Ranking the Carolina Hurricanes prospects — Part 3B: Forwards (#6-10)

Ranking the Carolina Hurricanes prospects — Part 3B: Forwards (#6-10)

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe continues down the path of evaluating and ranking the Hurricanes prospects. Thus far, part 1 featured the five goalie prospects, part 2 assessed the 15 defensemen in the Hurricanes organization and part 3A had the forwards ranked #1-5. Part 3B today looks at the next set of forwards ranked #6-10. An important starting point is noting that the gap between the forwards ranked 6-10 and those ranked 1-5 yesterday is small. The ability to make even a short-term apples to apples comparison for some of these players in training camp and a couple preseason games, could easily see the top 10 completely juggled based on game action evaluations. In addition, the ultimate success of players in this age group is determined much more by how rapidly and significantly they progress than their starting points.   Prospects with top half of the roster potential and scoring upside – take two   #6 – Aleksi Saarela (Charlotte Checkers-AHL) Saarela is a bit of a wild card and a difficult player to get a read on simply because I have not been able to see him. In two summers since being acquired in the Eric Staal trade, Saarela has yet to make an appearance at PNC Arena because of injuries, being committed to play in Europe and a jump to Charlotte. But we should finally get to see Saarela live in September for the Hurricanes training camp. His resume to this point is a bit sporadic because of injuries but does feature an eye-opening short audition in Charlotte. He quickly collected 6 goals and 10 point in only...
2016-17 partial report cards for forward try outs: Lucas Wallmark and Valentin Zykov

2016-17 partial report cards for forward try outs: Lucas Wallmark and Valentin Zykov

In working through the forward part of the Carolina Hurricanes’ 2016-17 report cards, there are a handful of players who saw some ice time at the NHL level but not really enough to be graded. This final ‘report card’ entry for the forwards will offer brief comments on a couple of those players who made favorable impressions in short stints with the Carolina Hurricanes.   Valentin Zykov If there was an award for volume of impression relative to volume of ice time, Valentin Zykov would be the hands down winner. He played only one game (plus a single shift in his second game that saw him get injured), but made the most of his ice time. Inserted onto a line with Jordan Staal in his NHL debut, Zykov did one thing especially well – consistently going to the front of the net. Because that work yielded a goal and because of the team’s desperate need for more of a power forward element and more presence and production near the crease, a single solid game, 11:53 of ice time and a lone goal were enough for Zykov to be noticed. A check in on Zykov with Jordan Futrell who covers the Charlotte Checkers for Canes and Coffee suggested that the power forward in his game was in fact something he had displayed over a longer stretch of games at the AHL level. And while his style of play that the Hurricanes need to add is a great starting point, Zykov will still enter training camp as more of an unknown and a dark horse to make the opening day roster....
Hurricanes recall Valentin Zykov – Quick thoughts

Hurricanes recall Valentin Zykov – Quick thoughts

With Brock McGinn and Phil Di Giuseppe both sidelined by injuries, the Hurricanes played with 7 defensemen and only 11 forwards on Tuesday night in Colorado. To get back to 12 forwards, the team called up Valentin Zykov from Charlotte on Wednesday, and he is expected to jump right into the lineup for Thursday’s game against the Rangers. The game will be the NHL debut for the 21-year old right wing from St. Petersburg, Russia. Along with Derek Ryan, Brock McGinn, Andrej Nestrasil and Phil Di Giuseppe who have seen fairly extended runs at the NHL level and more recently Patrick Brown, Zykov will be yet another player who could play his way into consideration for the 2017-18 roster with a strong run at the NHL level.   My impression of Valentin Zykov from training camp From watching Zykov in training camp and preseason, what stood out to me was his decent combination of skill and rugged play and comfort level handling the puck and physical contact in the crowded spaces in an NHL game. If he puts it all together, he has a bit of a Mark Recchi element to his game as a strong player who can give and take contact and win physical battles but also with enough skill and hockey sense to be more than a checking line grinder. He skates well enough in terms of skill, but I think the challenge for him could be his ability to play at NHL speed in terms of acceleration and covering the full 200 feet of the rink at NHL pace.   Thoughts from Jordan Futrell on...
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...