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Nodl Quietly Settles Into New Role with Canes

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
At the end of November, Andreas Nodl found himself in uncharted waters. For the first time in his National Hockey League career, he changed teams.

Michael Smith
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After just over three seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers organization, Nodl was put on waivers. The Carolina Hurricanes claimed him on Nov. 29, and that night, he played in a Canes sweater.

“The first few weeks, it was hard. I’m not going to say I’m an outgoing guy,” he said. “I’m a little more quiet. But, the guys have been really good to me in helping me out a lot, so they’ve made it easy.”

A quiet guy off the ice, Nodl has quietly gone about his business on the ice, as well. In his fourth game with the Hurricanes, Nodl was a healthy extra. He was routinely slotted on the fourth line and didn’t see much ice time.

He was the new guy, and the coaching staff was trying to figure him out. But, he wasn't alone. His first game was also head coach Kirk Muller's first game.

“I give him credit,” Muller said. “I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t know a lot about him. He came in around the same time I did. I’m new, he’s new. Trying to feel it out.

“When personnel changed and [we had] injuries, we put him in a role of a checking left-winger, and he took advantage of it. He’s been playing really well there.”

Nodl has logged 10 or more minutes of ice time in each of his last 11 games. Recently, he’s played as much as 16 minutes. On a line with Brandon Sutter and Patrick Dwyer, Nodl routinely faces the opposition’s top players. Since joining the Hurricanes, Nodl’s plus-minus is even, a testament to the job his line has done against the League’s best.

“I like it a lot. It’s kind of what I did last year with Philly,” he said of his role. “I take a lot of pride in it, and so do Sutter and Dwyer. Every time we’re out there against the top guys, and I don’t think they’ve had much in the last five games. That’s our job.”

“We’ve asked him to play more consistently and take pride in that part, and their line has been great,” Muller said. “Sutter gets a lot of the recognition, but Dwyer and Nodl have done a great job with him as far as shutting down the top lines.”

Amid the line shuffling due to injuries, call-ups and reassignments, Muller has kept that checking line in tact. And why not? It’s quietly been a steady, solid line for the team.

“They’ve gone against some good players on the road and at home,” he said. “[Nodl] is one of the three guys on that line that’s done his part. He’s involved and playing the role perfectly, so there’s no reason to change that group.”

As Nodl has settled into his role with the team on the ice, so has he settled in off the ice. In the past few weeks, he has found an apartment and continues to learn more about his teammates.

“They make it real easy here,” he said, in regards to adjusting to knew surroundings. “The guys are great guys. The coaching staff makes it easy.”

While he said there are no hard feelings for how his time in Philadelphia ended, Nodl knew it was time to move on. The Flyers were going younger, and even though Vienna, Austria native is just 24, he didn’t fit in with their future plans.

Nearly two months later, Nodl has landed on his feet and has been a valuable asset for the Hurricanes’ shutdown line. The on-ice part was easy, he said, since he got thrown right into the mix on day one.

The off-ice aspects – bonding with new teammates, adjusting to a new locker room and learning the ins and outs of the area – took some time. But he’s settled in just fine now.

“I was lucky enough that someone picked me up like Carolina,” he said. “I’m getting the opportunity to actually play and contribute, and I’m pretty thankful for that.”

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