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Tweetmail No. 150: Roster Spots, Lines & Free Agents

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

Hello and welcome back (again) 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.

Tweet from @treybarnes05: Who do you see playing with the Canes this year as far as prospects like Gauthier, Roy, Bean, Fleury and that crowd?

Of the folks you mentioned, I think Haydn Fleury has the best chance to see some time with the Hurricanes this season. Among those four prospects, he's the only one who has spent valuable developmental time in the American Hockey League. Playing the entirety of the 2016-17 season with the Charlotte Checkers allowed Fleury to round into form as a professional and set the table for what could be a jump to the National Hockey League this season; related: this is a good read on Fleury from the Checkers' Nick Niedzielski. This summer of training and preparation is critical for Fleury, who could very well push for a roster spot with the big club this season.

I'd also have to consider Roland McKeown and Trevor Carrick in that mix. Both have spent time in the AHL fine-tuning their games and could compete for a depth defensive spot with the Hurricanes this season.

As far as the other names you mentioned, forwards Julien Gauthier and Nicolas Roy will both turn pro this year, and I think it would be best for their development if they could spend some time in Charlotte before making the jump to the NHL. Both, though, will be ones to keep an eye on come training camp because they had solid junior seasons and impressed at Prospects Development Camp - can they now ride that into the upcoming season?

Finally, because of his age, defenseman Jake Bean will have to return to the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League if he does not make the Hurricanes' team. Anything is possible, sure, but it would take a very impressive exhibition season for him to leapfrog Fleury, McKeown and Carrick, among others. And at this point in his career, it's much more beneficial for him to play big minutes with his junior club than spend time as a seventh defenseman in the NHL.

Tweet from @Brox2bChuck: Is Teuvo the 3C or stays on wing? Linemates? Kruger 4C?

I don't think Teuvo Teravainen plays the middle, though if needed he could. I think your centers, at least to start the season, will be Jordan Staal, Victor Rask, Derek Ryan and Marcus Kruger. Teravainen figures to occupy a wing alongside either Staal or Rask, perhaps opposite a guy like Sebastian Aho, Justin Williams or Elias Lindholm.

Kruger will be penciled in as the fourth-line center, I believe, but Josh Jooris could also slot in there if needed. Kruger will likely be flanked by Joakim Nordstrom and Jooris or Brock McGinn or Phil Di Giuseppe - and that's a solid fourth line no matter which way it falls.

Tweet from @imbackinpogform: Any chance whatsoever that Ronnie nabs Jagr? #Tweetmail

I don't think that's in the cards. During Prospects Development Camp, Canes General Manager Ron Francis was asked if he had any contact with his old teammate, Jaromir Jagr, and Francis said he had not. My impression is that it's not the right fit, even if the 45-year-old played all 82 games last season with Florida and put up 46 points (16g, 30a).

But, stranger things.

Tweet from @DStaffordM: There used to be flags in the rafters for all the nations represented on the Canes right? Will Swedish/Finnish flags make a comeback?

This was indeed a thing a few years back: flags hanging in the rafters representing all countries of origin of Hurricanes players. As you've also probably noticed, there are *a lot* of banners and whatnot scattered about the rafters, so these were removed for simplicities sake. And I don't see that changing any time soon.

Tweet from @SirBenjamin63: Will #canescast continue all the way through the season or is this just an off-season installment for now? #tweetmail

We're in it for the long haul!

If you all haven't heard, CanesCast (the official podcast of the Carolina Hurricanes) debuted on June 21. I host it alongside Mike Maniscalco, who makes a living being behind a microphone, so he's kind of a natural at this sort of thing.

The plan is to continue the podcast into the season and beyond. We launched it during the offseason so we could find our footing and hit a groove, and it's another piece of #content for you, the fans, to consume while hockey is away.

We're just four episodes in, but there's much, much more to come. Eventually, interviews with players, staff and more will become a regular part of the show. And, we'll settle on a firm weekly release day; we've sort of been all over the place early on, mostly because of how busy these last few weeks have been, but we have a couple of target days of the week in mind - perhaps Monday, so you can begin your work week with a brand-new edition of CanesCast.

What do you all think? Have you enjoyed it so far? Anything you want to hear moving forward?

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Join me next week for more questions and more answers!

If you have a question you'd like answered or you're a fan of CanesCast, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes or drop an email here.

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