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Mailbag: Just Getting Started

Questions from the Canes Twittersphere, answered

by Walt Ruff @WaltRuff /

RALEIGH, NC - Many of you likely recall that the legendary Michael Smith called this style piece "Tweetmail". I, like you, thought it was fantastic.

We haven't decided if we're going to stick with that branding moving forward in honor of that, or if we're going to rebrand it to something a little different. Regardless, I was very excited to hear what questions you had and we thought it might be a nice break from the standard practice coverage as well.

While we mull over the future of this piece, let's look past the small details (for now) and get to the important stuff, your questions.


How do you think the locker room chemistry will be affected by all the turnover throughout the team this season? - @Spazman1836

This is an incredibly valid question given all the newcomers. However, off the bat, I can say that this doesn't appear to be a concern for the team.


The team has strong leadership and culture. Starting with Rod Brind'Amour and then carrying to club captain Jordan Staal, the two are on the same page with how the team and roster should be carrying themselves. The players know what they're expected of by Rod and many of them have said that the expectations are very fair. So, if you're a player, and you're pulling your weight, and the guy next to you is pulling their weight, there shouldn't be any problems, right?

Plus, most of the new guys are connected to some of the previously existing guys on the team in some capacity too. Most of them have shared that they'd spoken to players that have been here before signing.

Derek Stepan, for example, had previously played with Brady Skjei, Antti Raanta, Brendan Smith, Jesper Fast and Jordan Martinook during his career already. If there was a reason to not come here, he could've learned of it. Instead, it's the other way around. Stepan has played a leadership role for six seasons of his career, serving as an alternate captain in both Arizona and New York. He made the decision to come here knowing that he likely wouldn't be asked to wear a letter right away and he's joining a roster that is loaded at his position.

This is a team that players WANT to come to.

Now, of course, we're all not naïve to the fact that it's a long season and these guys will spend a lot of time with each other. Things could change and spending that much time around certain individuals for anyone can lead to wear and tear.

But Brind'Amour said the following when asked earlier this week if he's ever (during his time as a player or coach) had someone come to one of his teams and resist the existing culture:

"Generally what happens, in any locker room in professional sports, is that when a player resists, they usually don't stick around very long."


What's a non-roster player *not* named Jarvis or Drury that's causing buzz in the organization? - @leibel

A prospect not named Jarvis or Drury? Those exist?

I kid, of course, but it feels as if all we've talked about is Seth Jarvis lately. Probably nice to spread some attention elsewhere. Great question.

By process of elimination the easy answer here is Jamieson Rees.

He had an outstanding first preseason game against Tampa and he's the last forward prospect on the training camp roster right now, outside of the two aforementioned players. Being blunt, barring any crazy circumstance he's not going to be on the opening night roster, but he's positioned himself very nicely to be in the mix for a recall when an inevitable injury takes place.

Entering his second pro season, the best-case scenario for the 20-year-old is to head to Chicago, make strides in his game and be ready for when the phone rings.


After the off-season moves that have been made why should we buy into this team being better than last season? - @Sirandylawson

Comparisons can be really unfair and I certainly don't want to speak badly on any of the summer departures, but what I can do is touch a little on the newcomers. If I may tease it too, starting Sunday I have breakdowns coming out by position group on the team. For now, here's this:

Over the last few years we've seen Andrei Svechnikov and Sebastian Aho blossom into stars. Martin Necas and Jesperi Kotkaniemi feel next to make that leap.

An obvious gap on the blue line appeared, but as one door closes, another one opens. Brett Pesce is also in that "only getting better" group and now has a legitimate opportunity to show what he's got on the man advantage.

The depth got so much better at the bottom of the lineup thanks to Derek Stepan. He's not that far removed from contributing 50-point seasons and playing top six minutes. He's motivated and determined to get back to that ballpark.

In net, there's no longer a worry of growing pains. There are now two 32-year-old goalies with gas in the tank, playoff experience and a hunger to prove that their best hockey is yet to come.

Mix the potential with the hunger and the leadership? Sure feels like a darn good recipe.


Has their been any talk about additions/updates being added either to PNC itself or the surrounding area? - @rbmorgan23


(Sorry, I can be cryptic.)


What's been your favorite experience so far in your new job? - @KClay1987

Admittedly I got way more personal questions than expected in response to this morning's beckoning for questions, and while I'm happy to answer, I'd just always rather keep the focus on the team.

But, as a portion of this answer, I'm happy to show some love to the team I'm a part of in the Hurricanes front office.

Leaving a job and then moving across the country solo within a week with literally nothing (no car, no furniture, no friends here in town) is crazy. I'd probably be mentally in shambles if the people here weren't so incredible. I genuinely enjoy the people who I work with but just as much it's been awesome getting to interact with you, Canes fans. Granted it's been all digital for now, but there's truly the aspect of warmth amongst the people here and the southern hospitality is very real.

So, I'm very grateful for my coworkers, you and the Hurricanes media team. Everyone's been really kind and it means a lot.

(I'm keeping tabs on Mike Maniscalco though, he says he only had to be nice to me for the first ten days and today was Day 11…)


Not a member of Twitter? We're always happy to take questions at as well!


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