With a nice jolt of excitement and optimism thrown in with the Scott Darling trade and signing, one of the slowest months of the offseason for non-playoff teams like the Canes is actually moving along fairly quickly. At Canes and Coffee, we are about one-third of the way through our ‘report card’ series that will grade every Hurricanes player who had a reasonable stint at the NHL level.

When writing and publishing these articles, I broke them into three general categories (with links for completed player report cards):

== The big three: Jeff Skinner, Jordan Staal and Sebastian Aho. (Their report cards will be next right after I finish the depth forwards.)

== The rest of the top 9: Victor Rask, Elias Lindholm, Teuvo Teravainen and Lee Stempniak.

== Depth/fourth-line forward pool: Brock McGinn, Phil Di Giuseppe, Joakim Nordstrom, Jay McClement, Derek Ryan, Patrick Brown, and Andrej Nestrasil (report coming Saturday).

If you go with my minority opinion that predicts that Francis will protect veteran Lee Stempniak in the expansion draft and instead expose and lose one of Brock McGinn or Phil Di Giuseppe, then the math goes like this.

The Hurricanes have seven top 9 forwards already in tow with hope and reasonable expectation that the team will add one more over the summer. That leaves one spot to be filled either internally or by a fairly inexpensive addition (think Viktor Stalberg and his $1.5 million contract or maybe at the extreme high end Lee Stempniak at $2.5 million from last summer).

With a good combination of older depth forwards, younger players now with NHL experience and the next wave of prospects descending on Raleigh this fall, I think it is within reason to build a capable forward roster with one big addition that adds proven scoring punch then either zero or just one depth players for cheap.

Today’s Coffee Shop hones in on building that depth part of Hurricanes’ forward ranks including filling what I consider to be the open #9 slot (not necessarily on the third line though, it is more about fit and skill set) and also building a solid fourth line mostly if not completely from what is already available.

So for a starting point, let’s assume that the first two categories (Skinner, Staal, Aho, Rask, Lindholm, Teravainen, Stempniak and one big addition fill 8 of the top 9 slots). Let’s also not guess who will be lost to the expansion draft and just use all of the players currently on the roster. With that, the polls and discussion questions focus on filling out the last slot in the top 9 and building a fourth line from the currently available options.

Don’t forget the discussion questions at the bottom of the page.


Carolina Hurricanes polls

Please remember to click ‘vote’ for each individual poll response.


From the currently available options who would you pick to fill the last Hurricanes' top 9 forward slot for 2017-18?

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When building the fourth line, what would be your top priority(s)? (Select up to two.)

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With at least some consideration for position and using only the current players, who would be your fourth line? (Pick 3)

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Who would you put in the #13 slot to be ready in the event of injuries or to spark/help the lineup?

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Would you consider adding a depth forward from outside the current mix to solidify the fourth line after Stalberg's impact in that role last season?

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Discussion questions


1) What is your general approach to filling out the bottom 3-4 forward slots? Do you like an old fashioned tryout that awards slots (considering positions a bit) to the best players in preseason? Do you automatically allocate a slot or 2 to player development? Do you prefer a safe and sound fourth line that sees the kids developing by playing heavy in minutes in the AHL? Or…?

2) From each of three categories, who do you like best? (Category 1-Veterans; Category 2-Young players with some NHL experience; Category 3-Players with very little or zero NHL experience)

3) Do you have any other thoughts/comments related to the polls above?


Go Canes!


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