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Tweetmail No. 194: Defensemen, Moves & Theme Nights

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

Hello and welcome to Tweetmail, 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 @speedgoalie: We currently have under contract 7 d-men with Hayden Fleury being the only one who could be sent down. What do you believe our starting defensive lineup to be?

Before we jump into the meat of the question, any defenseman on the roster could theoretically be assigned to Charlotte, but there are the considerations of waivers (for example, someone like Jaccob Slavin would not clear waivers) and one-way salaries (for example, someone like Brett Pesce would earn the same amount of money whether he played in the NHL or AHL). Haydn Fleury, meanwhile, is exempt from waivers and is on his entry-level contract, which pays him differently on the NHL and AHL levels (referred to as a two-way contract). So, yes, with these factors in mind, it's unlikely any defenseman but Fleury would potentially be assigned to Charlotte.

As it stands now, Fleury the likely seventh defenseman. Even after trading Noah Hanifin, the Hurricanes are loaded on the blue line with the additions of Dougie Hamilton and Calvin de Haan.

So, what if:

Slavin-Hamilton
de Haan-Pesce
Faulk-van Riemsdyk
Extra: Fleury

That is a stout blue line, and everyone but Justin Faulk would be slotted in on their natural side. Plus, there's plenty of room for flexibility, whether it's re-pairing Slavin and Pesce or working Fleury into the lineup.

But, let's also consider …

Tweet from @OldNorthStrong: Do you see anymore moves being made? Is the defense a little crowded now? #tweetmail

There's no question the Hurricanes are deep on the blue line. Are they too deep? Is there even such a thing? Probably not, but the Canes at least have options.

Faulk's name is the one that surfaces most often when discussing potential moves on the back-end. Why? With the way the depth chart shakes out now, he's a third-pairing defenseman. He's got two years remaining on his contract that carries a cap hit of $4.83 million per year. He's still young and he's talented, especially from an offensive perspective, so it's easy to see why there is interest from around the league. The Hurricanes, meanwhile, are willing to listen to offers.

"We've said all along there are very few players we wouldn't move for the right deal," President and General Manager Don Waddell told me last week.

Does that mean it's going to happen? No, certainly not, and it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, either, if Faulk was on the Opening Night roster; that makes the team that much better. At the same time, the Canes are actively listening and open to a sensible move.

"We know we were fortunate last year not having too many injuries. Injuries always play a part in this game," Waddell said. "To have another guy (Faulk) with a big shot back there who can bring offense from the blue line is not so bad. I don't feel any urgency or need to say we have to trade this player for sure."

Looking elsewhere, could Jeff Skinner be involved in a transaction? There's a possibility there, too. Skinner has one year remaining on his contract before hitting unrestricted free agency.

"It's very busy. I spent a lot of time, day and night, on the phone with other GMs talking about different deals," Waddell said last week. "[Skinner] is not a player we're going to trade just for the sake of trading him. He's a good guy and a good player. With a new coach, this might be the best thing for everybody. Saying that, if there's a deal we felt was good for us and worked for Jeff since he has a no-trade clause, then we would explore that."

So, back to your original question of if I see any more moves being made, I'd say there's a decent chance something additional happens this summer, but there are no guarantees.

Tweet from @LucasDAndrea95: Any ETA on when we'll get the promotion schedule for the black jerseys?

Per NHL rules, teams can wear their third jerseys 12-15 times during the regular seasons. The Hurricanes have identified their set of games, and those dates have been #CONFIRMED by the league. So, you'll be seeing the third jersey schedule very, very soon.

Speaking of the Canes' new black jerseys, have you pre-ordered yours yet? If not, you can do so right here

Tweet from @Bass8151: Thoughts on having some more themed nights throughout the year?

For sure! Theme nights were, in fact, a focus of one of our marketing discussions this summer. A medley of fun and creative ideas were tossed around. The task now is to narrow down a shortlist of theme nights and assign them to home game dates throughout the season. You'll see popular ones return, like "Star Wars" Night, but we'll be adding a number of new ones, as well.

Stay tuned - more information on various theme nights will be coming your way in the next couple of months. 

Tweet from @lee_taft: Why have you never gotten a Peaky Blinders style haircut? pic.twitter.com/WMFgggAAcv

Oh, a "Peaky Blinders"-style haircut has totally crossed my mind, but it's merely a dream. See, I don't have enough hair. I'm not even sure what I have qualifies as "having hair." The sides of the haircut I can pull off, no problem; it's the top bit that would just be impossible.

Sigh.

***

Join me next week for more questions and more answers!

If you have a question you'd like answered or you'd like to discuss season two of "Goliath," you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes or drop an email here.

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