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, and we’ll begin with a series of email questions – if you don’t have Twitter, you can drop your Tweetmail missives here – from Finland. Hi, Finland!
Me and a couple of my friends from Finland are serious Caniacs and since none of us really has a Twitter account this would be a perfect way to get our questions in!! This is a collection of the most interesting ones! Enjoy. – Tero J.
Thanks for the email, and many thanks for your support abroad! The Hurricanes seem to be stockpiling Finns right now, which I’m sure pleases you. On to a few of the questions you sent along …
What are the odds of Canes clinching a playoff spot in 2016-17?
I’d say the odds are favorable. In year two under head coach Bill Peters, the Hurricanes posted a 15-point improvement over the 2014-15 campaign. Considering Peters’ and the coaching staff’s preparations and the pieces Executive Vice President and General Manager Ron Francis has added in the offseason, I see no reason why the Canes can’t continue to improve.
Will Canes Finnish prospect Sebastian Aho make it to the big club’s opening night roster?
Signs point to yes. Aho had a tremendous season and is set up for an extraordinary opportunity to compete for Team Finland in the World Cup of Hockey as a 19-year-old. He’ll arrive in Canes’ training camp after the World Cup concludes, and I expect this is where he will remain. Peters already knows he wants to get a look at an all-Euro line featuring Aho, Elias Lindholm and Teuvo Teravainen.
Who do you see being the sixth defenseman in the Canes roster? Assuming Faulk, Slavin, Hainsey, Pesce and Hanifin are safe choices?
Those five are essentially locked in, which means the likes of Ryan Murphy, who recently signed a two-year, one-way contract, free agent pick-up Matt Tennyson, Trevor Carrick, Haydn Fleury and Roland McKeown, among others, will be in competition for that sixth spot on the blue line. I’ve said it before this summer, and my prediction remains consistent: I think Murphy grabs a hold of that spot, but don’t at all be surprised if Fleury, who turns pro this year, makes the Opening Night roster. He had a solid final season in Red Deer, and he represented himself very well in his third year at Prospects Development Camp. The next big test for him will be the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Mich., in a month, where he’ll be a “veteran” as well.
I looked back to past years as a reference: it’s been as early as the first week of August and as late as the first week of September, and it so happens that it’s been announced later each year. As far as I know, the roster is essentially finalized. Based on all of that, my succinct-yet-vague answer is that it will likely happen sometime within the next few weeks.
The Hurricanes have been building depth in their prospect pool, so they should ice a pretty talented squad. It is, though, a quick tournament (three round-robin games and a cross-division match-up), so anything can happen. But I think the Canes could have a decent shot at taking home their first tournament championship since 2009.
Mel Brooks. He’s a comedic treasure. “Blazing Saddles” is subversive in nature while also side-splittingly funny. Without a doubt, it’s one of my all-time favorite films.
So, yeah. If you didn’t see the news, Colleen has been traded to Dallas for future considerations; in non-hockey speak, that is to say she’s moving on to become their web manager, and she will do a star-studded job in that position.
I know I can speak for both Coop and myself when I say that she’ll be sorely missed in the digital marketing suite (#DMS). She’s a talented, creative mind who wore a number of different hats. Teamwork did indeed make the dream work, and she was a huge part of our digital footprint. Away from the rink (as rare as that time is, especially during the season), we still liked each other enough to hang out, and she became a great friend who routinely made herself (and the rest of us) laugh.
Colleen will be tough to replace, but we’re going to try! So apply here if you’re interested. I'm admittedly biased, but it's a great opportunity and a fun time.
Join me next week for more questions and more answers!
If you have a question you’d like answered or you also share an affinity for “Blazing Saddles,” you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes or drop an email here.
is the Web Producer for the Carolina Hurricanes.Email