Talk to Canes fans about the “Secret Weapon”, and they instantly know you are talking about Nick Wallin. The rugged defenseman played for the Canes from 2000 to 2010, until he was traded to the San Jose Sharks. Wallin played in 72 playoffs games for the Canes and scored only 3 goals. But those goals are some of the most remembered in Hurricanes history. Nick won the Molson Miricle in 2002 with his OT winner against the Canadians. He beat Curtis Josephs on Mothers Day with another overtime winner to even the Eastern Conference final at 1 game apiece with the Leafs. And who could forget the 2006 goal, again in OT, against Marty Brodeur that gave a Canes a 2-0 advantage in their series against the Devils. Wallin was a solid if unspectacular player that all teams need to win. If Gary Bettman and Don Fehr get around to giving us a 2012 season, do the Canes have a player on the roster that could be a Secret Weapon in their drive to return to the Stanley Cup playoffs? My nominee would be Anthony Stewart.
Stewart certainly didn’t do anything last year to make Caniacs think he will be a key contributor this year. In 2011/12 the 27 year old averaged 8 minutes a game on 12.8 shifts. The fact that he scored 20 points shows that he can contribute if he could find a way to earn more ice time. It seems that Stewart dedicated his off-season to improving his physical fitness and skill. In a story on the Canes web site this past week, http://hurricanes.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=641057&navid=DL|CAR|home Stewart talked about losing 10 pounds and reducing his body fat from 17% to 11%. This has to be good news to Jim Rutherford and Kirk Muller since both have talked about the Canes need to get bigger and tougher for the coming season. Here is a former 1st rounder who could provide both toughness and skill. Plus Stewart is in the last year of a two year contract. Put it all together and the Canes might have that tough guy that management has talked about. Perhaps he could turn into the Secret Weapon #2.
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