NASHVILLE - The Carolina Hurricanes suffered a lopsided 10-3 loss to the Washington Capitals in the first game of the 2019 NHL Prospects Showcase.
Forward Eetu Luostarinen and defenseman Chase Priskie led the Canes on the scoresheet with a goal and an assist each.
Here are five takeaways from Saturday afternoon's contest.
1. Team vs. Individual
The Hurricanes obviously didn't get the team result they set out to achieve, but there were certain positives to glean from the opening match of the Prospects Showcase. Namely, the players you expected to stand out did just that.
"We definitely saw some individual things we liked. I thought we got better as the game went on. Obviously, we gave up a lot of goals," head coach Ryan Warsofsky said. "You look at the box score, it doesn't look great, but there are some things that got better as the game went along. We saw some things from some guys, but certainly a lot of work to do."
2. Kuokkanen Returns
After tallying 38 points (12g, 26a) in 48 games with the Charlotte Checkers, Janne Kuokkanen's 2018-19 campaign came to a premature end when he had surgery in March.
Saturday's match marked his return to game action, and it looked as if the speedy, skilled Finnish forward, who has 11 games of NHL experience under his belt, hadn't missed a beat.
"I felt great," he said. "It's a shame that we lost, but I felt really good on the ice. I'm really happy to be back."
"Kuokks looked good coming off that surgery, so that was a positive," Warsofsky said. "His skating was good, and it looked like he got some speed back. He wasn't overthinking it. It was good to see."
3. Bean, Priskie Stand Out
There's a reason the Hurricanes selected Jake Bean with their 13th overall draft pick in 2016. He's a smooth skating defenseman who can move the puck up the ice with ease, and his skill was on display on Saturday, as he stood out from the competition.
During one sequence in the first period, Bean weaved his way through a pair of defenders into the slot, and though he didn't create a scoring opportunity, he dazzled with his ability to hit a seam and find open ice.
Bean's defensive partner, Chase Priskie, who joined the Hurricanes as a free agent after opting not to sign with Washington, was also an impactful player. He tallied a goal, a quick shot off an offensive zone faceoff win, and a primary assist, a shot off the end boards that bounced right to Eetu Luostarinen in front.
"[Priskie] has a great shot and gets up in the play to make things happens," Warsofsky said. "Beaner helps moves pucks, which we saw all last year. Those two were good."
4. Luostarinen Finds the Scoresheet
Joining Priskie on the scoresheet with two points was Luostarinen, who the Canes selected 42nd overall (second round) in 2017 and signed to his three-year, entry-level contract in May.
The Finnish center, listed at 6-foot-3 and 184 pounds, has a nose for the net.
"He goes to the dirty areas. Smart player," Warsofsky said. "He'll get used to the North American style. He's going to be a good player."
5. Get Better
The results of this three-game round robin are, without question, secondary to the larger picture of development, getting a feel for the talent in this organization and giving this group of players a jump start on preparation for training camp and the preseason.
The message is simple: Learn and get better.
"We've got to keep going here and get better, every meeting and every time we get on the ice," Warsofsky said. "We're going to dive into the video and try to teach these kids. Some of these kids haven't been taught the right way to play pro hockey. It takes some time. They're young, and we're probably the youngest team in this tournament, so we're going to have to break down the video and show them things in the right way."
The Hurricanes square off against the Tampa Bay Lightning at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, and the game will be streamed live on Hurricanes.com.
2019 NHL Prospects Showcase
|Saturday, Sept. 7 ||2 p.m. ||Capitals 10, Hurricanes 3 |
|Sunday, Sept. 8 ||5 p.m. ||Hurricanes vs. Lightning |
|Tuesday, Sept. 10 ||2 p.m. ||Hurricanes vs. Predators |
|DATE ||TIME (ET) ||MATCH-UP |