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Tweetmail No. 97: Line Dominance, Contracts & Odds

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
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.

Really, really awesome.

Not only is the trio responsible for shutting down the opponents’ best, but they’ve also powered the Canes’ offense as of late.

The line has combined for 44 points (19g, 25a) in the last 21 games. Joakim Nordstrom scored the Hurricanes’ first goal on Tuesday, a gift from Flyers’ goaltender Michal Neuvirth, to extend his goal streak to three games.

Jordan Staal also scored again on Tuesday night, a goal that was ultimately the game-winner, to extend his point streak to six games (3g, 6a). The big centerman has 24 points (9g, 15a) in his last 21 games.

“He’s had a stretch here that he’s been dominant, one of the better players in the league in my opinion,” head coach Bill Peters said about him after the game. “That’s a very good line and a line that we count on in a lot of different areas.”

And even as Peters has juggled some of the combinations elsewhere, he’s not touching that line, and for good reason. Staal is playing quite possibly his best hockey as a Hurricane, and Nestrasil and Nordstrom have proven to be valuable complementary pieces.

As far as the Nexus 6P goes, I’m loving it. It’s the best Android phone available right now, and because it’s the best and purest showcase of the Android ecosystem, I would recommend it to anyone currently in the market for a new phone. The screen is vivid and rich, the latest version of Android (Marshmellow) is buttery smooth and zippy, the battery life is great, the fingerprint sensor is second to none in ease of use and quickness and the camera, my goodness, the camera. It’s a tremendous performer all-around, especially in low light, producing some simply gorgeous images. And you get all of this for a very reasonable price, especially compared to other flagship devices.

From my basic understanding of Section 50.5 of the NHL and NHLPA’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA), under certain circumstances, teams can re-acquire contracts in which they’ve retained salary.

The Hurricanes currently have two retained salaries on the books: Tuomo Ruutu and Jay Harrison, both of which expire at the end of the season. If I’m deciphering the legalese of the CBA correctly, the Hurricanes could re-acquire either player because both transactions meet one of the stipulations: it has been more than one calendar year since the trade. The Harrison transaction was most recent, occurring in December 2014.

To answer your question succinctly, is it technically possible? Sure. But is it realistic in any semblance? I don’t think so.

Short answer: Yes.

Longer answer: Yes, but it’s not going to be easy. The Hurricanes are going to need to string together a decent little winning streak – four, five, maybe six games – and avoid stretches in which they don’t gain a point in a number of games. They’re also going to need some help from the teams around them in the standings and take care of business in head-to-head play.

To get to 95 points, which is perhaps the magic number for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference (#fornow), the Canes are going to need 29 points in their last 21 games. A record of, say, 13-5-3 would do the trick. Impossible? No. Easy? No. Doable? Yes.

I said before the season that this team would snag one of the two wild card spots, and while the Canes faced some early adversaries, they’ve been one of the better teams in the league since early December. If that continues, who knows how the standings fall on April 10?

I would be so happy in such a nerdy way.

Let’s see: we’re close to it at least being a possibility in terms of having players wearing those numbers. Haydn Fleury is 4, Andrej Nestrasil is 15, Elias Lindholm is 16, Brock McGinn is 23 and Joakim Nordstrom is 42. That’s only one defenseman, but we can work around that for at least a shift. All that’s missing is a No. 8 and a goaltender. And I’m not sure that would ever even happen.

Maybe in a flash sideways.

***

Join me next week for post-trade deadline (emoji: person raising both hands in celebration) questions and answers!

If you have a question you’d like answered or you want to talk Craig Ferguson’s new show “Join or Die,” you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes or drop an email here.

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