In advance of Sunday’s preseason finale, the Hurricanes reduced their roster to 22 players presumably locking in the lineup for the regular season opener on Thursday.
The only move that surprised me slightly was that Janne Kuokkanen was cut. Awhile back I had Warren Foegele, Lucas Wallmark and Janne Kuokkanen joining the players that were more or less sure things and pushing the Hurricanes to 14 forwards. But with everyone currently healthy, the team instead opted to send Kuokkanen to Charlotte where he will play a bunch of minutes and likely be the first forward recalled in the event of an injury.
Here are my quick thoughts on the roster and lineup options
After a strong preseason, I figure Scott Darling starts as the 1A and gets the start on Thursday. The team has so much invested in Darling that at least initially there will be a slight bias toward Darling. But the wild card is Darling being pulled from Sunday’s game with a lower body injury.
In terms of cutting one of Warren Foegele, Lucas Wallmark or Janne Kuokkanen, I agree with the decision. Warren Foegele has been the best try out formula, and as I said awhile back is the epitome of what Brind’Amour hockey should look like. Wallmark was a near certainty for two reasons. First, he must clear waivers to go back to the AHL, so the team would not like to risk losing him for nothing. Second, Rask’s injury created an opening at the center position. As such, Kuokkanen was the odd man out. But as a heady, two-way player, I still see Kuokkanen as potentially a great fit on Staal’s line.
His usage and level of play early in the season will be very interesting. As a player who could still be on the trade block when the time is right, his start could have a significant say on his value. After a generally strong preseason, he had a somewhat lesser game on Sunday. I will be curious to see if Brind’Amour leaves Faulk in the top 4 and then how he performs in that role.
Valentin Zykov or Micheal Ferland versus Warren Foegele
I think I am in the minority in preferring Zykov or Ferland over Foegle on Aho’s line. I am fully on board the Warren Foegele train, but I just think his skill set is better suited for a less scoring-centric line.
Haydn Fleury over Trevor van Riemdsyk
I actually think Haydn Fleury outplayed Trevor van Riemsdyk by enough to win an opening night lineup spot. Important to note is that this is not because van Riemsdyk has been bad by any means. Rather, Fleury has been that good.
What say you Canes fans?
1) What are your thoughts on the 22-man lineup?
2) How do you see the team lining up on Thursday night?
3) Is it a foregone conclusion that Scott Darling will starts on opening night? Or could Petr Mrazek get the start?