Ranking the Carolina Hurricanes prospects — Part 3B: Forwards (#6-10)

Ranking the Carolina Hurricanes prospects — Part 3B: Forwards (#6-10)

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe continues down the path of evaluating and ranking the Hurricanes prospects. Thus far, part 1 featured the five goalie prospects, part 2 assessed the 15 defensemen in the Hurricanes organization and part 3A had the forwards ranked #1-5. Part 3B today looks at the next set of forwards ranked #6-10. An important starting point is noting that the gap between the forwards ranked 6-10 and those ranked 1-5 yesterday is small. The ability to make even a short-term apples to apples comparison for some of these players in training camp and a couple preseason games, could easily see the top 10 completely juggled based on game action evaluations. In addition, the ultimate success of players in this age group is determined much more by how rapidly and significantly they progress than their starting points.   Prospects with top half of the roster potential and scoring upside – take two   #6 – Aleksi Saarela (Charlotte Checkers-AHL) Saarela is a bit of a wild card and a difficult player to get a read on simply because I have not been able to see him. In two summers since being acquired in the Eric Staal trade, Saarela has yet to make an appearance at PNC Arena because of injuries, being committed to play in Europe and a jump to Charlotte. But we should finally get to see Saarela live in September for the Hurricanes training camp. His resume to this point is a bit sporadic because of injuries but does feature an eye-opening short audition in Charlotte. He quickly collected 6 goals and 10 point in only...
Hurricanes Prospect Update: Top 10 Canadian Juniors Playoff Performances

Hurricanes Prospect Update: Top 10 Canadian Juniors Playoff Performances

For “playoff day” at Canes and Coffee, please also check out Jordan Futrell’s update on the Checkers’ playoff chase and Matt Karash’s Canes NHL playoff guide featuring draft pick implications and a roundup of former Hurricanes players in the NHL postseason.   I don’t know about you all, but I’m not at all ready for hockey to be done. Luckily in addition to our surging AHL team, Canes nation still has 10 prospects still active up in Canadian juniors, where the playoffs are in full swing. I was initially going to include the college prospects too, but wouldn’t you know it, not a single Canes college prospect made the NCAA tournament. Not even David Cotton’s Boston College and they are usually disgustingly consistent like that. Still, entirely for the purposes of this article, this is a good thing, because now I can easily format this Hurricanes prospect playoff update into a convenient Top 10 list. RANDOM SLIGHTLY UNRELATED BREAKING NEWS There’s the first move. Ron Francis says that David Marcoux’s contract will not be renewed. #Canes — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) April 12, 2017 So let’s not draw this out: Here’s how the Hurricanes’ Canadian juniors prospects are faring with the lights glaring, ranked entirely on my subjective statistical analysis.   1. Steven Lorentz – Peterborough Petes 6 Goals – 4 Assists – 10 Points in 7 games. Yeah, this wasn’t the first name you expected to see on this list, was it? Well, Lorentz has been the top scorer for a Peterborough team that hasn’t lost yet. They swept Niagara in Round 1 of the OHL playoffs and...
MIDTERMS: Aleksi Saarela (Lukko, Finnish Liiga)

MIDTERMS: Aleksi Saarela (Lukko, Finnish Liiga)

After getting sidetracked a bit with the trade deadline, we are working hard to pull in ‘Midterm’ reports for as many of the Hurricanes’ prospects below the AHL level as possible. You can find a menu of the 9 players already covered at the bottom of this article. As most know by now, the general format of the ‘Midterms’ and almost all sub-AHL coverage at Canes and Coffee is to leverage the help of scouts, analyst and media who are local to the players and watch them play regularly. This ‘from the rink’ perspective goes much deeper than what I or someone else could do researching players on Google and pulling a few stats. But then there is the curious case of Aleksi Saarela. I have taken to calling him either the “unknown prospect” or the “mystery prospect.” Since being acquired from the New York Rangers in the Eric Staal trade last winter, he has yet to step on the ice at PNC Arena or wearing a Hurricanes jersey. He signed his 3-year entry-level deal with the Hurricanes on June 13, 2016, but he was injured last summer and missed both the July prospect camp and also the Traverse City Tourney in the early fall. Saarela is continuing his development playing professional hockey in Finland. And with the geographic and language challenges, I have not been able to find a Finland-based scout or analyst to provide a check in on Saarela’s 2016-17 season. So I will divert from the preferred path and provide a research-based update to at least offer some insight into his season.   Aleksi Saarela profile...
BACK TO SCHOOL: Aleksi Saarela (Lukko Rauma-Finnish Elite League)

BACK TO SCHOOL: Aleksi Saarela (Lukko Rauma-Finnish Elite League)

With this article on Hurricanes prospect Aleksi Saarela, the ‘back to school’ series featuring recently drafted Carolina Hurricanes prospects makes its first jump outside of North America.   Menu of Hurricanes prospects ‘back to school’ articles Matt Filipe (Northeastern University) Jack LaFontaine (University of Michigan) Max Zimmer (University of Wisconsin) David Cotton (Boston College) Luke Stevens (Yale University) Steven Lorentz (Peterborough Petes) Noah Carroll (Guelph Storm) Jake Bean (Calgary Hitmen) Hudson Elynuik (Spokane Chiefs) Julien Gauthier (Val-d’Or Foreurs) Callum Booth (Quebec Remparts)   Aleksi Saarela Saarela was a second round pick by the New York Rangers in the 2015 NHL draft. He was acquired by the Carolina Hurricanes in February of 2016 along with a second round pick for Eric Staal. Saarela is a native of Finland whose development thus far has been in Finland. He was signed to 3-year entry-level contract by the Carolina Hurricanes and could play in Charlotte for the 2016-17 season, but the expectation is that he will remain in Finland and play for Lukko Rauma of  SM-liiga (the Finnish Elite League). Saarela has been described as a somewhat undersized speedy and skilled offensive forward who can play center or wing. He joins a contingent of similar Hurricanes players and prospects that includes Teuvo Teravainen, Sebastian Aho and Janne Kuokkanen.   Interview on Aleksi Saarela with Zachary DeVine from Last Word on Sports and Dobber Prospects Zachary DeVine (Twitter=@zakkthebear) is the head of the hockey department at Last Word on Sports. He also reports on NHL prospects for @DobberProspects, covers all manner of hockey on the West Coast, including the San Jose Sharks, San Jose Barracuda,...