Today’s Daily Cup of Joe again has a youthful theme in detailing what I think prospects/rookies would need to do to crack the opening day roster for the 2018-19 season.
To make the roster out of training camp, Jake Bean would have to be lights out in training camp and preseason games. Even if that happens, it still likely requires an injury for him to see NHL ice time in October.
If Faulk departs via trade, Carrick could benefit with the best chance he has ever had to seize a roster spot even if it is just the #7 role. Younger players like Bean and McKeown will benefit much more from playing regular minutes in Charlotte versus sitting in an NHL press box. As such, Carrick needs to hope Faulk gets traded and no other NHL depth defensemen are added. If that happens, Carrick will need to show that he is capable of being a serviceable third pairing NHL defenseman to keep the team from shopping the waiver wire instead.
To make the team out of training camp, Foegele will need to show that his disruptive forechecking game translates to the NHL level and also that he has some ability to score at the NHL level. Without both of those, he is really just a serviceable fourth line forward. But if his puck disrupting style of play translates to the NHL, he suddenly becomes a nice complementary forward with some offensive upside.
To surprise and make the NHL squad out of training camp, Gauthier would need to do two things. First, he would need to show the ability to produce offensively as a power forward. He has done that sporadically. More significantly, Gauthier needs to do more and stand out more in the gaps between the offensive plays. Or put more directly, he needs to be a noticeable physical force even when he is not scoring. The negative with Gauthier’s past auditions is that he does invisible too well for a player of his size.
Kuokkanen more or less won the preseason tryout last season but rather than sticking around and playing limited minutes, he was sent to Charlotte to continue his development. As such, he should again be in the mix for a roster spot despite the crowded field and the fact that he might have been at least temporarily surpassed by Zykov and Foegele in addition to 2018 draftee Svechnikov. To stay, he will need to outplay the group of young forwards trying to move up.
Best bet is that Maenalanen starts in Charlotte to spend at least a little bit of time adjusting to North America, the NHL game and the bigger rink. To make the lineup out of training camp, Maenalanen would have to outplay the group of players trying to push up from the AHL level and show that he is a superior option to fill out one of the four lines.
For McKeown to break training camp with the big team, it will take a right shot or two falling out of the lineup. A Justin Faulk trade would get McKeown a step closer and possibly give him a chance to compete for the #7 slot, but it likely also takes an injury on the right side of the blue line for McKeown to have a chance. That said, a strong training camp would likely put McKeown in position to be the first call up if a right shot defenseman is injured.
To make the opening day roster, I think Necas needs to show the he is ready for the NHL. Unlike Svechnikov, Necas can play in Charlotte this season and also be recalled, so if he does not look NHL-ready, he could be sent to Charlotte to be recalled after at least a short AHL stint.
At least to start the season, only an injury to Scott Darling or Petr Mrazek would make that possible. If both are healthy, the team is certain to give Darling and Mrazek chances to seize the #1 role, so Nedeljkovic would not get a chance to be considered unless both flop early and leave the team searching for answers in net in November or later.
Roy is in a bit the same situation as Wallmark. To surprise and make the NHL roster, Roy would need to beat out some combination of Necas, Rask and Wallmark to make a surprising move up the depth chart at the center position. That would take a lights out preseason.
For Saarela to crack the opening day lineup, I think he would have click/find chemistry in a certain slot in the lineup and demonstrate that he brings more offensively than some of the other options.
He just needs to look capable. Because the only options for him are to stay at the NHL level or return to juniors, he is almost certain to stay where at a minimum he can continue his development against higher-end competition. Obviously, the hope is that he does much more, but I think that minimum is set pretty low for Svechnikov because of limitations with where he can play in 2018-19.
Despite having a strong 2017-18 season in Charlotte, Wallmark will enter training camp on the outside looking in. To make the NHL roster, he will need to outplay either Martin Necas or Victor Rask by a wide enough margin that he changes the current plan and forces his way into the lineup.
The surest way for Zykov to be in uniform in Raleigh for opening night is to pick up where he left off with Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen. Zykov’s skill set as a crease crasher who can produce without playing much with the puck on his stick is a great complement to Aho/Teravainen. I view him as the incumbent with the Finnish duo, so if he can simply pick up where he left off as a productive third player for that line, I think he stays.
What say you Caniacs?
1) Do you have additions or different opinions on what it takes any of these 14 players to make the Carolina Hurricanes 2018-19 opening day lineup?
2) Which dark horse do you like most to surprise and crack the lineup? (not counting Svechnikov, Necas, Zykov or Foegele)