And then there were 25.
The Carolina Hurricanes made an additional round of cuts on Thursday morning, intending to assign nine players to the Charlotte Checkers, returning defenseman Haydn Fleury to the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League (WHL) and placing Jordan Staal (3-4 months) on injured reserve.
Forwards Phil Di Giuseppe, Brock McGinn, Carter Sandlak, Brody Sutter and Brendan Woods and defenseman Danny Biega will join the Checkers immediately. Defensemen Michal Jordan and Rasmus Rissanen and goaltender Drew MacIntyre will be assigned pending waivers.
For the first time in training camp, the Canes were able to practice as one group on Thursday at PNC Arena.
“It’s a nice number. One group, and good tempo,” head coach Bill Peters said. “I like the number we’re at right now, and we’ll continue to watch.”
Notable names still in camp include forwards Patrick Brown, Victor Rask, Zach Boychuk, Chris Terry and Chad LaRose (professional tryout). Brown, 22, was signed as a free agent out of Boston College in April, and Peters has liked what he’s seen of him in Prospects Development Camp, Traverse City and now in the exhibition season.
“He’s a good, young pro,” Peters said. “He’s a guy who’s gaining valuable experience. Whether he can make the final push to be on our team on Opening Night is to be determined.”
Rask continues to take steps toward making the Canes roster on Opening Night. He recorded a three-point (2g, 1a) night in Columbus on Wednesday and centered Jeff Skinner and Elias Lindholm in practice on Thursday.
“I’ve got to keep challenging this guy. He’s stepped up to everything we’ve laid out in front of him. The next step is to see if he can be the center of that line and consistently generate offense,” Peters said. “He just does things right, so he gets rewarded.
“There’s always somebody that steps up,” Peters continued. “He’s getting rewarded. He put on strength. He put on good weight. I’ve never seen him play before this year, so I’m not the guy to reference back to what he was like earlier in his career, but all I know is he is a real good player and a responsible player. He makes plays, he’s good on the power play and he’s a good face-off guy. That’s a lot of positive things. That’s what I see.”
Patrick Dwyer, who skated just two shifts in the third period in Columbus due to a lower-body injury, did not practice on Thursday. Alexander Semin, who is coming off offseason wrist surgery, left practice early.
“I haven’t had a chance to follow up, but I hope it’s minor,” Peters said. “I’d like to play him tomorrow and play that line together of Tlusty, Staal and Semin. I think they need some ice time together to get in game shape.”
The Hurricanes will host the Buffalo Sabres in their preseason home finale on Friday. Peters plans to ice a rather experience lineup, one that will likely most resemble the group that will dress a week later on Opening Night. Cam Ward is slated to start in net and play the entire game, while Anton Khudobin is expected to start and play the full 60 minutes in Washington on Sunday.