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Tweetmail No. 248: Wingers, Bad Blood & Stories

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / Hurricanes.com

Hello and welcome to Tweetmail, a regular feature on Hurricanes.com 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.

Let's get to it.

We've seen how good the SAT line can look, but if Brind'Amour splits the stars like he did in camp, how good could a Svechnikov-Trocheck-Necas line be, in your opinion? I've always wanted to see Svech and Necas play together. - @coryfogg

The line of Andrei Svechnikov, Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen is a proven trio of elite offensive talent. We know it works. We've seen it work. Rod Brind'Amour knows it works, and he knows if he needs a spark of offense, he can unite the three and let them work their magic.

But, what if the Canes can balance their scoring a little more? What if Nino Niederreiter can rediscover the scoring touch he flexed in early 2019 but proved more elusive to find last season? What happens when you flank Vincent Trocheck, someone who scored 31 goals and totaled 75 points three seasons ago, with two emerging young talents?

Having Niederreiter skate alongside the Finns could kickstart his game. Moving Svechnikov off the top line gives the Canes a more balanced attack, and potentially makes the third-year Russian forward more dangerous if he doesn't have to match up against the opposition's best. A trio of Svechnikov-Trocheck-Necas could make for a potent second line, even if it might break down defensively on occasion.

And, even if it's not Trocheck in the middle, toying with the Svechnikov-Necas wing pair is worth consideration. Lines are going to be fluid, but the more combinations that work, the better, and this has the potential to be a dynamic duo. 

"If we can get those guys together and it works, it's huge for us," Brind'Amour said. "We know that Seabass and Turbo work. Now, if Svech and Necas can be a one-two punch, too, now we're in real good shape. That's something I'd love to get to."

Do you think that, given the format and the potential for built-up "bad blood," we'll see more skirmishes this season? Or fewer because guys just want to play and don't want to risk injury? - @EdTechCaniac

"Rivalry" has been a popular refrain from the Canes when asked about temporary realignment and unique 56-game schedule for the upcoming season. In the newly formed Central Division, the Canes will face seven opponents eight times apiece, and a vast majority of the schedule is grouped into pairs of games - two games against the same opponent in the same city. There's also a stretch of four consecutive games against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the only other representative from the Metropolitan Division, on the calendar from March 18-25.

The schedule, in essence, is filled with mini-playoff series, and, inevitably, this will stir up some bad blood between teams.

"It's going to be fun. It's going to create new rivalries with new teams. We'll get to know another part of the league," said Brett Pesce, a product of the University of New Hampshire. "I do partially like the new format where you're playing teams twice in a row. It kind of reminds me of when I was back in school."

The Canes, though, aren't big in fisticuffs. In fact, according to HockeyFights.com, the Canes had the third-fewest fighting majors in the 2019-20 season (six).

The unique construction of the schedule will have more of an effect on the physicality and chippiness between teams than anything. Injuries are bound to happen just as they are in any other season - this is a contact sport after all - but with roster unpredictability from the ongoing global health crisis, you don't want to see someone get needlessly hurt doing something silly.

Everyone else has been asking boring hockey questions, so I'm gonna ask who brought the best story from the offseason to training camp? - @AlexHerrle

Bill Burniston might not be a fan of changing lanes, but I'm all for it, Alex. Respect.

This might not be the exact type of story you're looking for - let's be honest, finding paper towels or toilet paper in stock is a pretty big accomplishment in the grand scheme of 2020 - but my vote for the best story from the offseason goes to Haydn Fleury.

Fleury had a banner offseason. He got engaged. He got married. He bought a house. And? He's expecting his first child in late July.

Video: "The confidence raised my expectations."

"It's been a busy offseason," he said with a giant grin. "It's a very exciting time."

That's a pretty good story! All the best to Haydn and Jaid.

Question about Jack Drury: He's currently playing in the SHL and getting paid, so does that exempt him from going back to college now? - @tw1st3d_w1ll

That's correct. In signing a professional contract in the Swedish Hockey League, Jack Drury has completed his collegiate career at Harvard. With Ivy League schools canceling winter sports due to the COVID-19 pandmic, Drury made the decision to continue his developmental track as opposed to sitting out a season. The Canes still retain four years of his rights and have a couple years left to sign him to his entry-level contract.

Drury has posted nine goals and 13 assists (22 points) in 31 games with Vaxjo HC this season.

No Meat & Bread, but do you all have some restaurants lined up for this season, or do you wing it once you arrive? Sorry, Bill Burniston. - @Coach_Owen1

My taste buds are sad that they won't be graced with Meat & Bread this season. Though, I did eat it three days in a row while the team was in Canada last season. So, I guess I'm doing OK by the law of averages.

I've got some spots in mind for each of the seven cities we'll visit this year, but some probably won't keep as well in delivery as others. Might have to get creative and/or boring. It's going to be a weird season.

(Can't wait to hear from Bill about not staying in my lane!)


More questions and answers coming your way soon!

If you have a question you'd like answered or you think you have the best story from the offseason, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes, or you can drop me an email.

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