Hello and welcome to Tweetmail, a weekly feature on Hurricanes.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.
Martin Necas, like everyone else in training camp, is going to have to earn his spot on the Carolina Hurricanes' roster.
I do believe there is a spot to be had, too, even with an already crowded depth chart and question marks surrounding new contracts for wingers Justin Williams (unrestricted free agent) and Saku Maenalanen (restricted free agent). The Hurricanes are pretty set down the middle with Sebastian Aho, Jordan Staal, Erik Haula and Lucas Wallmark. If Necas makes the team out of camp, which would mark the third straight season he's done so, he figures to slot in as a winger.
Necas played seven games with the Hurricanes in October 2018, but he never logged more than 11:40 of ice time. Then 19 years of age, it was important for Necas, in his first full season in North America, to gain valuable playing experience in as many situations as possible. His best fit, then, was Charlotte.
"I enjoyed the month I spent [with the Hurricanes]. It was great. I didn't feel great about my game. It was tough. You just have to get more comfortable. It was tough to play less minutes," he told me earlier this summer. "I came [to Charlotte] and played big minutes here and feel much better."
In Charlotte, Necas posted 52 points (16g, 36a) in 64 games. He then recorded 13 points (5g, 8a) in 18 playoff games, helping the Checkers capture the Calder Cup, his third straight championship season.
"He's a young player still, and he was outstanding in the playoffs. Very noticeable," Canes GM Don Waddell told me in June. "You watch his progression during the season, and sometimes you look for that dip off. You didn't get that from him. You got his best hockey in April and May."
Now 20 years old, Necas will be one to watch when camp opens up. Can he ride the momentum from the Calder Cup playoffs? Can he play a role with the Hurricanes' this season? I think so.
I don't want to give a hard "no" answer, but it's going to be a tough hill to climb given how the depth chart sorts out right now.
Then again, you could have said the same about Warren Foegele this time last year. Competition will drive training camp, and Morgan Geekie's task is to make management's decision to send him back to Charlotte as difficult as he can.
If his rookie season is any indication - he totaled 46 points (19g, 27a) in 73 regular-season games before an even more impressive 18 points (8g, 10a) in 19 playoff games - he can rise to the occasion.
I chatted with then-Checkers head coach Mike Vellucci about Geekie before the Calder Cup Finals. Here's what he had to say: "He started out on the fourth line. His work ethic was OK, not great. His hockey sense always had it, but maybe not attention to detail. He's done nothing but get better and better. I only have to tell him something once. That's what I love about him. I don't have to show him five, six or seven times the same thing. I show him once and he learns. He's gone from the fourth line to the third to the second and now the number one center playing against everyone's top line and putting up points in the playoffs against really good teams. His progression is outstanding. From Traverse City to now is unbelievable."
So, we'll see.
If the question is "Can you see Morgan Geekie playing games with the Hurricanes this season?" my answer is probably "yes," but making the team out of camp is going to be a more difficult task.
Regardless of Williams' decision - something that I believe will be settled one way or the other in the next couple of weeks - you'll see guys trickle back into town and get on the ice in late August and early September, as skating ramps up in anticipation of training camp, which begins in a month.
The Caniac Carnival is set for Sunday, Sept. 29 at PNC Arena, and, while there won't be an autograph session with the players, the main attraction of the day is the free preseason game between the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes. Free tickets will be available to claim beginning Sept. 4. There will also be free parking, discounts on select food and beverage items and plenty of fun for the whole family at this 20th annual event.
I thought last year's Carnival and Predators-Hurricanes preseason match-up was a blast, especially considering it was just an exhibition game. There was a buzz in the building - an atmosphere you don't typically find for a game that doesn't count for anything in the standings - and both teams iced a competitive lineup.
Don't miss out this season! Mark your calendars. Snag your tickets. Enjoy the final tune-up before Opening Night.
The headlining arena upgrade this summer is the new video board. The framework is currently being assembled on the arena floor. And it's gonna be big.
The new video board, which is 180% larger than the old display, is going to elevate the in-game experience alone, but that in conjunction with the previously installed projection system and theatre lighting will enhance nearly every game night element from the time you walk in PNC Arena's doors to the time you head back to the parking lot (ideally after a Canes win).
You'll be hearing more about theme nights and giveaways early next week, in time to plan out your individual game ticket purchases. I think you'll really dig what we've got planned out for the upcoming season. Reminder! Individual game tickets go on sale to the general public on Thursday, Aug. 22.
Can I say everything?
If I had to pick something, I would say Opening Night. It's Chapter One of a new book. Anticipation. Optimism. Excitement. Promise. It's all there. I'm getting amped up just picturing it. Get ready.
I just got back from an early August vacation about a week ago, and I set sail on another vacation this weekend. See y'all later!
Join me in two weeks for more questions and more answers!
If you have a question you'd like answered or you have something you're looking forward to this season, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes, or you can drop me an email.