and Daniel Renouf

With the run of transactions last week, I never commented on Valentin Zykov’s contract. In the time that has passed since, the Hurricanes have also re-signed Lucas Wallmark and Greg McKegg. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe catches up on these contracts and discusses the team’s NHL contract status in general.   Valentin Zykov Despite having only 12 games of NHL experience, Zykov parlayed a strong AHL season with 33 goals in 64 games and a strong 10-game audition at the NHL level into a two-year, one-way contract that pays $650,000 in 2018-19 and $700,000 in 2019-20. With limited NHL experience, the Hurricanes could maybe have pushed for a safer two-way contract with a higher AHL salary. Instead, the Hurricanes offered a one-way contract to get two years at pretty close to the league minimum. The deal also sees Zykov signing his next contract as a restricted free agent and significantly without arbitration rights. The one-way deal increases the chance that Zykov will stay at the NHL and also provides a strong indication that that is what management expects. My 2 cents: While there is some risk signing an unproven players to a two-year, one-way contract, there is also some risk mitigation in the other direction for the Hurricanes by locking Zykov into a bargain basement salary.   Lucas Wallmark Coming off of a strong season in the AHL in 2017-18, Lucas Wallmark signed a two-year deal that is a two-way contract in the first year and a one-way contract in the second year. Like Zykov, Wallmark has minimal NHL experience, but also like Zykov, Wallmark had a strong 2017-18...

Five initiatives for early in the Hurricanes early in the 2018-19 season

In case you missed it, the first set of articles in a summer series that looks at the newest Hurricanes prospects went up quietly yesterday afternoon. Finnish forward Lenni Killinen who was drafted in the fourth round of the 2018 NHL Draft was up first. You can find an article with short interviews from two scouts based in Finland HERE, and you can find a short reading list of external articles on Killinen HERE.   In writing the two most recent Daily Cup of Joe articles that looked at roster battles for training camp, I could not help but look forward to the start of the regular season just a bit. Over the course of a long NHL season, the roster, line combinations, defense pairings and many other things will shift multiple times. So getting too bogged down in opening day combinations can sometimes be overdone. But in thinking about the front part of the year, there are a few things that I would like to at least take a look at.   1) Valentin Zykov with Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen Micheal Ferland, who was obtained in the trade with Calgary, possesses a skill set that could fit well with Aho and Teravainen. Like Zykov, he brings a crease-crashing style of play and an ability to score in close. But where Ferland could be superior is as a forechecking disruptor who turns the puck over and creates quick transition opportunities. So it would not surprise if Ferland eventually lands on that line. But I really think the team needs to give Valentin Zykov a reasonable run of games...

Summer School – Class of 2018: Lenni Killinen (Finland – Assat, Liiga)

With a new round of prospects on the team, timing is perfect to thank Jamie Kellner for providing the vast majority of the photo content used at Canes and Coffee. You can find Jamie on Twitter at @jbkellner and can visit her photo site HERE.   This article starts into what will be an intermittent series that will ultimately provide ‘from the rink’ insight on all of the newest Carolina Hurricanes prospects. In addition to this article, please also check the companion ‘Reading List’ article for Lenni Killinen that includes links to external articles about Lenni Killinen.   Lenni Killinen Killinen was selected by the Carolina Hurricanes in the fourth round of the 2018 NHL Draft. Killinen continues the Hurricanes run of selecting a Finnish forward in the draft in each year dating back to an auspicious start with Sebastian Aho’s selection in the second round of the 2015 NHL Draft. As a good skater with a projectable NHL frame and enough skill, Killinen is maybe a bit raw at this early stage of his development, but he has a high ceiling for a mid-round draft pick.   Interviewees Marco Bombino (Twitter=@marco_bombino) is a Finnish prospect analyst for McKeen’s Hockey and FinnProspects. He also has his own website finnishjuniorhockey.com that provides information on Finnish prospects playing in juniors and at the pro level. He has previously worked for Future Considerations, Over The Boards and Dobber Prospects. Jokke Nevalainen (Twitter=@JokkeNevalainen) is a Junior Associate Editor at DobberProspects.com. There he focuses mostly on European prospects, especially the ones playing in Finland and Sweden.   Interviews on Lenni Killinen Canes and Coffee:...

Summer Reading List – Lenni Killinen (4th round of 2018 NHL Draft)

Below is a reading list for Carolina Hurricanes prospect Lenni Killinen who was drafted in the fourth round of the 2018 NHL Draft. See also Canes and Coffee’s ‘Summer School’ article on Killinen which features ‘from the rink’ insight/interviews from two Finland-based scouts who see Killinen regularly.   Lenni Killinen Killinen was selected by the Carolina Hurricanes in the fourth round of the 2018 NHL Draft. Killinen continues the Hurricanes run of selecting a Finnish forward in the draft in each year dating back to an auspicious start with Sebastian Aho’s selection in the second round of the 2015 NHL Draft. As a good skater with a projectable NHL frame and enough skill, Killinen is maybe a bit raw at this early stage of his development, but he has a high ceiling for a mid-round draft pick.   Lenni Killinen reading list FinnProspects offers this profile with some scouting details on Killinen’s 2017-18 season in Finland. Finnish Junior Hockey included Killinen in its top 15 Finnish players last summer. Andrew Schnittker from Canes Country profiled Killinen in this article that also includes a quote from Hurricanes Scouting Director Tony MacDonald.   Go...

Dark horses for the Carolina Hurricanes 2018-19 training camp

Yesterday’s Daily Cup of Joe highlighted some potential roster battles for training camp in a look at players “on the spot.” The goalie position had Scott Darling and Petr Mrazek on the spot but only because both will be battling for the starting role. And no other goalie entered the picture in yesterday’s article. The blue line was similarly pretty tidy counting six NHLers plus Justin Faulk who makes seven if he is not traded. And though the article did acknowledge that there was room for a #7 if Faulk departs, the position is also pretty tidy. But the forward position is a different story altogether. In that section, I highlighted 10 players battling for roster spots, higher line role and ice time in addition to 6 sure things. That makes for a sizable group of 16 players battling for 13 slots. In writing this article, I included a number of players, especially at the forward position, who seem mostly likely to compete for an win 2018-19 NHL ice time. One thing that is encouraging is the number of players who were not included who might be longer shots but are not entirely out of the question. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe looks at a few dark horses who were not included in yesterday’s article who could surprise.   Goalie Alex Nedeljkovic Nedeljkovic’s development path is an interesting one. He checked pretty much every box while playing at the junior level including steady play over the long haul and also big game success in both the playoffs and international play. Then he arrived at the AHL level for the...

Players on the spot for the Carolina Hurricanes 2018-19 training camp

With both new roster additions via trades and a number of young guns from Charlotte ready to compete for NHL roles, the upcoming preseason figures to be an interesting one in terms of roster battles, especially at the forward position. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes an early look at Carolina Hurricanes players who will be on the spot come September.   Goalies I do not see either goalie being just handed the starting role. In an ideal world, Scott Darling will rise up and become the goalie that the team thought it obtained last summer. But after his struggles last season, he will not be guaranteed the starter’s crease but rather will have to earn it. By the same token, Petr Mrazek does not enter with any guarantees either. The situation is likely to be fluid early in the season, but whichever, if either, goalie impresses in preseason is likely to get the first and greatest chance to be the #1 when the regular season starts.   Defense The blue line is actually one area where the NHL roster is mostly set. If Justin Faulk is still with the team (which I see as highly doubtful), then the situation changes, but in a Faulk-less scenario, the top 6 is set. The potential does exist for a battle for the #7 slot but if the team is healthy to start the season that slot is likely to be spent on an older player (i.e. Trevor Carrick) versus a younger prospect who will benefit significantly for NHL ice time.   Forwards So whereas things are mostly set at least in...

Canes catch up notes: Faulk for Saad, Pesce vs. Faulk and Sebastian Aho’s next contract

Especially for July past the beginning of free agency, today is a busy one at Canes and Coffee. Check out today’s dueling prospect camp recaps including part 1 of my player by player final notes and also a guest article by Brandon Stanley. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe addresses a couple Canes catch up notes related to a matter at hand with Justin Faulk and also another potentially big Hurricanes event this summer that so far has been in the background.   Justin Faulk for Brandon Saad Elliotte Friedman from TSN reported that the Blackhawks were interested in Justin Faulk but that the Blackhawks balked at the asking price of Brandon Saad. My guess is that where things sit right now is that the Blackhawks would be happy to offer Artem Anisimov plus something else for Justin Faulk, and that the Hurricanes would be willing to offer Justin Faulk plus possibly something else for Brandon Saad. But as a depth center with a modest scoring ceiling, I do not think the Hurricanes have much use for Anisimov. If the Hurricanes are going to add a center this summer, the player must be a higher-end offensive player. If that is not possible, then the path forward is probably patience while Martin Necas develops. From a Chicago side, the Blackhawks need to somehow improve on defense without giving up too much depth scoring to do so. Yes, the Blackhawks could use Faulk. But on a team that is suddenly light on independent depth scoring losing Saad even after a down 217-18 season would be costly. Therein lies what I suspect is...

Guest Article by Brandon Stanley — Canes Prospect Development Camp Notes: The SvechNecas Show

In 2017 when I was away for part of the week for prospect camp, a couple other writers were generous enough to step in and cover some of the practices. To add another viewpoint to the 2018 coverage, Brandon Stanley generously agreed to share his viewpoint on the camp. On a day for double prospect camp viewpoints, you can also find part 1 of Matt’s final recap HERE.   Brandon Stanley Brandon Stanley is a communication media student at NC State. He grew up playing hockey locally in the Jr. Canes organization and other local Raleigh Youth Hockey Association teams from the age of 9 until 18. There is very little that he is more passionate about than the game of hockey. He admittedly spends an unhealthy amount of time looking at stats, prospects, power rankings, and whatever else he can find, so Prospects’ Camp was a nice little taste to hopefully help hold him over until October.   Brandon’s thoughts on the 2018 Carolina Hurricanes Prospect Camp I’ll admit: I was excited about last year’s camp. There were studs preparing to begin their professional careers that I was high on like Nicolas Roy, Julien Gauthier, Janne Kuokkanen, and Warren Foegele. There were intriguing, newly drafted youngsters like Morgan Geekie, Stelio Mattheos, Luke Martin, and a thin, but lightning quick kid named Marty Necas. And there was hope in the building that the group of young men on display would help pull our beloved Carolina Hurricanes out of the doldrums of the Metropolitan Division and back into hockey relevancy. But that excitement and buzz was nothing compared to what...

Individual player notes from Carolina Hurricanes prospect camp: Part 1-Jake Bean to Lenni Killinen

I wrote two-thirds of my closing player notes from the Carolina Hurricanes prospect camp shortly after it ended and then spent the rest of the next week being interrupted by Canes news (Mrazek=> de Haan=> van Riemsdyk) and also family time around the holidays. So a bit belated, here is part 1 of 2 of individual notes for all 22 of the Carolina Hurricanes prospects who attended prospect camp. Also check out also another viewpoint from Brandon Stanley HERE.   Jake Bean I am on record as being less high on Jake Bean’s schedule/nearness for NHL-readiness than most who track or write about the Carolina Hurricanes. I would not say that I am biased. I evaluate players based on what they do, not what I expect them to do. But I am admittedly difficult for Bean to impress simply because I am so focused on the defensive part of his game that is not his natural strength. Especially in the scrimmage and playing alongside fellow offensive defenseman Adam Fox, Bean was as advertised knowing where and when to step into the play offensively. He did not look bad defensively in the scrimmage or otherwise, but the thing that still jumps out at me about his game is his propensity to just keep backing up when under pressure. That is a recipe for trouble against NHL forwards who use the space to generate offense. In closing, all of the upside of Bean’s offensive game is still intact. Playing with the puck on his stick with room to assess as he goes, joining the rush as a third or fourth option...

Sorting out the Carolina Hurricanes 2018-19 blue line

This week has been a busy one in terms of building out the Carolina Hurricanes 2018-19 blue line. On Tuesday, the team announced that it had signed free agent defenseman Calvin de Haan to a four-year contract for $4.55 million per year. I initially evaluated that signing HERE, and then followed up with a second round of thoughts the next day HERE. Then book-ending the Fourth of July with defenseman deals, the Hurricanes announced that the team had re-signed restricted free agent Trevor van Riemsdyk to a two-year deal worth $2.3 million per year. My analysis on that signing is HERE. Finally, prior to this week, the Hurricanes added Dougie Hamilton (along with Micheal Ferland) in a draft weekend blockbuster for Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin. I offered initial thoughts on that deal HERE, and followed up with another round of analysis in this article on the multiple side effects from that deal. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe looks at the 2018-19 blue line looks at the 2018-19 blue line from multiple angles.   Justin Faulk As part of my analysis of the Dougie Hamilton addition and before Calvin de Haan even entered the mix, I said that I thought Justin Faulk was highly likely to be dealt to clear the logjam on the right side of the defense and possibly add a forward who might replace Jeff Skinner as the dominoes fall one by one. Once de Haan was signed, the probability of a Faulk trade increased. While there are always complexities to trading players with nearly $5 million of cap hit and with significant value, I will...
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