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.
The obligatory: How is it determined which teams the Canes play in the preseason? – Tom E. (@MrWorkrate)
The quick and dirty answer is that preseason scheduling is conducted between teams. I’m not sure of the logistics beyond that, but I assume it involves at least a phone call or two, a drawn-out email chain and maybe even a fax to the league offices. The latest Collective Bargaining Agreement stipulates that teams must play at least six but no more than eight exhibition games.
This year, the Canes are slated to play seven games, including two at PNC Arena. The schedule features home-and-home sets versus Columbus and Buffalo for the second year in a row plus road games against the Islanders, Blues (featuring former head coach Kirk Muller) and Capitals. The Canes’ exhibition schedule kicks off on Sunday, Sept. 21 and concludes two weeks later on Sunday, Oct. 5.
As the release of the NHL’s regular season schedule approaches – it will drop at some point before the NHL Draft on June 27-28 – it’s interesting to note the later conclusion of the preseason. While the Canes’ final preseason game in 2014 will fall on Oct. 5, the Canes faced off against Detroit in the 2013 regular-season opener on Oct. 4, having wrapped up their exhibition slate before the end of September. Because the league won’t have to block out two-and-a-half weeks for the Olympic break, the 2014-15 regular-season schedule should have a bit more breathing room.
Who would you draft with the seventh pick? – Andrew S. (@aschnitt53)
It’s probable that some combination of Sam Bennett, Michael Dal Colle, Leon Draisaitl, Aaron Ekblad and Sam Reinhart will be the first five picks off the board come June 27. If anyone falls out of that group, it could be Dal Colle, and even then, I’m not sure he’s available at No. 7.
Discarding the unpredictability of trades and assuming the above, the Canes would then be looking at forward options such as Nikolaj Ehlers, Kasperi Kapanen, William Nylander, Brendan Perlini, Nick Ritchie and Jake Virtanen and a defensive option such as Haydn Fleury. As of publishing this, we have yet to profile any of these players (great planning!), but most will be forthcoming as the Draft draws nearer.
Picking from the limited pool of players listed above, I’d be inclined to lean toward Ritchie or Virtanen, both of whom are power wingers who aren’t afraid to barrel through defenders using their already imposing frames. Both compare to Milan Lucic in that they’re big-bodied and tough to play against. If I’m at the Canes draft table and either of those two are on the board, that’s who I pick.
Luckily for all of you, though, I will not be at the draft table but rather perched on press row, wherever that might be.
What’s your Corsi in your ball hockey league? – Joe R. (@ribar96)
Oh, it’s probably nothing special bordering on pretty bad. Including blocked shots is key, though, considering I’m a defenseman.
Just tabulating my plus/minus in my head, I’m fairly sure I was a minus player last season, not a huge surprise since we were a minus team.
I’d say our forwards need to shoot more to better our Corsi, but hockey is a team sport. All we can do is put our best foot forward and get better every day. /clichés
Speaking of Corsi, Zach Boychuk and Thomas Hickey had a pretty phenomenal fancy stats exchange on Twitter last week:
How many Cookout trays are you bringing to the Draft? – Rob M. (@RobMixer)
I think the better question is: how well do Cookout trays keep? That I’m not sure of. Getting them through security checkpoints might be a bit of an adventure, too.
Now a BoBerry biscuit, on the other hand …
Join me next week for more questions and more answers!
If you have a question you’d like answered or you’d like to arrange a Bojangles meet-up, you can reach out to me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes.