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...
Carolina Hurricanes sign Justin Williams – A deeper dive

Carolina Hurricanes sign Justin Williams – A deeper dive

On Saturday, I posted my initial thoughts on the Hurricanes signing free agent Justin Williams.  I recommend reading that article first if you have not already done so, as it has the most important points that I will not reiterate in this part 2.   This deeper dive will start to consider a lineup that includes Justin Williams.   Justin Williams’ skill set In simple terms, Williams is a good all-around forward who can play on any kind of line. He slots at right wing and has spent so little time elsewhere, that I consider this fixed. But he is flexible in that he can be a good complementary player on a high-end scoring line, and at the same time he can be a fixture on a top-end checking line. He drives possession, plays well offensively and defensively in all three zones and just generally makes his line better. That said, he is not the pure version of high-end offense that offers a maximum scoring boost. If you adjust his 48-point scoring total from 2016-17 on a scoring juggernaut for a Hurricanes lineup, I figure a fair estimate is something like 40-44 points. Looking only at offensive production, that is the equivalent of adding another Lee Stempniak to the lineup.   The broader roster and the right side With the addition of Williams, the Hurricanes are now set in the top 9 with Williams, Elias Lindholm and Lee Stempniak. The only wild card is if the Hurricanes do not add another center, Lindholm is one of the candidates to move to the middle. All three right wings are also pretty...
Carolina Hurricanes sign Justin Williams – Initial thoughts

Carolina Hurricanes sign Justin Williams – Initial thoughts

After a massive an much-needed nap after the prospect camp scrimmage, I am catching up on a busy Canes hockey day. For those looking for a recap and notes from the prospect scrimmage, that is in process too and will be up either later tonight or early on Sunday.   After mostly quiet July 1 openings of free agency that often saw the salary cap ceiling Metropolitan Division teams get better and the Hurricanes either stand pat or make minor deals, Ron Francis made a bigger splash today. Timed perfectly to be announced during the intermission of the prospects game at PNC Arena with the Hurricanes faithful on hand, it was announced that the Hurricanes had signed former Hurricane and three-time (once with the Hurricanes obviously) Stanley Cup Champion Justin Williams to a two-year contract. The crowd roared and a feeling of Hurricanes hockey goodness immediately filled the building. The signing was a huge marketing win for a team that has a few times seemed out of touch with its fan base this time of year.   The bullet point assessment of Justin Williams’ signing For those who do not care to dig into all of the details and minutiae that follow… Pros: Leadership, a potential jolt forward in terms of mindset, an ‘any line’ right wing and depth scoring. Cons: Not the pure offensive catalyst desired, paid a premium and spent big chunk of budget on player whose scoring projects similarly to Lee Stempniak’s. At a basic level, I like the deal, but that is partially a function of believing that the better options were just too pricey...
Special Justin Williams Coffee Shop!

Special Justin Williams Coffee Shop!

Sometime tonight, I will write up my thoughts on the Justin Williams signing, the prospect camp scrimmage and whatever else turns up today. But in the meantime, let’s open up the Coffee Shop for everyone else’s comments, joyous celebrations and opinions.   Justin Williams polls   At a basic level, what do you think about the Carolina Hurricanes signing Justin Williams today? I'm ecstatic! Tremendous move. I'm lukewarm. He definitely improves the team, but there were better options available too. I'm 'meh or worse. He is a good player but not enough and not what the team needed. View Results  Loading ...   With the big addition (so far anyway) a right wing, who becomes the third center in the top 9 (counting Staal and Rask as a starting point)? Teuvo Teravainen rises up and returns to his natural slot. Sebastian Aho's potential move to his natural center position is accelerated. Elias gets another trial and this time sticks at center. Derek Ryan rises up. Francis makes one more BIG addition (i.e. Galchenyuk, Nugent-Hopkins, Duchene). Francis makes one more small addition to add a decent depth center. Other (add in comments) View Results  Loading ...   Could Justin Williams be the next captain of the Carolina Hurricanes? Yes. Most definitely. Maybe. It is an interesting idea to be considered against other alternatives. No. Others have paid their dues and Williams should be an alternate captain at most. View Results  Loading ...   Discussion questions   1) What are your thoughts on the Justin Williams’ signing? 2) From the other deals that have been announced? Which Metro teams now scare...