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Tweetmail No. 110: Captain, Defensive Riches & Busy Summer

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
Hello and welcome to a weekly feature on in which I take your Twitter questions about the Carolina Hurricanes or other assorted topics and answer them in mailbag form. Hopefully, the final product is insightful to some degree, and maybe we have some fun along the way.

Let’s get to it.

If I had a vote, I’d put mine in for Jordan Staal. I think this is a prime opportunity for him to take the reins, make this room and team his and lead the Canes back to the playoffs. He’s been an alternate captain for eight straight seasons, dating back to his third season with Pittsburgh in 2008-09. From a leadership standpoint, I think he’s ready to take the next step.

But I wouldn’t be shocked if the Hurricanes went in a different direction, perhaps not naming a captain and instead opting to use alternates only. Consider this from Francis at season’s end: “We’ll sit down as a staff and talk about it, but I’m comfortable heading into next season, if we don’t feel we have the right person for the long haul, leaving that position open and going with [alternates], but that will be something we talk about over the course of the summer.”

Even before the Hurricanes selected Jake Bean 13th overall in Buffalo on Friday, the organization’s depth on defense was mighty impressive. The addition of Bean only supplements that.

What the Hurricanes have now are assets, either in future NHL blue liners or top prospects that can be moved to a team that’s a bit thinner at that position. Every team, including the Hurricanes, is constantly looking for scoring help. Every team is also looking for good, young defenders. The Hurricanes now have the latter in spades thanks to some heady drafting in the last five years and General Manager Ron Francis’ philosophy of building this organization up from its own end and out.

Whether it’s a veteran forward or a younger forward coming to Raleigh in return, the Hurricanes could very well pull the trigger on a trade that would send away one of their young defensemen if that’s the best option to make this team better. As Francis has said time and time again, though, he’s not going to compromise the long-term future of the Hurricanes for a short-term fix; if it’s a young, talented blue liner headed the other way, you better believe the Canes will want an impressive haul in return.

So, logically, yes it makes sense that a trade like this could happen. But realistically, there has to be an offer on the table that makes both parties want to dance.

On Monday afternoon, the Hurricanes cut loose nine restricted free agents who will now become unrestricted free agents come Friday, July 1. With that, there will be some turnover, especially at the depth level in Charlotte. All nine of those players, at one point or another, played with the Checkers; Boychuk, the Checkers’ franchise leader in games played, goals, assists and points, and Jordan, the team’s former captain, headline the group that likely won’t be returning.

But with departures come new arrivals. Forward Clark Bishop, defensemen Haydn Fleury, Josh Wesley and Roland McKeown and goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic are all set to begin their professional careers. Forward Valentin Zykov, acquired from Los Angeles at the trade deadline, is heading into his second pro season, and forward Sebastian Aho is expected to play in North Carolina this season.

As for the summer being relatively busy, it could happen, but to what degree I’m not sure. Francis has long-guarded against the silliness of July 1, so don’t be surprised if the Hurricanes don’t make a huge splash. There could be a depth signing or two, and the Hurricanes would ideally like to fill out their top nine or top six with an additional piece – but who wouldn’t?

It only took me a month, but I made it! And I quite enjoyed it. There are a lot of twists and turns tightly packed into the six-episode story. Cillian Murphy is brilliant once again as Thomas Shelby, whose power and vulnerability has never been greater. Paul Anderson also turns in an amazing performance as Arthur Shelby, and Tom Hardy steals the few scenes in which he appears.

We’ll keep this a spoiler-free zone, so all I’ll say about the final scene is that it’s devastating. And I’m ready for season four.


Join me next week for more questions and more answers!

If you have a question you’d like answered or you want to know my favorite “Auctioneer Beat,” you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes or drop an email here.

Michael Smith
MICHAEL SMITH is the Web Producer for the Carolina Hurricanes.

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