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.
That’s the question of the month, isn’t it? And it’s a thought-provoking one, at that.
Executive Vice President and General Manager Ron Francis has a plan, a vision for this franchise, the end goal of which is to breed a perennial playoff club. The roadmap to that end goal is something that obviously isn’t shared with many people, if more than a handful at all, but there are identifiable markers, including the hiring of head coach Bill Peters and the philosophy of drafting and building organizational depth from defense out.
So now we’re here, in February 2016, a couple months shy of Francis’ two-year anniversary as architect of this team. The Hurricanes are playing well and have been for two months, so much so that the team has worked itself into the playoff picture for the first time in some time. Which leads us right to your question, Kevin.
The Hurricanes have some valuable assets whose contracts are nearing expiration, situations you’re probably all too familiar with: Eric Staal and Cam Ward to name the two headliners, with Kris Versteeg and John-Michael Liles possibly in the mix as well. Conventional thinking is if these players aren’t a part of the long-term plan, it would be wise to acquire assets in exchange, likely from a team searching for an experienced veteran heading into a playoff run. Think of what happened with Andrej Sekera last season, which turned into a first-round pick in this year’s upcoming draft.
And there’s the rub. What if the Hurricanes are that team? Do they still look to acquire pieces for the future or do they hold onto the team as is and see what happens in the postseason?
As difficult as it may be, I think the roadmap has to continue to be followed; don’t veer off the path because you think you might have found a shortcut. Stay the course you’ve planned, and the destination will follow.
And who knows? Any one of those four players listed above could be a part of future plans. I don’t know what Francis has in mind. What I do know is that the next three weeks will be very interesting. How does the team perform? How does that affect what happens in the trade market, if at all? What happens after the deadline, when the Canes play 18 games, including just seven at home? And where does it all end up come April 10?
Whatever the answers may be, it’s clear that Francis and Peters have this team steered in the right direction. It's encouraging, and perhaps above all, it's fun.
Digging up this old question now that I have some answers I can provide.
On Monday, the first sweeping changes of the NHL’s transformative agreement with MLBAM were unveiled: a new NHL.com, a new NHL mobile app, a new video player across all league and club sites and NHL GameCenter’s transformation into NHL.tv.
The redesigned NHL.com is cleaner, mobile-friendly and fairly intuitive, and the mobile app follows a lot of the same design ideas. NHL GameCenter, which is now NHL.tv, brings users live-streaming video at 60fps, a mobile-friendly interface and more.
The one change that also affected the league’s club properties is the new video player. Video content is bigger. The player itself is easier to navigate. The user interface is improved. There will be new highlight packages that will more production-heavy, featuring narration on the front and back ends of the packages and including calls from both broadcasts, if applicable.
What do you think? Let us know your thoughts after checking out the new video hub here.
Then the question becomes: what’s next? I don’t have many details to share at this point – not because I can’t share them, but simply because I don’t know yet – but there is more to come. Content is continually being backfilled in our new video player. Later in the summer, you’ll also see additional changes to CarolinaHurricanes.com, likely in a similar vein to the league’s new site.
Indeed! The Canes will get together as a team in Montreal on Sunday to take in the Panthers-Broncos big game after their 2:30 p.m. faceoff with the Canadiens and then fly back to Raleigh on Monday morning.
Join me next week, hopefully after a Carolina Panthers’ Super Bowl victory, for more questions and more answers!
If you have a question you’d like answered or you want to share a go-to Super Bowl snack, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes or drop an email here.
is the Web Producer for the Carolina Hurricanes.Email