Sebastian Aho, Jordan Staal and piecing together the optimal puzzle

Sebastian Aho, Jordan Staal and piecing together the optimal puzzle

Important to note is that two games into the 2017-18 season is too early to start cementing down any decisions for the entire season. That said, much of my basis for my thoughts on this topic do consider Jordan Staal’s track record that dates back multiple years now and also a full season with the Hurricanes for Sebastian Aho.   History and skill sets Jordan Staal’s foundation as an NHLer was developed playing as a shutdown line center on a third line behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on a Cup-winning team in Pittsburgh. It is not Staal cannot score. It is just that the areas of his game that is elite are the defensive part and also his incredible ability to start in the defensive zone, win the puck and often single-handedly move it from the defensive zone to the offensive zone. Staal does those things at an elite level, whereas scoring-wise he is probably at best an average top 9 forward. To be clear, Staal is certainly a valuable part of a winning Hurricanes team in 2017-18 and beyond. But his skill set that leans defense does have implications in terms of who he fits with line combination-wise and how he can be best utilized. Sebastian Aho’s history as an NHLer is shorter at only one season, but there is enough there to get a reasonably strong understanding of Aho’s skill set. At his core, he oozes offense. He finished with a solid 24 goals in 2016-17 despite a slow start in that department, and his 49 points while not eye-popping were easily respectable especially on a...
Calling It Now: 10 Premonitions for the 2017-18 Carolina Hurricanes Season by Cory Fogg

Calling It Now: 10 Premonitions for the 2017-18 Carolina Hurricanes Season by Cory Fogg

Matt’s quick introduction: This week we will introduce the 2017-18 writing team at Canes and Coffee with a short series of articles that takes a look into the crystal ball and/or previews the 2017-18 Carolina Hurricanes season. Up first is Cory Fogg who I am thrilled to have back for a second season at Canes and Coffee. Cory’s writing will run the gamut, but his specialty is writing feature articles that go in depth on a particular topic. Welcome back Cory!   As we count down to opening night, we all have our thoughts on what’s going to happen. Really the only givens over the past nine years have been that ‘we won’t make the playoffs’ and the opener is better known as “The Game with the Most Hurricanes Fans in Attendance All Season’. Many Caniacs, myself included, believe that this season is the first year in that span with a real chance of getting out of Rebuilding Mode and into Playoff Mode. My roommate and I, both half season-ticket holders, always enjoy going through the season playing Nostradamus over what’s going to happen next. The phrase “Calling it now” is often heard in our domain, usually followed by some ridiculous premonition that we’re only saying so that we can have ‘In-House Hockey Genius’ bragging rights. Or just the sound of hot air expanding in our heads.  In any case, with the Hurricanes season now here, I thought it would be fun to channel my inner hockey clairvoyant for all of you. Because, obviously, the more people who know, the higher the ego boost if I’m right. So without...
My Puck: A Story of the Carolina Hurricanes New Identity

My Puck: A Story of the Carolina Hurricanes New Identity

Matt’s editorial note: With the buzz and optimism around Canes hockey this summer, Cory could not help but return from his summer break way early. There are no guarantees in professional sports (Canes fans know that too well lately), but I hope you share his optimism and energy. I do.   A storm is coming. Can you feel it? Disclaimer: Author is 100% allowed to use cheesy clichés in his ridiculous excitement for the coming of hockey season The Carolina Hurricanes have had one of the best offseasons in recent memory this summer. The problem is, the offseason means nothing and we all are just bouncing in our seats in anticipation of seeing if the 2017-18 Canes can deliver on the ice. But seeing as that’s two months off, let’s just keep distracting ourselves with the bright situation, shall we?   Yay, Our First Real Post-Cup Identity! Let’s embrace the fact that, for the first time in years, the Carolina Hurricanes have an identity. For years, it seemed like the team had none, or at the very least, was something like “They Whom Are Beholden to Family Staal.” (There are worse identities.)  The truth as we’ve all come to painfully know, is that we coasted on our Cup win for about 8 years. As names like Brind’Amour, Whitney, Cole, and Williams disappeared, so did the identity. For years it was just sitting there hoping Eric Staal and Cam Ward could turn it back to their Cup days and bring us a taste of the playoffs. Then for several more years, it was the painful process of rebuild, a gigantic...
The relationship between Marcus Kruger and Jordan Staal

The relationship between Marcus Kruger and Jordan Staal

The biggest news on the Hurricane 2017-18 roster-building front in the past few days and since the Justin Williams signing was the acquisition of center Marcus Kruger from the Las Vegas Golden Knights for a fifth-round draft pick in 2017. I wrote about Marcus Kruger, the trade and where I think he fits in the Hurricanes lineup shortly after the trade was announced. Then on Wednesday, Jordan Staal’s name popped up in a few places as a trade target for the Penguins. Like it or not, this debate is a harbinger of things to come in the next 4-6 weeks as real hockey news grinds to a halt and ‘we should trade ___ for ____’ speculation ratchets up and increasingly reaches new highs for lack of logic. In the next 4-5 weeks, alleged Hurricanes trades will certainly include all four of the team’s top 4 defensemen and at least four or five of the team’s best forwards. On Wednesday, I threw some cold water on the Jordan Staal rumblings that represent the first wave of what will likely be a busy next 4-6 weeks fending off unreasonable claims on all of the Hurricanes best players. And if you missed it, the Thursday Coffee Shop sorting out the depth forwards was a lively one. Amidst all of the great analysis and opinions on the various roster options an absolutely tremendous combination of Hurricanes grocery store analogies buried in the middle caused me to blow beverage all over my computer screen.   Today’s Daily Cup of Joe looks at both of the two players featured in recent articles in looking at...
Addressing the Jordan Staal trade rumors

Addressing the Jordan Staal trade rumors

One tell-tale sign that the hockey off-season is approaching the news-less desert of mid-July through August is when the volume of wild trade ideas suddenly increases. And on cue for the Hurricanes, we may be seeing the beginning with Jordan Staal’s name popping up in the ‘we should get ___’ online debates these days. Ryan Wilson who I respect for his writing and analysis wrote a reasonable article on this topic identifying Staal as a fit for what the Penguins need and correctly asserting that Staal was not going to come cheap for some random collection of draft picks and depth players. With Jordan Staal’s name now out there and not much happening for the next 4-6 weeks, I figure it is just a matter of days until the Rangers fans try to offer Nick Holden and a mid-round draft pick to trump the Pens and win the deal.   The need and wanting glances actually make sense In terms of teams shopping for needs, Jordan Staal completely makes sense. There suddenly seems to be a shortage of ‘any situation’ top 9 centers, and much of that shortage interesting resides with top-tier teams who are looking to win now. The Rangers parted with Derek Stepan and thus far have only added David Desharnais. The Penguins lost Nick Bonino. The Chicago Blackhawks saw Marcus Kruger become their latest cap casualty. After dealing Travis Hamonic for picks and not Matt Duchene, the Islanders still lack a true top 6 center to slot behind John Tavares. And now minus cap casualty Marcus Johansson, the Capitals could also be looking for a solid...