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Tweetmail No. 50: Fleury, Waivers & Maintenance

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
Michael Smith

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GLENDALE – Tweetmail hits the half-century mark. It’s almost time for a birthday party!

This is 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.

Is Haydn Fleury someone who will see playing time next year or is he someone who will take longer to develop? – Jason B. (@BuyMeABurrito)

Time is going to tell with Haydn Fleury.

Late in the summer, he stated that his goal was to make the team as a 19-year-old, which would be the 2015-16 season. The Hurricanes, I’m sure, would be more than delighted if this came to fruition.

The fact of the matter, though – and this is something that was emphasized by the Canes’ head of amateur scouting Tony MacDonald and general manager Ron Francis on draft day – is that defensemen typically take longer to develop than forwards, and Fleury is still just 18 years old.

“You always want to be careful with young defensemen. They do take a little longer [to develop]. A lot of times you don’t know what you have until they are about 22 or 23, quite frankly,” Francis said on June 27, 2014 in Philadelphia. “Ultimately, you want to do what’s best for Haydn and our franchise in the long-term, not the short term.”

“It’s a steeper learning curve for the defensemen. At the NHL level, it’s tough for these guys to come in and make an impact right away. It takes them a little longer,” MacDonald said on draft day. “It’s a challenging position to play, and there are a lot of things to learn. But when a player has the signs and the tools … you can do a lot with that kind of player.”

Now in his third full season with the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League, Fleury ranks second among team defensemen in scoring with 17 points (3g, 14a), and two of his three goals have been scored on the power play.

It was a bit of a bummer to not see Fleury crack Team Canada’s World Junior roster, but this wouldn’t be the first or last instance of a player with great NHL potential to be snubbed.

This is going to be an important summer for Fleury, and it will be interesting to assess the young defenseman’s progress when he likely participates in Prospects Development Camp in July, the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City in September and training camp shortly after that.

When a player gets waived, what happens to his contract? Is the team still on the hook for money? –Chris A. (@PotPizzle)

It’s actually pretty simple under the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement, which nixed re-entry waivers.

If the player is not claimed on waivers and is assigned to the AHL, obviously nothing happens to the contract; the team may feel a small bit of relief when it comes to the cap hit, but the player is still owed the full amount of his contract.

If a player is claimed, the claiming team accepts the full dollar amount and term remaining on the contract. This likely is one of the main reasons why Los Angeles Kings forward Mike Richards, who carries a $5.75-million cap hit for five additional seasons after this one, went unclaimed on waivers just over a week ago.

What is a maintenance day for a player? – Mike N. (@fatmike675)

“Maintenance day” is a fancy way of saying that a player did not practice because he required some time away from the ice to nurse a nagging injury or receive treatment on something that just might not feel right. Typically, the phrase is tossed around in situations in which a player is healthy enough to play a game and could probably practice but is being held out just to be safe.

To draw a parallel, say you wake up one morning feeling a little groggy. Instead of going to work and pushing through it, you take a sick day or work from home, a “maintenance day,” if you will.

Are you a fan of the left shark or the right shark? – Colleen H. (@C0lleenHamilton)

#LeftShark all day.

The right shark has that swag, just nailing all the moves. But the left shark, he’s the one with which we can all identify, whether in personality, mood or general day-to-day goings on. That warms my heart and makes me laugh.


Join me next week for more questions and more answers!

If you have a question you’d like answered or you’d like to have a hard-hitting discussion on the best and worst Super Bowl commercials, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes (or drop an email here).

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