Ranking the Carolina Hurricanes prospects — Part 2: Defensemen

Ranking the Carolina Hurricanes prospects — Part 2: Defensemen

Early on Monday morning, I started on a tour of the Hurricanes prospect pool and even talked myself into forging down the road of doing rankings at least at a positional level. The first article in the series which you can find here addressed the goalies.   Defensemen Part two will look at the prospect pool for the blue line. Because the Hurricanes have spent so many recent high draft picks on defensemen and also benefited from Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce rising up ahead of schedule, the general perception in our Hurricanes hockey community seems to be that the team is deep in terms of youth on the blue line. That is very clearly true at the NHL level where the team boasts a top with an average age under 23, but the rapid rise of the young NHL group has actually left a bit of a gap behind them in terms of the prospect pool. Francis restocked a bit in the 2017 NHL draft selecting three defensemen and there are still a couple higher-end players who are near NHL-ready but the volume of depth is actually still a little bit light right now. Without further ado, here is my ranking for the Hurricanes defense prospect pool…   Established prospects with top half of the roster potential #1 – Haydn Fleury (Charlotte Checkers-AHL) Fleury (Article log HERE) tops my list of prospect defensemen based on both reasonably high upside and a high probability of at least some leve of success. I have had him penciled in as a #5/#6 defenseman at the NHL level for some time now....
Checking In: Haydn Fleury Charlotte Checkers 2016-17 season review

Checking In: Haydn Fleury Charlotte Checkers 2016-17 season review

In a format somewhat similar to the 2016-17 NHL-level player report cards, Jordan Futrell will be writing a series of 2016-17 reviews for many of Hurricanes’ top prospects who spent the 2016-17 with the Charlotte Checkers in the AHL.   Haydn Fleury’s starting point coming out of the 2015-16 season Haydn Fleury played his final year in the Western Hockey League (WHL) for the Red Deer Rebels in 2015-2016. Fleury probably had the best regular season of his junior career, totalling 41 points in 56 games played and finishing as an overall +18. In the post-season, he helped lead Red Deer to the WHL conference finals, tallying 4 goals and 5 assists in 17 games. For the Memorial Cup, Fleury finished second among defensemen in total points with 4, outdone only by future 5th overall pick Olli Joulevi who had 7. Not only did Fleury’s total points per game improve in his last junior season, but his defensive game was also better. He became more of a physical defender on the ice, using his larger frame to his advantage against smaller opponents.   Haydn Fleury: 2016-17 with the Charlotte Checkers First half of the season: Fleury would not start the 2016-17 season out guns blazing as he might have hoped. For the majority of the first half of the year, he looked a little timid on the ice. As a rookie that can be natural, not wanting to make any major mistakes right at the beginning of his professional career is something that absolutely goes through a player’s mind. Fleury only registered 4 points through November, and he suffered...
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...
The curious case of Haydn Fleury and contract legalese

The curious case of Haydn Fleury and contract legalese

Fans who do not follow NHL hockey at the “I am starving for stuff to read even in August level” might assume that roster spots for the opening night roster are divvied out solely on merit.  Obviously that is not completely the case with all of the strange contractual stuff.  First, players on 1-way contracts get a priority because even if sent to the minors, the NHL team still pays the NHL salary.  There is no cost savings.  Second, players who must clear waivers to return to the minors are sometimes given roster preference out of fear that they will be scooped up by another team. Finally, there is the case of Canadian junior players which applies to Haydn Fleury. The NHL’s agreement with Canadian juniors says the following for 18-19-year old Canadian junior players (basically in 1st 2 years after being drafted if drafted when eligible at 18): 1) If they do not make the NHL roster, they must be returned to their Canadian junior team. 2) That is to say that they cannot instead be sent to the AHL. 3) Once they are returned to Canadian juniors, they cannot be recalled until the Canadian junior season is over.  (There is an injury emergency clause, but because of its terms it is rarely able to be used.) In addition to that, the CBA rules are such that once a player plays 10 games at the NHL level it counts as a full year of service on the 3-year entry level contract and also for years of service calculations for free agency, arbitration rights, etc. The result of this...