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Tweetmail No. 247: Camp, Taxi Squad & Jersey Colors

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

Hello and welcome to Tweetmail, a regular feature on in which I answer your Twitter questions, which are mostly about the Carolina Hurricanes. It's a mailbag of tweets. It's Tweetmail. Maybe you learn something, and maybe we have some fun, too.

We start this week with an email question, so let's get to it.

Can the Hurricanes add the players from the World Junior Championships to the training camp roster when the tournament is finished? - Greg C.

Before we get to your question, Greg, how about Team USA?! What an effort in the gold medal match. It was music to my ears to walk into Wake Competition Center this morning and hear Bill Burniston's very USA-centric playlist ringing out in the locker room.

Considering quarantine requirements, the Canes' four prospects who competed in the IIHF World Junior Championship will not be joining the team's training camp, which is already almost halfway over.

What you could see is this: Canes prospects like Ryan Suzuki, Jamieson Rees and Seth Jarvis heading to Chicago until the Ontario Hockey League and Western Hockey League get their seasons off the ground. In a typical season, had they not cracked the Canes' roster, these teenagers would have to play in their junior leagues. To potentially have the opportunity to gain experience at the American Hockey League level, however brief it may be, would be extremely beneficial from a developmental standpoint.

"Any time an athlete has the opportunity to play at a level that is higher than their current club is a learning experience," said Director of Player Personnel Darren Yorke.

Joakim Ryan is in group C1. Is there a rotation for his spot or should we expect him in the main roster? - @leholmes52

At least through the first two days of training camp, there hasn't been a rotation between the groups; it's been Joakim Ryan skating alongside Jake Bean as the fourth defensive pair in group C1, which is the NHL group.

An argument could be made for the Canes carrying Ryan as their seventh defenseman, but there's also a case for him to be placed on the taxi squad.

Speaking of which …

Curious what the early pulse of the team is with the ability to utilize the taxi squad. Does that solve our issue with Ned on a one way deal this season? - @andyjohnson_

OK, so let's talk taxi squad.

The active roster limit remains 23 players for this season, but each team will also carry a taxi squad of four to six players, one of which will have to be a third goaltender if one is not on the team's active roster. The taxi squad will practice with the NHL team and could travel with the team, as needed, too. The taxi squad is designed to help combat an emergency situation in which COVID-19 forces a number of players out of the lineup, and in a year with a flat salary cap, it provides some spending flexibility, too.

Prior to training camp, I chatted with Canes President and General Manager Don Waddell to get his thoughts on how the team might utilize the taxi squad.

"With us, our plan will probably be to carry two forwards, two defensemen and a goalie if we decide to put one there," Waddell said. "We'll see how camp goes and make sure we don't have any injuries or things like that. Then we'll make a decision of who else we'll put on there."

On defense, Ryan and Bean are the two names that jump out, given they've been skating with the NHL group. Bean can be assigned to the taxi squad without having to pass through waivers, so that's almost a no-brainer given the salary cap relief the taxi squad designation allows. Ryan, on the other hand, would have to clear waivers in order to be assigned to the taxi squad. That's not to say the Canes wouldn't make that move, but it's a calculated risk with the reward of salary cap relief, an important consideration given the upper limit is likely to move north very little, if any at all, heading into the 2021-22 season, and both Andrei Svechnikov and Dougie Hamilton are due contract extensions in the near future.

Gustav Forsling and Joey Keane are names to watch on defense, as well. Up front, Max McCormick and Steven Lorentz would make good taxi squad candidates, given both were with the Canes in the bubble and could seamlessly jump into the lineup if called upon.

Alex Nedeljkovic figures to be the team's third goaltender. He would have to pass through waivers to land on the taxi squad, so it might make more sense to keep him on the active roster, especially since he's on a one-way contract.

There's also the possibility Canes could look at someone like Suzuki or Rees or Jarvis for the taxi squad, but it's important to have NHL-depth at the ready.

"We have to make sure when we go on this first road trip of four games that you have bodies that can jump right into the lineup," Waddell said. "You have to make sure you have enough depth on your taxi squad to support what you need at the NHL level."

Only two Friday games on the schedule, so which day will be the new black jersey day? - @MattPetersonPE

Aaaaand only one of those Friday games is at home, so RIP to "On Fridays, we wear black," at least for this season. You won't have to wait long to see this year's uniform schedule, though. It was just finalized and will drop in the coming days.

Speaking of jerseys …

Can you explain how the colors of practice jerseys are used? I know black is defense but haven't been able to figure out the rest and not sure I've seen anyone ever talk about it. - @ArcherforCanes

I featured a similar question way back in Tweetmail No. 83, but that was more than five years ago, so we're overdue for a refresher.

You nailed the first one, @ArcherForCanes. Defensemen (and sometimes a forward who fills in on defense for practice, like Teuvo Teravainen has done before) wear black jerseys. Forwards wear red and white sweaters; two lines dress in red and the other two dress in white. The team used to mix in some extra colors, like gray and blue, but it's been a few seasons since we've seen anything other than red and white. There's no real significance to these colors, aside from differentiating lines.

When practice shifts to special teams work, you might also see the power play dress in red and the penalty kill in white, which results in some sweater swapping or double layering.

Finally, there's the yellow jersey worn by an injured player who is working his way back into the lineup but is not yet cleared for contact. Similar to a quarterback wearing a starkly different shade of jersey in a football practice, the yellow sweater stands out and indicates no physical contact.

As great as WCC is, what's the one thing the team misses from RCI? (stipulation - the answer can't be "the commute") - @TheBenSwain

I asked around, and the resounding answers were "nothing" and "the commute," soooooo …


More questions and answers coming your way soon!

If you have a question you'd like answered or you have something you'll miss about Raleigh Center Ice, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes, or you can drop me an email.

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