TAMPA - Hello and welcome back 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 the first Tweetmail of 2019.
Greg McKegg is certainly making an argument for himself, isn't he? In his first game up with the Canes on Friday, he scored a goal and recorded an assist for the first multi-point game of his NHL career. He then recorded another two-point game (1g, 1a) on Long Island on Tuesday, and head coach Rod Brind'Amour singled out McKegg as the team's best forward.
"Love it. Love it. He's a pro. We did a nice job getting him in our organization," Brind'Amour said on Friday. "He had a great training camp and was right there. This was an easy call-up. He's obviously trying to stay here. I love it."
Here's the thing, though. Designated as an emergency call-up, the Hurricanes will have to return McKegg to Charlotte as soon as either Clark Bishop or Jordan Staal return to health (more on them below). However, that doesn't mean he won't be back up; the Canes could simply make a paper transaction to assign McKegg and immediately call him back up.
"You just want to put your best foot forward and contribute any way you can. To chip in at this level is obviously special any time you can," McKegg said on Friday. "To cap it off with a win was pretty awesome."
As for your second question: It's that time of year! With the trade deadline less than 50 days away, rumors will begin to swirl. It makes sense why Micheal Ferland and Dougie Hamilton's names have surfaced, right? Ferland could head to unrestricted free agency this summer, and his style of play - a blend of skill, grit and sandpaper - is coveted around the league. Hamilton, though just acquired this summer, is a right-shot defenseman on a team with a surplus of those. He could command value in return, especially if the Canes are looking to add a scorer.
That's not to say that either will be traded, but that's the rationale behind the rumors you might here.
Yes, there will likely be trades made prior to the Feb. 25 deadline. Now, whether the Canes are buyers or sellers remains to be seen, but they're going to need to continue to string together wins to put them in a viable buying position.
Good question. I did a little bit of statistical digging with the assistance of Hockey Reference and found that our hunches were pretty much correct.
Curtis McElhinney has started in 16 of the Canes' first 42 games in the 2018-19 regular season and has compiled a 10-5-1 record, a 2.25 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage. His GAA is the fourth-best in the league, and he's close to cracking the top 10 for save percentage. Both marks are, of course, well over league average and better than his career averages, as well.
That's to say, it's been a pretty good start for McElhinney, especially considering the fact that the Canes snatched him off waivers in early October as a perceived stopgap while Scott Darling was injured.
Now, how does his start compare to goaltenders in team history? It's up there with the best, at least in terms of GAA and save percentage. (Since McElhinney missed time with injury, his 10 wins don't stack up against workhorse starters the Canes have had in the past.)
In terms of goals-against average, McElhinney's is third-best in team history (since 1997), when looking at goalies with at least 10 games played.
(Without this qualifier, Jorge Alves tops the list with a 0.00 goals-against average. Legend! There's also Anton Khudobin's start in 2013-14, in which he played in just five of the team's first 42 games after missing time with injuries. His numbers in those games were stellar, though, and he sported a 2.21 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage.)
Ahead of McElhinney in terms of goals-against average are only Kevin Weekes in the 2003-04 season (2.03 GAA) and Arturs Irbe in the 1998-99 season (2.15 GAA), and both had played more games than McElhinney in the first half of the season.
In terms of save percentage, McElhinney's is fifth-best in team history, considering the same qualifier.
(Without it, Mike Murphy tops the list with a 1.000 save percentage, despite him taking the loss in his first and only NHL appearance. Khudobin circa 2013-14 is also up there.)
Barely ahead of McElhinney in terms of save percentage are Arturs Irbe in the 1998-99 season (.925), Cam Ward in the 2010-11 season (.923), Kevin Weeks in the 2002-03 season (.923) and Justin Peters in the 2013-14 season (.922).
Both Staal (upper body) and Bishop (lower body) remain day-to-day. Neither player traveled with the Hurricanes on this trip, so I don't have much to pass along other than what we knew prior to leaving. Both players had not yet returned to the ice to skate. After suffering the lower-body injury in Philadelphia on Jan. 3, Bishop returned for an MRI, and the initial thought was the injury wouldn't keep him sidelined for long.
We might learn more once the team returns to Raleigh.
There were some questions surrounding the Tuesday midday recall of defenseman Dan Renouf, but it was simply a precautionary move in case Brett Pesce wasn't able to play. Despite taking the morning skate, Pesce was considered a game-time decision, but by the early evening, he was good to go.
Renouf landed at LaGuardia Airport just after 4 p.m. and arrived at Nassau Coliseum at 5:30 p.m. He took warm-ups and got a sweat in before traveling with the team to Tampa. He's since been reassigned for Charlotte.
The 3D projection system belongs to PNC Arena, as does the new theatre lighting rigs that were recently installed. The Canes soft launched the 3D projection system on Whalers Night, and the theatre lighting has been featured in a number of pregame sequences. You'll see both get more and more usage as the season moves along.
Join me next week for more questions and more answers!
If you have a question you'd like answered or you missed CanesCast this week, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes, or you can drop me an email.