Chronological Blog List

Carolina Hurricanes re-sign Trevor van Riemsdyk for 2 years at $2.3 million per year — Initial thoughts

In what has been a busy week building the blue line, the Hurricanes on Thursday announced that the team had re-signed Trevor van Riemsdyk to a two-year contract for $2.3 million per year.   Trevor van Riemsdyk in 2017-18 Shortly after the deal was announced, I said on Twitter that van Riemsdyk was the steadiest of the Hurricanes defensemen in 2017-18. (This is not saying that he was the best defenseman…just most consistent in his specific role.) He was pretty consistent from beginning to end and was the anchor for a much-improved third defense pairing with a young defenseman next to him for virtually every shift. His scoring was modest with 3 goals and 13 assists but virtually nothing for power play ice time contributed to those totals. More significantly, van Riemsdyk stood out as a consistently solid defenseman and was the driving force for the third pairing improving by leaps and bounds over the 2016-17 season.   Trevor van Riemsdyk as a mentor On Twitter after the signing was announced, I said: 4/5 Most impressive was uncanny ability to adapt to what his young partner needed,similar to John-Michael Liles with Pesce. He did heavy lifting with Fleury and initially with Hanifin but then had good knack for when to defer and push puck to Hanifin when he was confident/going. — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) July 6, 2018 Trevor van Riemsdyk started the season next to rookie Haydn Fleury. Fleury acclimated quickly to the NHL without any dramatic growing pains. Van Riemsdyk played a significant role in Fleury’s positive start in the NHL. Especially early on, van Riemsdyk did...

Hurricanes sign defenseman Calvin de Haan — Second round of thoughts

In case you were away for the Fourth of July holiday and are catching up, I wrote about the Hurricanes signing defenseman Calvin de Haan in some detail HERE. Having yammered about signing de Haan for most of the week before the deal happened, I am obviously in favor of it. At the most basic level, the Hurricanes needed to improve its top 4 defensively. The addition of Dougie Hamilton was a step in that direction, but the team still needed a capable and steady left shot defenseman to round out and balance the top 4. De Haan should do exactly that. The simplest justification for this deal is the most powerful one, but there are also a couple other significant angles which are the subject of today’s Daily Cup of Joe.   The price In rough terms, I think Calvin de Haan is a bit similar to Brett Pesce as a legitimate top 4 defenseman, leans defense and is a little bit light compared to ideal in terms of generating offense. De Haan’s career high is a modest 25 points, and his point totals over all five of his full seasons similarly project to 15-25 points over an 82-game season. So Pesce signed what I think is a fair deal at $4 million per year as a restricted free agent. Rough math suggests that the average for a top 4 on defense is about $20 million, but for many teams that includes at least one player who is a stretch as a top 4. When one considers that de Haan was an unrestricted free agent, I think a...

The next domino is…?

Happy Fourth of July to fellow Caniacs in the United States!   If you are checking in to find analysis of Friday’s Calvin de Haan sighting, you can find that interrelated article HERE.   Sometimes when something just makes too much sense (in my opinion anyway), I latch onto it and chirp at it incessantly. (Sorry about the Max Pacioretty thing last winter.) But every so often the annoyance eventually yields fruit. After beating the ‘why the Canes should sign Calvin de Haan’ thing into the ground for multiple days, the deal actually occurred. Under cover of the night heading into a national holiday, the Carolina Hurricanes announced that they had signed Calvin de Haan to a four-year contract for $4.55 million per year. I discussed the Calvin de Haan signing in some detail HERE and also retraced the trail of targeting him as an addition. As I noted in that article, I expected the order to be reversed with Justin Faulk being traded first and then Calvin De Haan being signed either simultaneously or shortly thereafter. Though the order is a bit different, I still fully expect the end game to be the same.   The current Carolina Hurricanes blue line Top 4-capable (or at least hopeful) right shot defensemen (3): Brett Pesce, Dougie Hamilton, Justin Faulk. Top 4-capable (or at least hopeful) left shot defensemen (2): Jaccob Slavin, Calvin, de Haan. Third pairing defensemen (2): Trevor van Riemsdyk (needs to be signed), Haydn Fleury.   When one nets it out, the Hurricanes now have on extra top 4 defensemen on the right side of the blue line....

Carolina Hurricanes sign defenseman Calvin de Haan

As has started to become commonplace, just when things seem really quiet and the news week or at least day is over, the Carolina Hurricanes drop something. Ron Francis was let go when the majority of the local media was off at the ACC basketball tourney in New York. The trade for Dougie Hamilton and Micheal Ferland was announced just when it seemed like everyone was packing up their tents from the draft. And today, after hours on the Fourth of July eve, the Carolina Hurricanes announced that the team had signed defenseman Calvin de Haan to a four-year deal for $4.05 million per year. I have been chirping about de Haan as a logical target and priority since before the start of free agency, so much of what I have to say about the deal will be a repeat of what I have written in the last week.   Why Calvin de Haan? How we arrived here The history of recent struggles building out a solid top 4 Last summer when many were enthralled with the high end ‘potential’ of the Hurricanes young blue line, I suggested that the team could use a bit more proven help short-term in the form of a player who could help solidify the second defense pairing. In 2016-17, the roar of how good the young Hurricanes blue line was going to be someday mostly drowned out the reality of a team that struggled to find top 4 balance on the road. At home, the Hurricanes played strength on strength with an emerging first pairing of Slavin/Pesce, but especially on the road, the...

Is the the other shoe about to drop? If so, what does that entail?

During draft weekend, there was plenty of rumors and rumblings about Carolina Hurricanes players who were allegedly on the trading block. Ironically, the two players most regularly mentioned, Jeff Skinner and Justin Faulk, were not involved when the team made a blockbuster trading Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm for Dougie Hamilton, Micheal Ferland and defense prospect Adam Fox. In just over a week since the 2018 NHL Draft weekend, Skinner and Faulk’s names have continued to make the rounds in trade circles. But the big news this weekend was the start of free agency, the John Tavares sweepstakes and teams also chasing a few other higher-end players available. But as of Monday, John Tavares has landed and the free agent pool is largely depleted. Could it be time for teams who still need help to reengage on the possibility of adding Skinner for scoring or Faulk to fill out a top 4 on defense? The team has been doing some posturing suggesting that it would be happy to enter the 2018-19 season with both players still on the roster. While that is by no means impossible, I will be surprised if neither of Faulk or Skinner is dealt before training camp. Despite shipping out a large volume of depth players, thus far the team has cut exactly no one from its official leadership team nor has it really parted ways with a true top half of the roster player (only Lindholm is debatable). As such, I think the team has at least one more big deal in its future before the start of training camp to truly change leadership...

Considering Sunday’s free agent deals from a Carolina Hurricanes perspective

If you were away from Canes hockey for the weekend, you missed an exciting Saturday/Sunday back-to-back with the prospects camp scrimmage on Saturday and the start of free agency with the Hurricanes adding a goalie on Sunday. My recap/notes from the prospect camp scrimmage are HERE. And my detailed analysis of the Hurricanes move to sign goalie Petr Mrazek are HERE. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe strolls through the free agent deals from Sunday from a Carolina Hurricanes’ angle.   Checking the competition The Maple Leafs became significantly better by winning the John Tavares sweepstakes. My perfect storm for extending the Leafs LONG Cup-less run was hoping that Tavares received in the neighborhood of $13 million, had a good but not great first season such that Matthews bettered him and also earned $13 million next summer, and the Leafs found themselves with some Blackhawks type problems with too much money tied up in a couple top players. Tavares $11 million while obviously significant was not as big as I had hoped for my devious plot. The Islanders were the big losers with Tavares’ departure and also the fact that they have yet to add a goalie. The Flyers did well in adding James van Riemsdyk. Other than the Flyers adding van Riemsdyk, it was a generally quiet day for the Metropolitan Division which was good news.   Deals I would steal The vast majority of the deals on the front end of free agency are more likely to lead to regret than success. As such being quiet at the front end of the free agent process is not necessarily...

Carolina Hurricanes sign goalie Petr Mrazek

(Those who visited Canes and Coffee last spring when the team was imploding will get the ice cream in the picture. Could Darling/Mrazek boost local ice cream sales?) The opening day of the free agent signing period for the NHL, the Hurricanes addressed the team’s need to add a goalie. Shortly after it was officially announced that Cam Ward had signed with the Chicago Blackhawks, the Hurricanes announced the signing of Petr Mrazek to fill the slot previously occupied by Ward.   The deal Petr Mrazek was signed for a bargain basement $1.5 million and with an ultra low risk one-year deal. The upside is that the deal eats up pretty much minimal budget and cannot be a negative past the end of the 2018-19 season. So the deal rates incredibly high for avoiding long-term financial risks.   Petr Mrazek’s history As for the player that the Hurricanes obtained for their $1.5 million investment, in simplest terms I would consider Mrazek to be a high risk, high reward option and even a bit of a rebound bet. After a step-wise path and some seasoning at the AHL level with a few NHL games, Mrazek burst onto the NHL scene in during the 2014-15 season with a 16-9-2 record and a .918 save percentage and 2.38 goals against average. Mrazek continued his ascension in 2015-16 by seizing the Red Wings’ starting job and posting a 27-16-6 record in 54 starts with a solid .921 save percentage and 2.38 goals against average. His 2015-16 season vaulted him over Jimmy Howard, put him on the list of promising young starters at on...

2018 NHL free agent frenzy preview from a Carolina Hurricanes’ angle

Sunday kicks off open season for teams looking to use heavy ammo in the form of bunches of dollars to attract free agents. For the longest time, the Hurricanes have been small players in these yearly festivities mostly quietly adding depth players while the fireworks were going off across the league. The team did add Justin Williams on the opening day of 2017’s free agency, but even medium size additions have been few and far between otherwise. With new management in place that already made a blockbuster type trade during draft weekend, might this year be different? At a minimum, the Hurricanes are definitely in the market for a goalie and per comments by Don Waddell at the prospect camp Summerfest, that addition could be made within 24 hours. As you settle in for what can be an interesting day on Sunday, here are a few articles from earlier this week that set the stage for today’s deal-making article. Part 1 shopped the goalie options that will likely come into play. Part 2 assessed and slotted the team’s forwards. And coming out of the Dougie Hamilton/Micheal Ferland trade, I talked about the likely next steps on defense.   So by position, here is a quick guide to Sunday’s NHL fun…   At goalie This is one area where the team is certain to make a deal at some point. Cam Ward seems destined for the Chicago Blackhawks which leaves one opening for a goalie with the Hurricanes. The article above handicapped the primary options. My 2 cents says this: 1) I want a goalie on a one or two-year...

Recap/notes from Canes Prospect Camp scrimmage at Summerfest

As has become tradition, Saturday’s Carolina Hurricanes Summerfest featured first-round draft pick Andrei Svechnikov signing his entry-level contract in front of the fans. The team announced unofficial attendance of 4,500, and as expected the day and week offered a fun dose of hockey to help trudge through another long offseason.   Unofficial scoring Note: There is no official scoring, so this is the best I can do from my notes mostly without secondary assists. If someone has corrections or has seen where something more official has been posted, please let me know just link to it in the comments. Goal 1 Red: Luke Stevens made a pretty pass right through the slot to find Morgan Geekie who made no mistake burying it (Helvig in goal). Goal 1 White: Camp invitee Mitch Eliot finds himself in alone and goes around the back, through the legs and close to off the underside of the bar with a circus shot for the highlight reels. Goal 2 Red: Adam Fox dances in the offensive zone before finding Morgan Geekie on the opposite side for another pretty pass and finish (Helvig in goal). Goal 3 Red: Adam Fox is at it again. First he feeds Luke Martin for a slap shot is on net. Then Fox goes to the net, retrieves the rebound and quickly feeds it across to Luke Stevens who finishes. Goal 4 Red: Just to show it was not luck, Fox saves his best for last. On a sort of 3-on-2 rush, he finds himself with the puck again on the left side (where all 3 passes came from). He waited...

‘What I’m watching’ for Carolina Hurricanes Prospect Camp scrimmage

Posted late on Friday, here are my notes from Thursday’s and Friday’s practices in case you missed them. And if you have been away from Canes hockey for the week and are just catching up, here are the other articles so far on the 2018 Carolina Hurricanes Prospect Camp: My ‘what I’m watching’ preview for the week is HERE. And my notes from Wednesday’s practice are HERE. Saturday’s scrimmage presents the best opportunity to evaluate all of the prospects especially the 2018 draftees in a solid run game-like action. I say “game-like” because while the compete level will be high, checking is toned down a bit. In addition, the format is usually 4-on-4 and even some 3-on-3 which makes the game a bit more wide open than NHL hockey. But nonetheless the scrimmage and the events around it represents hockey fun in the middle of a long hockey-less summer and a chance to see the future of the team. Without further ado, here is ‘what I’m watching’ for Saturday’s scrimmage:   1) Andrei Svechnikov in action He has shown skill and finishing in the drills during the week, but I am really looking forward to seeing what he can do in game-like action with some open ice. Saturday represents an opportunity to put an exclamation point on the and to launch into trying to win an NHL roster spot for the 2018-19 season.   2) Martin Necas Somewhat like Svechnikov, Saturday represents a chance to show that he is in a different league than the younger prospect group. I am also curious to see and hopefully get a read...

Notes from Thursday’s and Friday’s practices for Hurricanes Prospect Camp

If you have been away from Canes hockey for the week, here are the articles so far on the 2018 Carolina Hurricanes Prospect Camp: My ‘what I’m watching’ preview for the week is HERE. And my notes from Wednesday’s practice are HERE. Once the week wraps up, I will put together a bit more of an organized report with an assessment of most if not all of the players. Until then, here is a collection of notes spanning the Thursday morning split practices (only caught half of the first one), Thursday evening and Friday morning.   Martin Necas in a league of his own skating-wise Necas continues to have a strong camp. He especially shined a pair of battle type drills in small spaces on Friday. One goal featured 2-on-2 battles from the end wall up to the face-off circles. The other saw mostly 2-on-2 battles on a short rink inside the neutral zone. Necas’ ability to use his skating to make space, separate and gain an advantage in such a small area was stunning. I have taken to calling him “swoops” with my kids in reference to his ability to turn sharply and seemingly start to accelerate while still turning. The result is ability to change direction, cover a bunch of ice in a hurry and create space away from a defender. On another topic, Necas and Michael Fora were the last two off the ice after Friday’s practice with Jack Drury also part of their group and leaving a couple minutes earlier. While some of the players mostly mull around in that post-practice time, Necas was hard...

The same team but not the same people — Rod Brind’Amour and Justin Williams

If you are stopping by looking for prospect camp practice notes, I hope to post another set around lunchtime. I attended half of the first morning session, all of the second morning session and all of the night session but did not find time to make sense of and post my notes at the end of a long day. In addition, if you missed it yesterday afternoon, Canes and Coffee was fortunate to get deep insight on Dougie Hamilton, Micheal Ferland and Adam Fox from a pair of knowledgeable Calgary sources. The week makes for an interesting one to highlight the importance of a people-skilled coach and a captain who gets it. On Sunday, the Hurricanes obtained Dougie Hamilton who seemingly was a bit of an outsider at times on the Flames and also Micheal Ferland who played at an incredibly high level (nearly 40-goal pace) for a chunk of the 2017-18 season before quieting in a significant way later.  The week also features a bunch of discussion about the prospect of Martin Necas and Andrei Svechnikov making the NHL team as rookies. And finally, Scott Darling was the guest speaker for lunch at prospect camp on Thursday. Just the names the flew by this week highlight the diversity of situations to be addressed people-wise on an NHL team. Dougie Hamilton, at least per reports, might keep to himself a bit more than others on the team. With a variety of different personalities on the team, can the captain work to keep a player engaged with the team at the right level (which is not necessarily equal to every...

Insight from Calgary on Dougie Hamilton, Micheal Ferland and Adam Fox

As is the case with any big trade, the immediate question is what the team is getting in the players that were obtained. I offered my thoughts on the deal already in two parts. Part 1: Evaluating the deal Part 2: The side effects But oftentimes, the more interesting perspective is that of writers, scouts and others who track the players on the same 82-game basis that I track the Hurricanes. Canes and Coffee is incredibly fortunate to have two very good contacts who track the Calgary Flames on an every-game basis and were generous enough to share their insight on Dougie Hamilton, Micheal Ferland and Adam Fox.   About the interviewees Todd Cordell Todd Cordell (@ToddCordell) is active on many fronts as an NHL scout, analyst and writer. He covers the Calgary Flames and New Jersey Devils for Hockeybuzz. He also writes for My NHL Trade Rumors and scouts the OHL for HockeyProspect.   Darren Haynes Darren Haynes (@DarrenWHaynes) has covered the Calgary Flames for The Canadian Press since 1990 and is a fixture at all home games. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. In addition to his game stories and other features that can be found on the CP news wire (will also appear on the AP news wire in the United States), he also maintains a blog in which he posts stories that are more Calgary-centric and not newsworthy enough to be of national interest. His blog is called Flames From 80 Feet, which is named after his press box view, which is 80 feet above the ice surface at the Saddledome....

Carolina Hurricanes free agency preview part 2: Assessing and slotting the forwards

Yesterday’s Daily Cup of Joe looked at the goalie options available via free agency and otherwise. Math-wise, the goalie position is fairly straightforward. The Hurricanes so far seem committed to giving Scott Darling at least another year to right the ship. And the team has one slot available to add the best possible plan B (or possibly even plan A). Today’s Daily Cup of Joe ventures into a murkier situation in assessing the current state and needs at the forward position. The murkiness comes from uncertainty with regard to how many younger prospects will prove to be NHL-ready for the 2018-19 season. Below is a quick look at the Hurricanes current situation at the forward position. Disclaimer: I am not getting overly bogged down with who plays with whom and which line players slot on at this early juncture. The focus is more on simple quantity of players by position. My starting point assumes that none of Lee Stempniak, Derek Ryan or Joakim Nordstrom who are all unrestricted free agents are re-signed.   Center NHL probables: Sebastian Aho, Jordan Staal, Victor Rask, ONE SPOT OPEN Youth possibilities: Martin Necas, Lucas Wallmark The team has youthful promise but is thin at the center position. My first iteration of filling four center slots sees Sebastian Aho transitioning more permanently, Victor Rask aiming to rebound and rookies Martin Necas and Lucas Wallmark battling for the final slot. One has to wonder if the Hurricanes will add one more proven NHL center along the way.   Left wing NHL probables: Jeff Skinner, Brock McGinn, Jordan Martinook, ONE SPOT OPEN Youth possibilities: Warren Foegele The...

Notes from Wednesday practice for Canes Prospect Camp

Practices for the Carolina Hurricanes prospect camp kicked off on Wednesday night with a reasonably fast-paced 45-minute practice followed by about 45 minutes of intense power skating training that left the group mostly hands on knees by the end. In case you missed it, I posted a ‘what I’m watching’ style preview for the Carolina Hurricanes Prospect Camp earlier on Wednesday. Below are my informal player notes from Wednesday’s practice:   Andrei Svechnikov He performed well as the headliner for the event. He did not net a goal in the scrimmage and did not so much stand out scoring-wise in the runs of drills, but he did look to be a level above most of the group and offered flashes of brilliance. In the scrimmage, he had a two plays where he handled the puck in traffic in the slot area and had the vision to find regular line mate Martin Necas for decent scoring chances. His highlight of the night came when he picked up a puck in the neutral zone at the end of a shift with his team changing and had a burst to quickly step between two defenders in a 1-on-2, forge toward the net and get off a good shot. I would not say that he was spectacular on Wednesday, but he showed why he very well could be on any other day this week.   And his partner Martin Necas Necas and Svechnikov were paired together quite a bit in drills and also in the scrimmage and per reports from the team are rooming together this week. As I said on Twitter, I...
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