The Canes take to the ice against Washington tonight in the 1st preseason game.
Here are a few quick bits on what I will be watching:
1) Haydn Fleury will get a start. On the left side that puts him directly in the line of fire for 1 Mr. Alexander Ovechkin and more generally a chance to measure himself against a lineup that will have a good number of NHL forwards in it. Can he continue his strong play mostly against similar age kids against a higher level of competition?
2) Zach Boychuk also gets more precious ice time. He was not bad in Sunday’s scrimmage, and he displayed a willingness to do whatever it takes, engaging physically when possible and laying down in front of a point shot. But he did not stand out offensively. Per the morning skate, he looks to start with likely AHLers Brody Sutter and Carter Sandlak. Can he play a solid game on a checking-looking line but also display his offensive upside?
3) Eddie Lack. He struggled a bit in an oddly-timed scrimmage on Friday morning and did not play on Sunday. There is no urgency for him to shake off the rust at this early stage of the season, but sooner rather than later is never a bad thing. Does he dial up the intensity and look ready tonight such that Friday gets pitched into the category of “It was just a practice?” Or does Monday night show that he still has some work to do to be ready for the regular season?
4) The older D prospects get another look. After sitting out Sunday’s scrimmage, Ryan Murphy draws into the preseason. Keegan Lowe and Danny Biega who both played Sunday also get more ice time. Can the older, more-experienced young D play well and position themselves ahead of the younger prospects?
5) Di Giuseppe/Ryan/Tolchinsky. That line includes 3 forwards whose stock seems to be rising in the battle win the last 1-2 forward slots. Can the group play well and increase each player’s chances?
6) EStaal/JStaal/Versteeg. We get a 1st look at what could become the Canes top line. Does Versteeg look like exactly the playmaker that can make sure the power forward brothers get enough scoring chances in close?
Puck drops at 7pm on NHL Network on on radio on 99.9’s app (don’t think you can get it on an actual radio).