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Tweetmail No. 156: Eligibility, Competition & Summer

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

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.

Tweet from @jbkellner: Can you explain the prospect eligibility requirements for the Traverse City tournament? Please and thanks! #Tweetmail

The Hurricanes yesterday released their NHL Prospects Tournament roster, a group that includes four first-round picks. Some questions about the roster-compiling process and player eligibility - including the one above - rolled in naturally, and I'm here to help with answers.

Essentially what needs to be considered is the nature of this tournament. It's a short four-game slate that allows each team to evaluate their top prospects and recently drafted players in a head-to-head game setting. You want to win the tournament, yes, but you also want to get a firm grasp on what kind of talent and skill is in the pipeline. It's a balance, and that's one reason why the rosters shake out the way they do.

Teams are also bound to certain eligibility rules, including limits on how many "professionals" - players who have completed a season in a professional league, such as the American Hockey League or ECHL - can be included on the roster. This year's Hurricanes group features Haydn Fleury, Andrew Poturalski, Josh Wesley and Roland McKeown - all of whom spent time in Charlotte, Florida or, in Poturalski's case, with the Hurricanes, last season - as the "professionals." These are experienced guys that the team will look to for leadership; Fleury was the team captain before getting injured in last year's tournament, and McKeown wore the C afterward.

Questions about some specific names: guys like Alex Nedeljkovic, Sergey Tolchinsky, Lucas Wallmark and Valentin Zykov have been to the tournament (for some, multiple times) and won, in addition to having played professionally last season.

Aleksi Saarela isn't on the roster after having shoulder surgery after the season. The team's college prospects typically don't go to Traverse City since their team activities get going a bit earlier than others. And Europeans who are remaining in Europe for the upcoming season and won't attend training camp also typically don't participate in this tournament.

Hope that covers it all!

Ultimately, the Hurricanes have assembled an impressive group of prospects that should be extremely competitive for a back-to-back championship.

… Oh, and all tournament games will again be streamed live on the FOX Sports Go app and CarolinaHurricanes.com.

Tweet from @LC2point0: What are the major competitions to keep an eye out for in camp?

The fourth line is going to be incredibly intriguing come training camp. Essentially, there are five guys battling it out for three spots. Of course, the remaining extra two will cycle in and out of the lineup as performance and match-ups dictate, but which three will line up there come opening night? Marcus Kruger is the likely center for that line, which leaves Joakim Nordstrom, Brock McGinn, Phil Di Giuseppe and Josh Jooris - at the very least - competing for the wings.

The third defensive pair will also be one to watch. There's Trevor van Riemsdyk, but his partner could be any one of Klas Dahlbeck, Haydn Fleury, Roland McKeown or Trevor Carrick, for instance.

From my perspective, those will be the competitions to watch in training camp.

Tweet from @butlermik3: What are the special promotions that will be happening this year? Such as college rush or family nights

More information on special ticket offers, including the popular College and Military Rush, will be hitting the web in the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

Related: individual game tickets go on sale to the general public on Thursday, Aug. 24 at 10 a.m. Want more information on that? It's here. And in case you missed it yesterday, details on theme nights, experiences and giveaways can be found here.

Tweet from @OptimistiCaniac: Why did y'all schedule opening night on my wedding day? Did y'all not get the save the date? #Tweetmail

Oops. Must have gotten lost in the mail. But congrats! Enjoy the day - it flies by. Hopefully the team can take care of business here to cap off your wedding day with two points.

Tweet from @emohrberg: Labor Day plans?

It's about time for summer's last hurrah, so I'll be sailing around the Caribbean next week, which is why #Tweetmail will be taking at least a week's sabbatical. I hope everyone has a lovely and enjoyable Labor Day weekend. Hockey soon!

***

Join me in September for more questions and more answers!

If you have a question you'd like answered or you'll just really miss #Tweetmail while it takes a vacation, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes or drop an email here.

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