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.
Are playoffs an unreasonable expectation this season? – Reid F. (@CaniacChef)
If you ask the national media, playoffs are categorically out of the picture for the 2014-15 season. In fact, if it was up to the press, the team might as well just skip straight to next summer’s draft to select Connor McDavid first overall.
Good thing the standings aren’t decided in print.
In no way do I believe making the playoffs is an unreasonable expectation for the Canes this season. Here are some reasons why.
Eric Staal and Alexander Semin are due for rebound seasons. Jiri Tlusty should improve from what was an up-and-down, injury-riddled campaign in 2013-14. Jeff Skinner is a two-time 30-goal scorer and still just 22 years old. Jordan Staal is entering his third season with the Hurricanes and ninth in the NHL – and he’s not even 26 years old. Elias Lindholm will return bigger and stronger, with a year of vital experience in tow. Andrej Sekera and Justin Faulk are poised to be the backbone of the team’s defense once more. Competition between veterans and young guys knocking on the door should drive the defensive depth to be more than capable. And in net, Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin could prove to be one of the league’s best one-two punches.
Not to mention, there is a new coaching staff behind the bench with new ideas and a new attitude. I think fans are going to take note of this from day one of training camp.
Considering the above, I don’t see why the Hurricanes wouldn’t be in the mix for a playoff berth, whether its within the Metropolitan Division or one of the two wild card slots.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!
How much advance notice do you receive from hockey ops on a signing, trade, etc.? – Patrick C. (@PatrickClarke)
Our digital media team – including web and social – gets as much notice as is possible. Sometimes this is a couple hours’ worth, which gives us ample time to prepare the news both on the website and through our social media platforms. Other times it’s mere minutes, especially on a fast-paced day like the trade deadline or at the NHL Draft.
Take Haydn Fleury’s signing of his entry-level contract, for instance (which is what spurred this question). We got notice mid-afternoon, but we had to hold off on publishing the news until we had final word from hockey ops that the terms were indeed agreed upon.
Obviously, the more time we have, the better. And, even if someone like Bob McKenzie or Darren Dreger breaks the news, we have to sit on it until it’s finalized. Twitter moves very quickly, but as a team, we can’t act on any information until we have final word from within.
What are the expectations for Chad LaRose in Charlotte? And what will his role be on the team? – Ryan (@NoFearmx2314)
On a one-year American Hockey League contract with the Charlotte Checkers, Chad LaRose is taking the first step in getting his professional hockey career back on track.
I spoke with Checkers head coach Jeff Daniels in late July about his expectations for LaRose, who did not play professional hockey in 2013-14.
“For us, he’ll be a top player. He’s a guy that has scored at the NHL level,” Daniels said. “The way he can lead by example, the way he works, his personality, the way he prepares … now he can be an example to the young kids coming up.
“The way we’re shaping up, we’re going to be a little younger this year than in years past. A player like Rosey can lead by example and show guys what it takes to get to the next level.”
With top-scorers in Zach Boychuk and Chris Terry potentially ready to make the jump to the big club, LaRose could help fill that void.
“You’ve got to have some guys who can hopefully replace that,” Daniels said. “He’ll get a chance to play and play a lot. I’ll use him in all situations.”
Can we see a @coope87, @MSmithCanes and @ImAmberJaye #IceBucketChallenge? – Liz O. (@emohrberg)
Even better! We rounded up members of the Canes’ marketing department for a group #IceBucketChallenge on Monday afternoon. Enjoy!
Oh yeah, and here’s Canes alumnus Aaron Ward being doused with an Olympia’s worth of ice water.
Join me next week for more questions and more answers!
If you have a question you’d like answered or you need someone to dump a bucket of ice water on your head, you can reach out to me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes.