Hello and welcome to a weekly feature on CarolinaHurricanes.com 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.
As with every Prospects Development Camp, I most look forward to seeing this year’s draft class on-ice for the first time. That’s especially the case with this crop of nine selected a couple of weeks ago in Buffalo that includes two first-round picks: defenseman Jake Bean and forward Julien Gauthier. The belief is that Bean, a product of Calgary of the Western Hockey League, could be a future quarterback of the power play in the NHL with his puck-moving skills and shot. Gauthier, a right winger out of the QMJHL, is already built for the NHL at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, so it will be interesting to see how he matches up against his peers.
There are others to keep an eye on as well. Defenseman Haydn Fleury, the seventh overall pick in 2014, is back for a third time. He’s set to begin his professional career this season, as are defensemen Josh Wesley and Roland McKeown.
Even though he was drafted in 2014, this will be goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic’s first development camp, as he’s missed the previous two with injuries. He’ll also begin his professional career this season, likely tending the nets in Charlotte.
This will also be our first look at forward Valentin Zykov, acquired from Los Angeles in February, and Andrew Poturalski, who played 16 games with Charlotte last season after being signed as a free agent out of the University of New Hampshire.
Finally, there are some notable names on the camp invitee list. Defenseman Alex Peters, who was drafted but not signed by Dallas in 2014, is the brother of former Canes goaltender Justin Peters, defenseman Ben Gleason is the cousin of former Canes blue liner Tim Gleason and forward Josh Wilkins is a Raleigh native.
Evening on-ice sessions of Prospects Development Camp are free and open to the public on Wednesday and Thursday. Closed morning sessions will be streamed live on CarolinaHurricanes.com on Thursday and Friday. The week culminates with the Summerfest Celebration on Saturday, which features the final on-ice session of camp, an autograph session with the prospects, an equipment sale and much more. All the details, including a complete camp roster, can be found here.
I can do my best! It’s a lot of hockey squeezed in to not a lot of time.
Friday, Sept. 16 marks the first day of play in the annual NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Mich. A day later on Sept. 17, the first preliminary round game of the World Cup of Hockey will take place, so unfortunately the Canes prospect team will be without Sebastian Aho, who will compete for Team Finland in the World Cup. The Prospects Tournament will wrap up on Tuesday, Sept. 20, while the World Cup runs to Oct. 1, at the latest. As in years past, training camp is set to begin shortly after the prospects tournament concludes, so Teuvo Teravainen, Aho and head coach Bill Peters will be absent from camp (and probably the first few preseason games) until late September or early October.
The start of the season, then, gets pushed back about a week, forcing the Hurricanes on the road for six straight games while the State Fair rolls into Raleigh. Finally, the Hurricanes will open at home on Oct. 28 against the New York Rangers.
Essentially, there is a good bit of overlap, especially with the meat of the World Cup of Hockey tournament and the first two weeks of training camp. We’ll see how – if at all – that affects the Hurricanes and others.
Here’s a question from last week that’s now extremely timely!
You’ve probably seen or heard the news by now, but if you missed it, Curtis Joseph has joined the Hurricanes as a goaltending consultant. This will allow Canes goalie coach David Marcoux to more singularly focus his efforts with the big club, while Joseph spends time in Charlotte (roughly 7-10 days per month, according to Canes GM Ron Francis) and with the Canes’ other goaltending prospects in junior and college hockey around North America.
“Curtis is, in my mind, the perfect guy for it,” Francis said last week. “He has a ton of experience, and he’s a real quality individual. He’s been there and done that, so he can add a lot of experience especially to our young guys.”
Joseph will get right to work, as he’ll be on the ice this week at Prospects Development Camp.
Join me next week for more questions and more answers!
If you have a question you’d like answered or you have any good 4th of July stories to share, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes or drop an email here.
is the Web Producer for the Carolina Hurricanes.Email