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.
This is just one man’s opinion, but I thought last week’s Prospects Development Camp featured one of the best groups the Canes have iced in recent memory. There was no shortage of talent and size, and the future of this organization seems incredibly bright.
It’s hard to single out one player as most impressive, so I’ll break it down by position.
At forward, a handful stood out for different reasons. Sebastian Aho, selected 35th overall by the Canes this summer, is a very skilled hockey player, and he showed that on the last day of camp when he netted a hat trick in the scrimmage. Still just 17 years old, he’ll be more NHL-ready once he fills out his frame.
“He’s a real good player,” head coach Bill Peters said. “He knows what he has to work on: he has to get stronger and quicker, but his compete is very good. His skill set and vision are outstanding.”
Sergey Tolchinsky, of course, also caught my eye, usually when he was dangling through sticks and bodies before depositing the puck in the back of the net. Can he make a push for the big club? It’s an important summer ahead for the 20-year-old Russian forward.
“He’s a dynamic young guy. He’s going to be fun to watch and fun to see through the exhibition season,” Peters said. “Special skills. He skates well, and he’s got a real good hockey mind. He’s got a chance.”
Other forwards that stood out in no particular order: Warren Foegele, who returned in year two an improved player, and Erik Karlsson, who will make the jump to North America this season.
On defense, obviously Noah Hanifin and Haydn Fleury grabbed much of the attention. The Canes’ top draft picks from the last two years, they will both play a significant role in the organization’s future blue line. Hanifin, who signed his entry-level contract on the final day of camp to turn pro, and Fleury, now 19, will both be ones to watch in training camp.
Other defensemen that stood out in no particular order: Jaccob Slavin and Tyler Ganly are two big boys about to begin their professional careers, and Josh Wesley is no shrimp, either.
It’s more of the same size story in net, where the Canes plopped down four guys who were all at least 6-foot-3 and over 200 pounds. They each received a lot of one-on-one instruction from goaltending coach Dave Marcoux and will be better for it.
“Dave’s done a good job with them,” Peters said. “It’s been an eye-opener for some of them with the puck handling and the amount of emphasis we put on the goalie-D exchange.”
So, all in all, it was a great week showcasing the best of the Canes’ future.
“There were good plays throughout. I thought everyone did a good job getting better as the week moved on,” Peters said. “It went the right way, I know that.”
Great news! Noah Hanifin t-shirts (or “shirseys”) and jerseys are both on order and will be available at The Eye within the next few weeks. We don’t currently have an exact timetable, but the shirseys are likely to arrive before the sweaters.
If you’d like, you can send off a blank Hurricanes jersey to be customized with the No. 5 and a Hanifin nameplate. Turn-around time on that is about four weeks.
Related great news: Eddie Lack shirseys will be available at The Eye soon, as well!
The annual NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Mich., will be held Sept. 11-15, and the Hurricanes will join Chicago (a new participant), Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Minnesota, New York Rangers and St. Louis in the eight-team tournament.
I looked back to previous years to see when the Canes announced their roster, and it’s always been in August, as early as the 3rd and as late as the 28th. So, sometime in August (if not sooner) is a safe bet.
Short, hopeful answer: yes.
Longer, perhaps more realistic answer: maybe.
Here’s the deal. I’d love to bring back The Hurricanes Report podcast, which last existed in the 2013-14 season. It was fun. It was yet another way of delivering Hurricanes news to you, the fan. But Kyle and I usually found time to record an episode when the team was away. Adding travel to my schedule last season basically eliminated that free time to record episodes, so it fell off the map.
My hope is that I can resurrect the pod in some form this upcoming season, whether it’s a solo effort or in shorter, more mini-episodes. But if it returns, I want to make sure we do it right, and I want to make sure it sticks around.
So, stay tuned.
Join me next week for more questions and more answers!
If you have a question you’d like answered or you’d like to see (or hear, I guess) The Hurricanes Report podcast return, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes (or drop an email here).