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.
The Hurricanes finished in third place at the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City after winning three of four games, two of which were shutouts. The Hurricanes' squad was loaded with skill and speed, but one misstep felled their attempt at back-to-back championships. Even still, it was a successful week in Michigan, one that affirms how bright the future of this organization continues to be.
So, let's talk stand-outs. I enjoyed the heck out of watching Martin Necas play hockey all week. That kid can fly, and he's not slight in the least bit. During the third period of Tuesday's finale, Necas wheeled around in the offensive zone before threading the needle through two reaching sticks to find Andrew Poturalski open for a goal that put the Canes up 2-0. I'm really interested now to see what Necas can do in his first NHL training camp and how he fares against the best of the best in the preseason.
Janne Kuokkanen is also incredibly skilled. He can create plays - see his drop pass to Roland McKeown on Tuesday's game-opening goal - and he can finish - see his two power-play goals in the first two games of the tournament. I think he'll be one to keep an eye on during training camp.
On the back-end, I found Jake Bean to be pretty impressive. His offensive instincts from the blue line were a big asset, especially on the power play. There was a particular sequence on Tuesday in which he was able to keep the puck in the zone and avoid two pressing defenders to skate it out of harm's way and get it deep. It had the scouts sitting around me in disbelief.
Tournament veterans Haydn Fleury and Roland McKeown were each solid. They'll both come into training camp competing for a spot on the Canes' blue line. We'll see if either of them can take advantage of that opportunity.
The third game nonwithstanding - because, let's be honest, there wasn't much to like anywhere from that match - I thought both Callum Booth and Jeremy Helvig were strong in net. Booth had a nice rebound effort in Tuesday's finale, and he'll be competing for a job in Charlotte this year.
If you missed any of our coverage from the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, you can find all of the written content here and the video content here.
This question is a few weeks old, but I'm resurfacing it now because it's timely. The Hurricanes released their training camp schedule earlier this week and their training camp roster today. The roster features 59 players split into two groups - Team Dineen and Team Kron, named after members of the inaugural Canes squad in honor of the team's 20th Anniversary season. And all players in camp are under contract with the organization, whether it's a one-way, two-way or AHL deal; no professional tryout offers have been extended.
This is going to be an extremely competitive few weeks, as players compete for jobs both in Raleigh and Charlotte. Depth is a great thing, and the Hurricanes have it.
"I think this is going to be the most competitive camp we've had," GM Ron Francis told me this week (and more from that interview is coming soon).
Just as training camp is rapidly approaching, so too is the Caniac Carnival, which is slated for Sunday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at PNC Arena. The event, which will feature activities and fun both inside and outside PNC Arena, is a great way to begin the new season. It's a tradition, and it's sure to be a good time again this year.
On tap you'll find a pair of team practices, an autograph session with Hurricanes players, food trucks, a stick sale and more. The food truck list is extensive and impressive - you should check it out here.
The Red-White scrimmage, usually a staple of the Caniac Carnival, was the victim of the following days' schedule; the Hurricanes are set to play three preseason games in three nights, so adding another game situation to that schedule wasn't quite viable. Instead, fans will be able to get an up-close glimpse at how head coach Bill Peters and his staff run training camp practices. Team Dineen will skate at 10:30 a.m., and Team Kron will practice at 1:30 p.m. A breakdown of those groups is available here.
On a scale of 1-10, one being basically apathetic about anything and everything and 10 being stupidly excited beyond belief, it's probably at a 1997. Let's get this thing going.
Join me next week for more questions and more answers!
If you have a question you'd like answered or you share the same level of excitement, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes or drop an email here.