February 14, 2013; Raleigh, NC, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Colton Orr (28) and the Carolina Hurricanes right wing Kevin Westgarth (8) fight during the 1st period at the PNC center. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Hurricanes Bottom Six Options: Welsh & Westgarth

With training camp only a few weeks away, Cardiac Cane will look at the candidates for the Carolina Hurricanes’ bottom six, the most contested positions on the team. We will look at two players a day for the next six days, done in alphabetical order.

(Note: Patrick Dwyer and Elias Lindholm were already counted as roster locks)

Jeremy Welsh

Jeremy Welsh (27) in the 2012 Frozen Fours. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

An undrafted free agent out of Union College, the team expected Welsh to be a scorer in the AHL with the Charlotte Checkers and be one of the first called up to the Canes in case of an emergency.

Unfortunately for both parties, Welsh did not live up to expectations scoring 26 points in 69 games and looking more like a third-line energy player rather than a dependable scorer.

But that does not necessarily mean the 25-year-old stands no chance at making the Hurricanes roster this season. He is still reliable in his own end and could make a good fourth-line forward.

Welsh is also versatile and can play any forward position, which increases his chances of making the team. The Ontario native is also big at six-foot-three, which would be a welcome addition to a small offensive lineup.

Welsh will compete with Riley Nash, Aaron Palushaj and Jared Staal for a spot on the team.

Kevin Westgarth

Kevin Westgarth is one of the few returning bottom six forwards from last season. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The lone experienced fighter on the Canes team, Westgarth can be expected to drop the gloves to change the energy of the game or defend a teammate.

But like most enforcers, he doesn’t bring much else to the game. Last season he scored two goals which came in the same game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Westgarth played great that game and if he can play like that in training camp, he’ll lock down a spot with the Hurricanes in no time.

If the Hurricanes feel the need for a fighter, they will look no farther than Westgarth, but if they want someone who can influence the game more, there will be better options in training camp.

It’s likely that the former Los Angeles King makes the team because most teams need a fighter on the roster, but Westgarth will most likely play about half of the team’s games.

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Tags: Carolina Hurricanes Jeremy Welsh Kevin Westgarth NHL Offseason

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