Following a weekend in Atlantic Canada, the Carolina Hurricanes returned to Raleigh with two preseason wins and 27 players remaining in camp.
Here are four observations from Monday’s practice at PNC Arena.
1. And Then There Were 27
The Hurricanes trimmed their training camp roster by six players on Monday morning. Forwards Brendan Woods, Sergey Tolchinsky and Phil Di Giuseppe and defenseman Trevor Carrick were assigned to Charlotte’s training camp roster. Forward Brody Sutter and goaltender Drew MacIntyre will also join Charlotte, pending waivers.
The Canes now have 27 players remaining in camp, including 10 defensemen with Haydn Fleury, Noah Hanifin, Brett Pesce and Jaccob Slavin in the mix.
“Now you can start looking around and see who you’re actually competing against for the same spot,” head coach Bill Peters said. “I think if you’re paying attention to that, you’re playing hard and practicing hard to make sure you win one of those jobs.”
The group of 27 practiced as one group on Monday, a situation that is more efficient from an instruction and learning standpoint.
“It’s a lot easier for coaches and players. You’re all out there, everyone is executing at a high pace, and everyone is communicating and talking,” Peters said. “Real good questions, too. Faulker had a great question yesterday in our practice. Staalsy today in our video session stepped up and had a great question. That is what you want: you want interaction, buy-in and feedback.”
2. Two Wins
The Hurricanes went a perfect two-for-two on the road this weekend, earning exhibition wins against the New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators.
It was a back-and-forth affair on Saturday in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which resulted in a 5-3 win for the Hurricanes. Jeff Skinner netted two goals in regulation, including the game-winning goal, and added a third in the 3-on-3 overtime demonstration.
Sunday’s contest in St. John’s, Newfoundland, was more closely contested, with the game knotted at one heading into the third period. Jaccob Slavin’s goal in the last five minutes of regulation was the difference in the Canes’ 2-1 win.
“It’s always good to win. We played better. I thought we had more structure to our game and a little urgency to our game at times,” Peters said of his team’s effort over the weekend. “I liked the way we started last night against Ottawa and the response we had in the third. We took over earlier in the third and stayed with it.”
3. 53 Shines
Thus far in the preseason, Skinner has been an integral part of the Hurricanes’ offense – a good sign, even if the games don’t count just yet.
“It’s always good to see guys do what they do,” Peters said. “If you’re a shutdown forward, and you’re shutting down good players, that’s what you want to see. If you’re a puck-moving D, and you’re moving the puck well in preseason, that’s what you want to see. Skinny has been going to the net, staying at the net and competing hard in offensive zone. He’s getting rewarded for that.”
“All three of my goals, really, were a product of us working as a unit,” Skinner said.
In his five career NHL seasons, Skinner has already hit the 30-goal mark twice, including a career-high 33 tallies in 2013-14. Is he due for another?
“I hope so,” he said with a smile. “Every summer when the season ends, you reflect and refresh to try to come back better than last season. I’ve [scored 30 goals] twice, and now I feel older and more mature. You try to learn and pick up new things as you go along, so hopefully that benefits me and I can get off to a good start.”
In one particular practice sequence on Monday, Skinner sniped a shot glove-side high on Eddie Lack at one end of the ice before racing back to back-check and negate Riley Nash’s scoring opportunity at the other end. Stick taps all around for that effort.
“I’m just playing my game. It sounds simple, and it’s easier said than done,” he said. “When I’m having success, there are little things on the ice going differently than when I’m not.”
4. Two Preseason Games Remain
The Hurricanes will close out their six-game preseason slate this week, as they host Washington on Wednesday and Pittsburgh on Friday. With just 27 players remaining in camp, the roster from one game to the next will likely be very similar. Difficult roster decisions loom, as the Hurricanes will have to trim at least an additional four players from their current roster before opening night on Oct. 8 in Nashville.
is the Web Producer for the Carolina Hurricanes.Email