Ranking the Carolina Hurricanes prospects — Part 3C: Forwards (#11-23)

Ranking the Carolina Hurricanes prospects — Part 3C: Forwards (#11-23)

After a brief delay from Brett Pesce’s contract extension pushed the final segment into the weekend, our tour of the entirety of the Carolina Hurricanes’ prospect pool wraps up today with the third segment on the forward group. For anyone catching up after a week away, part 1 featured the five goalie prospects, part 2 assessed the 15 defensemen in the Hurricanes organization, part 3A had the forwards ranked #1-5, and part 3B detailed the next set of forwards ranked #6-10. Today’s finale looks at the remaining forwards. I think the biggest takeaway is just how deep the team’s forward prospect pool is. The volume of players with NHL potential who did not crack the top ten is very high, and there are players here who have fairly significant upside. And now that I am assessing players ranked fairly far down the depth chart, it is important to remind everyone that success for these prospects will be determined more by how much they improve than their starting point on August 4, 2017. Somewhat like I did with the goalies and defensemen, I view the remaining forwards in reasonably defined categories with a few players who straddle a couple of them.   Trying to push up the depth chart First are three separate groups of three players each who are trying to push up the depth chart. Important to note is that all nine players have met the check boxes thus far in this development and are in this category because they have moved up, NOT because they have fallen to get here.   The long shots who earned a...
Hurricanes recall Bryan Bickell and Andrew Poturalski from Charlotte Checkers; Jake Bean joins Checkers

Hurricanes recall Bryan Bickell and Andrew Poturalski from Charlotte Checkers; Jake Bean joins Checkers

With players freeing up with their Canadian juniors seasons ending, the Hurricanes teetering out of the playoff hunt and the Checkers sitting right at the playoff cut line, things have been busy in terms of player transactions. Today the Hurricanes announced that they were recalling Andrew Poturalski and Bryan Bickell from Charlotte and returning Lucas Wallmark and Phil Di Giuseppe to back fill the openings. In addition, the Checkers announced that Jake Bean who had wrapped up his WHL season would be joining the team.   Bryan Bickell In the Monday Coffee Shop polls put up late last night, I included a Bryan Bickell return in the possible choices for best games of 2016-17. Then 40 minutes before it was announced, I tweeted, “Who thinks we ee Bryan Bickell in #Raleigh for #Canes game on Thursday and/or Saturday?” And voila…The Hurricanes recalled Bryan Bickell this morning setting up what will be a special return to the ice in the NHL. He seems slated to play Tuesday in Minnesota, but I would not be surprised to see the Hurricanes give him a couple days of practice before returning at home on Thursday instead especially with the focus on Eric Staal’s 1,000 game festivities on Tuesday. Regardless, Bryan Bickell’s return will be another phenomenal story in a season that has been full of them with Chase Bass and Jorge Alves.   Andrew Poturalski Poturalski’s 2016-17 season Andrew Poturalski will be the latest to receive at least a short trial at the NHL level. Poturalski was signed as an undrafted free agent coming out of the University of New Hampshire and with...
Checking In: ‘First impressions’ on Valentin Zykov, Haydn Fleury and Andrew Poturalski

Checking In: ‘First impressions’ on Valentin Zykov, Haydn Fleury and Andrew Poturalski

This new mini-series will offer first impressions on Hurricanes prospects who are new to the Charlotte Checkers (or had limited AHL runs at the end of previous seasons). Valentin Zykov Pre-arrival Valentin Zykov is projected to possibly be a high-scoring forward in the NHL someday. The Los Angeles Kings drafted him early in the second round of the 2013 draft. While in junior he played in the QMJHL for Baie-Comeau Drakkar. During the 2015-16 he posted 14 points in 43 games for his first season with Los Angeles’s AHL affiliate, the Ontario Reign, before he was traded at the NHL trade deadline to the Hurricanes. Starting Role Early in the season Zykov has been playing in the first offensive line with Derek Ryan and Brock McGinn. He has also been put out in power play situations with the same two players on his line. First Impressions Zykov has displayed an excellent ability to fore-check in the offensive zone. Multiple times a game, the puck will end up in the corner while the Checkers are putting pressure on their opponents and the first player to go in and get the puck to fight it out of the corner is Zykov. He can do this because he knows how to use his size to his advantage when going up against opposing players by shielding the puck away from people using his body. He has also illustrated some nice stick handling skills that have lead to him setting up his teammates for quality chances in front of the net. Areas of Improvement Zykov’s biggest detriment is his skating ability. His line mates...
Quick thoughts on Andrew Poturalski and college free agent approach in general

Quick thoughts on Andrew Poturalski and college free agent approach in general

With the US college hockey season winding down, we are upon that time of year where the Twitterverse is ablaze with the names of players who just finished strong college campaigns, are not yet drafted and are a free agents who can be signed by any team. Based on the strong seasons that they have just had, these players are often talked about similarly to early-round draftees. While there are diamonds in the rough to be found among the players who slipped through the NHL draft, these players are usually more long-term projects/lottery tickets than can’t miss prospects.   Hurricanes recent history of NCAA free agent signings The Hurricanes recent history with college free agents has yet to yield help at the NHL level. Of the current Hurricanes players and prospects, the only college free agent signings (someone holler if I missed someone) are Patrick Brown and Rasmus Tirronen neither of whom have really moved up the organizational depth chart yet. Past college free agent signings include an ‘oops’ by Jim Rutherford when he bid too aggressively to win Jeremy Welsh and gave him a 1-way deal for $1 million in the second year of his deal. Rutherford managed to pawn that contract off on Vancouver, but it was not a great signing nonetheless. Welsh managed only 25 games in the NHL and is now a 27-year old AHLer.     Low risk/high reward with a lottery ticket element The beauty of college free agent signings is that they are low cost/low risk. For a modest signing bonus and normal entry-level contract (usually 2 years instead of 3), you get...