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.
What stage do you think the Hurricanes are in? – Thomas O. (@B_Low_)
I’m dredging up this question from seven weeks ago when the first Tweetmail segment hit the site. It was posed prior to the trade deadline, but I think it’s something worth examining in a different frame as the conclusion of the 2013-14 season draws ever near.
Though the Hurricanes are mathematically still in the playoff race, reasonable hope is incredibly slim. The team is on the verge of missing the postseason for the fifth straight season, and, inevitably, changes will occur. That’s no different than any offseason, however, as teams and its players are evaluated under a number of different criteria whether the club wins the championship or receives the first overall draft pick. The question facing the Canes in a summer such as this one will be how many and where those changes might occur.
(Here lies the disclaimer that I am but a humble web producer and not the general manager of the team for a reason.)
From where I sit, I think the Hurricanes have, through the last few years, built a solid foundation for a successful team. The team has depth down the middle with the brothers Staal and Elias Lindholm, who has been allowed to adapt to the NHL game on the wing for much of this season. There’s pure goal-scoring talent on the roster in Alexander Semin and Jeff Skinner. The defense is anchored by Justin Faulk (who just this week signed a six-year contract extension) and Andrej Sekera, and Anton Khudobin has proved to be a valued commodity in net, as the team signed him to a two-year extension.
At times, we’ve seen the Canes hold their own against the top teams in the league, but the inconsistency has been the club’s downfall. As a whole, I think the team is very close to having the pieces in place to be a playoff team. With that said, circumstance could lead to an interesting summer.
What does the front office consider to be the biggest position of need heading into the offseason? – Michael W. (@mcworthington)
I spoke with Canes President and General Manager Jim Rutherford shortly after it was announced that Faulk had been signed to a six-year contract extension. That contract and locking in Khudobin for two additional years were important items for the Canes’ front office.
Beyond that, I’m not sure we’ll see any additional hockey moves made – other than the signing of prospects – until the team settles into the summer.
“I’ve been looking at the overall picture of everything,” Rutherford said. “I think at this point in time, I’m really looking more at my situation and who makes those hockey decisions going forward. Until that’s decided, I don’t foresee any moves.”
When guys are called up from the AHL, do they get stuck in hotels, crash with teammates or does the team have some place they provide for them? Just curious about the logistics of a call-up. – Matt D. (@MattDoc)
I sought out the word of Vice President of Team Operations Brian Tatum for this one, as he’s an expert on all things logistics as it relates to the Canes.
The simple, easy-to-understand answer for this one is that the Canes are responsible for providing a player with a hotel room when they are recalled. Sometimes, the player may choose to stay with teammates, especially among the younger players who rent apartments in the area.
The Collective Bargaining Agreement spells out the above answer in a much more complicated, legal jargon-laced way, but if you dig that sort of thing, Article 13 should have you covered.
In mid-season trades, what equipment can player take? Who covers moving expenses? What about cars? – Carolyn G. (@goCanes_score)
Enter Tatum, again.
The player arrives in his new city with all of his equipment; of course, a uniform and team-specific equipment will be issued to the player. Additionally, his new club is responsible for covering moving expenses, including the transfer of a vehicle.
Again, this is the stripped down answer of what you can find at length in the CBA. Article 14 covers this subject in detail, even listing numerous different (and somewhat hard-to-follow) scenarios.
Join me next week for more questions and more answers!
If you have a question you’d like answered, you can reach out to me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes.