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Tweetmail No. 160: First Two, Sticking Around & Who to Watch

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

Hello and welcome to Tweetmail, now presented by Tijuana Flats! Wear your Canes gear to participating Raleigh locations on Wednesdays throughout the season and receive 50% off any entrée.

Tweetmail is a weekly feature on 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 @SirBenjamin63: After these first two games who have you been impressed by most so far?

There have been a number of encouraging signs early in the season for the Hurricanes, perhaps chief of which is that there's a resilient bunch in the locker room. Twice the Canes have erased third-period deficits to earn points, a trend that perhaps isn't sustainable but positive nonetheless.

These comebacks have been driven by the Canes' top offensive talents, as one might expect. Sebastian Aho had a brilliant third period against Minnesota. Victor Rask's shot to give the Canes a late lead, albeit briefly, was gorgeous. Elias Lindholm was squarely involved with the game-tying goal and go-ahead goal on Saturday. And Jeff Skinner's leaping intercept of a clearing attempt and subsequent snapper to the back of the net salvaged a point for the Canes against a divisional opponent on Tuesday. Janne Kuokkanen has been impressive in his first two career games and has logged five shots on goal.

We'll learn much more about this team in the next week during the annual State Fair road trip.

"It's nice to get some points and continue to build on it. The group still hasn't played our best," Jordan Staal said after Tuesday's game. "We've got room for lots of improvement."

Tweet from @everytimeidavid: Why keep Necas if you���re not going to play him? Inevitably, he won���t have the same flow as playing in the preseason, and it���ll be a waste.

There's a lot to unpack here, but hopefully I can shed some light. Martin Necas, drafted 12th overall by the Canes this summer, had an eye-opening month that began at the NHL Prospects Tournament and continued through training camp and the preseason. So much so that the Hurricanes wanted to keep him around a little longer. And that's good! That's good for the Canes, because they have a talented player they're really excited about, and it's good for Necas, because he gets to continue to learn at the highest level of hockey in the world.

Yes, he has not played in either of the first two games of the season, but that doesn't mean he's not going to get the chance. Maybe he will. Maybe he won't. But either way, he's still gaining experience on the ice at practice and off the ice in the weight room and in interacting with his teammates.

The Hurricanes have a plan for Necas, and it will become clearer over the next few weeks. Whatever decision is made on his status, though, doesn't render this period a waste. It's a valuable learning tool for a young hockey player. In all likelihood, he'll head back to the Czech Republic sooner rather than later, and he'll take with him all the knowledge he's gleaned, only to come back next year an even better hockey player than he already is. 

Tweet from @CarolinaFarside: Players to look out for on the Checkers?

This question is a couple weeks old, and I didn't answer it at the time because the roster of the Charlotte Checkers had yet to be determined; we had an idea of how the lineup might shake out, but I didn't want to get too ahead of anything.

Now, the Checkers are a perfect 2-0 to begin the regular season with come-from-behind regulation wins in Hartford and Wilkes-Barre. The offense has really shined with 10 goals in two games, and it's been the play of Warren Foegele that has stood out.

Foegele has scored four of his team's 10 goals, two in each game and two of which were shorthanded. He's definitely one to watch as the season progresses. Foegele is in his first professional season and he's coming off a banner year in junior hockey in which he helped the Eerie Otters capture an OHL championship. Foegele tallied 63 points (27g, 36a) in 61 regular-season games, and in the OHL playoffs, he earned MVP honors with 13 goals and 26 points in 22 games. Early on in the Checkers season, Foegele has continued that goal-scoring magic. Keep an eye on him moving forward.

Phil Di Giuseppe has also scored a pair of goals and added an assist. Should the Hurricanes need to recall a winger, he'd be at the top of the list. Lucas Wallmark and Patrick Brown are also two to watch down the middle; both have seen time with the big club and have found the scoresheet early in the AHL season.

On defense, look out for Trevor Carrick. He had a solid exhibition season and could potentially be a call-up option if Trevor van Riemsdyk is going to be on the shelf for an extended period of time.

As you can tell, this is a talented Checkers squad. They're competing in a tough division, but so far, so good under the tutelage of head coach Mike Vellucci.


Join me next week for more questions and more answers!

If you have a question you'd like answered or you want to discuss the trailer for "The Last Jedi" (because, wow), you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes or drop an email here.

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