Checking In with Brandon Stanley: Checkers’ player assessments — Julien Gauthier, Morgan Geekie, Janne Kuokkanen

Checking In with Brandon Stanley: Checkers’ player assessments — Julien Gauthier, Morgan Geekie, Janne Kuokkanen

Only a couple days removed from the Charlotte Checkers being crowned the Calder Cup Champions, timing is perfect for another look down to Charlotte to assess the promising group of young players who could factor into the Carolina Hurricanes lineup sooner rather than later. Part 1 last week looked at Jake Bean, Clark Bishop and Trevor Carrick.   Checking In with Brandon Stanley With the NHL postseason winding down, and the summertime markets looming where the Canes have the horses to be massive players, now seems like the perfect time to look back and get a bit of a refresher on what’s happening down on the farm. An imperative for Waddell’s to-do list will be figuring out which of these players can be used in deals for immediate help, and which ones have parts to play in the Carolina Hurricanes’ future. The Checkers are the champions of the AHL after finishing off a 4-1 dismantling of the Chicago Wolves in the Calder Cup Finals, but here I’ll be focusing on the regular season for the most part (largely because I’ve been so busy the last few weeks that I have barely gotten to watch any of this stellar playoff run). We’ll take a look at how each prospect* playing for the Checkers performed in 2018-19, what skills make them projectable to the NHL level, and what they need to work on in order to reach their ceilings. We’ll also give an NHL outlook of when they’ll be ready to contribute, and what role their NHL future likely holds. *Two criteria: they must still have rookie eligibility (<25 games played...
Ranking the Carolina Hurricanes prospects — Part 3A: Forwards (#1-5)

Ranking the Carolina Hurricanes prospects — Part 3A: Forwards (#1-5)

After a delay while covering the news of Brett Pesce’s contract extension (‘Initial thoughts’ are HERE, and ‘A second level of detail is HERE.), today’s Daily Cup of Joe is part 3A of a series assessing and ranking the Hurricanes prospects. Part 1 featured the five goalie prospects, and part 2 assessed the 15 defensemen in the Hurricanes organization. Part 3A today starts into the sizable group of prospect and AHL veteran forwards. So I can discuss at least the top half of the group in some detail without writing a novel, the forwards will be split into a couple parts.   Forwards Whereas the Hurricanes blue line prospect pool has a couple good high-end prospects but is actually a bit thin simply because so many young players have already jumped to the NHL level (which is obviously the goal, so that is a good thing), I would say that Francis’ restocking of the prospect pool is complete at the forward position. My rough count is 9 forwards who are capable of playing in the top half of an NHL roster and a good mix of centers and wings, size and speed, and skill and size. At the NHL level, I think the Hurricanes current strength is its young defense, but one level lower in the prospect pool I think the greatest strength is at the forward position. Without further ado, here are the top 5 forward prospect rankings…   Prospects with top half of the roster potential and scoring upside #1 – Julien Gauthier (Charlotte Checkers-AHL) Gauthier (Article log HERE) is nearly in a class by himself in...
Hurricanes Prospect Power Rankings: TL;DR…It was a real good week

Hurricanes Prospect Power Rankings: TL;DR…It was a real good week

Thursday at Canes and Coffee is taking on a “the future is bright” theme. Check out also part 1 of Jordan Futrell’s Charlotte Checkers playoff series preview HERE, and come back and look for part 2 mid-day on Thursday. If you haven’t already, please help us prepare for the 2017-18 season by completing a short survey and considering a modest financial contribution.   I love nerding out on hockey. It’s just such a fun sport any way you look at it. Especially when the statistical research shows how awesome the Hurricanes prospect pool is right now. The number of prospects in this week’s Power Rankings has dropped to nine (bye, Jake Bean). Trying to rank the Top 5 this week was especially problematic, as multiple Hurricanes prospects decided to step up their games in the last week, and really deliver for their teams in the playoffs. Suffice it to say, that’s a very good problem to have. Let’s get to it:   1. Janne Kuokkanen – London Knights (Last week #3) 10 Goals – 6 Assists – 16 Points in 14 games London was just eliminated by Warren Foegele and the Erie Otters (more on that below), but there is no way London pushes this series to 7 games without Kuokkanen. He carried London’s offense throughout the playoffs, finishing with three more goals and four more points than the 2nd highest Knight. He was also a finalist for OHL Player of the Week. Breaking News: As I’m posting this, the Checkers have added Kuokkanen to the playoff roster. I believe he’s still CHL-bound next year, but as London is done,...
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: Julien Gauthier (Saint John Sea Dogs, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League)

MIDTERMS: Julien Gauthier (Saint John Sea Dogs, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League)

Julien Gauthier 2016-17 season capsule Julien Gauthier was selected by the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round of the 2016 NHL draft with the #21 overall pick. The hulking power forward tips the scales at 6 foot 4  inches tall and 225 pounds and possesses skill to boot. The rap on him entering the draft was the 1-dimensional nature of his 2015-16 season that saw him net 41 goals but only collect 16 assists in 54 games. In 2016-17, he returned to the Val-d’Or Foreurs where he had 7 goals and 20 assists in 23 games before being traded to the Saint John Sea Dogs where he has accumulated 4 goals and 8 assists in 12 games. He also took a break from QMJHL play to team with Hurricanes’ prospect Nicolas Roy on a scoring line for Team Canada at the world juniors tourney where Gauthier had 5 goals and 2 assists in 7 games.   Mid-season interview on Julien Gauthier with Scott Wheeler from The Athletic and Pension Plan Puppets Scott Wheeler (Twitter=scottcwheeler) is a sports journalist and independent scout. He is currently a feature writer and OHL/QMJHL evaluator with Future Considerations, the managing editor for SB Nation’s Pension Plan Puppets and an editor for The Athletic-Toronto. He covers the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Toronto Marlies and the NHL Draft and frequently guests on Canadian sports radio. He has previously scouted for McKeen’s Hockey, and has been published by the National Post, the Toronto Sun, The Hockey News, the PGA TOUR, and others in print and online.   Canes and Coffee: How would you describe Julien Gauthier’s play with...