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...
After the euphoria of adding Scott Darling

After the euphoria of adding Scott Darling

Scott Darling is scheduled to meet with the media at PNC Arena at 4pm on Wednesday. So timing is perfect to fly this article out there on Wednesday morning timed well to be buried by articles on Wednesday night and Thursday morning that include quotes about wanting to win the Stanley Cup and other sound bites of Carolina Hurricanes hockey goodness.   After staring at near league bottom goaltending for the 2015-16 season but still making the decision to re-sign Cam Ward, retain goalie coach David Marcoux and just ride forward on Eddie Lack’s contract, the elation in the Hurricanes hockey community over the trade for Scott Darling was justified. The step in a new direction is in itself reason for optimism.   Scott Darling represents three layers of conceptual goodness As I said in my commentary after the trade and the signing, at the most basic level, the set of transactions represented three things. First, they showed that Francis was going to address the goalie situation this summer after not doing so last summer. Second, it clearly signified that Francis was shifting from “rebuild at all costs” to at least a more balanced approach that aimed for making the 2018 NHL playoffs. And finally, even though Scott Darling cannot assure a different ending to the 2017-18 season, it will at a minimum disperse the angst that has found its way to the same position too often in recent years.   Darling is also one of the higher-end upgrades available During an offseason with unique circumstances around the expansion draft that will make an unprecedented number of viable goalie...
Carolina Hurricanes sign Scott Darling for four years at $4.15 million per year

Carolina Hurricanes sign Scott Darling for four years at $4.15 million per year

In what is becoming pure Ron Francis’ form, today, on Friday around or after dinner time when most people are heading into the weekend, the Carolina Hurricanes made a big announcement. The team signed recently-acquired Scott Darling to a 4-year contract at $4.15 million per season. With the move, the Hurricanes have moved aggressively and early to add one of the best goalies available this summer. And in the process, the move addresses the Hurricanes biggest offseason need on May 5, a full 5 months before the start of the 2017-18 season. As I said on Twitter, there is still work for Francis to do this summer, but acquiring and signing Scott Darling fills the biggest need and very clearly shifts Ron Francis from opportunistically building for some undefined time in the future to playing to win now. And that my Hurricanes friends is an incredibly good thing!   Scott Darling catch up I covered most of the angles on Scott Darling when he was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks for a third-round pick almost exactly one week ago. My first impressions article profiled Scott Darling and discussed a couple interesting angles on the trade itself. I followed up with a part two on the Scott Darling trade that considered flight risk, looked at the broader Hurricanes goalie situation that now includes three goalies and came pretty darn close guessing his contract at either three or four years at $4 million per season. Along the way, the Sunday Canes Chronicle offered four external articles on Scott Darling and the Monday Coffee Shop polls and discussion questions were also dedicated...
The Carolina Hurricanes acquire Scott Darling (part 2)

The Carolina Hurricanes acquire Scott Darling (part 2)

About an hour after the Hurricanes acquired Scott Darling from the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, I posted my initial thoughts on the deal. After some time to digest the deal, I stand by my original comments which you can find HERE. The Sunday Canes Chronicle included four external articles that detail his path to the NHL and ultimately the Hurricanes. The Monday Coffee Shop offers read polls and discussion questions on the Scott Darling trade, prospects of signing him and the related path forward.   Here are some additional thoughts on Scott Darling and the transaction in total. Francis’ transition from opportunistic to focused The vast majority of the analysis (including mine) of the trade for Scott Darling will focus on Darling himself and the contract situation. A subtle but significant underlying story is Francis’ shift. In the past two summers, Francis has opportunistically shopped to find deals with value. The Versteeg deal netted two NHLers for very little capitalizing on Chicago’s salary cap situation. The Teravainen/Bickell deal was the same. And signing Lee Stempniak and Viktor Stalberg as value free agents followed the same strategy. Spending a draft pick for a non-guaranteed addition is a somewhat more aggressive move to fill a very targeted need with one of the higher-end options available on the market. If he can get Darling under contract, he will have filled one of the team’s two biggest needs very early in the offseason and not spent too much in terms of futures/trade assets to do it. That will set the stage for trying to do one more big deal to add a top-end...
Hurricanes acquire goalie Scott Darling from Blackhawks for third-round draft pick

Hurricanes acquire goalie Scott Darling from Blackhawks for third-round draft pick

Will write up in more detail in next few days, but here are my first impressions of the Hurricanes acquiring goalie Scott Darling.   Like Ron Francis seems to like to do it, just when people were settling into their lazy chairs for after dinner cocktails on a Friday evening, he dropped an unpredictable trade bomb out of the blue. After the Kris Versteeg deal went down at a similar time, I picture Francis and Blackhawks’ general manager Stan Bowman having a standing Friday cocktail hour phone chat while sitting on their back decks every Friday. Most weeks they just talk about golf, fishing, professional sports or whatever. But every once in awhile they do a deal instead. Just after 7:30pm on Friday, Twitter went aflitter with the announcement that the Carolina Hurricanes had acquired Scott Darling from the Chicago Blackhawks for the Ottawa Senators 2017 third round draft pick they had acquired in the Viktor Stalberg trade. Scott Darling is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, so technically the Hurricanes acquired the right to negotiate exclusively with him through the end of June with no guarantee that he will actually suit up for the Hurricanes in October.   Scott Darling profile Darling is a goalie from the current trend of ‘bigger is better.’ At 6 foot 6 inches tall and 232 pounds, Darling is very much in the Ben Bishop range for size. As a 28-year old who only has only three years of NHL experience and 64 starts to his credit, he is the stereotypical late bloomer that is common for the goalie...