It has been quite a while since I last posted about the Carolina Hurricanes, and a lot has happened. Unfortunately, I was away and not able to attend the Canes Summerfest Event or prospects scrimmage. On a quick note, people have told me that the Summerfest was a great event to go to and it was enjoyed by many. From what I heard, the prospects camp showcased the high energy, interactive tempo that Bill Peters brings to the table. Many came away impressed with the performances of 2012 2nd round pick, Phil Di Giuseppe, and recent 7th overall pick, Haydn Fleury. However, I don’t think any one prospect stood out above the rest in the way Sergei Tolchinsky did last year.
Anyways, I first wanted to discuss the Eric Staal surgery. As reported, Eric recently underwent a surgical procedure to repair a core muscle injury (sports hernia). According to the News & Observer, Staal will be fully recovered by September’s training camp and should be 100% for the start of the regular season. Although all signs point to a healthy Eric Staal, I am rather skeptical about this whole situation. This is the second offseason in which Staal has been injured and had to undergo surgery. He has only missed a total of 17 games in his NHL career, but one must wonder how his body will handle such procedures as he approaches 30 years of age. Eric is notorious for starting seasons slow, and this may hinder him even further. Every fan would say that Staal seemed unlike himself last year and never really regained his normal all-star form. This news is a little concerning, as it’s hard to believe Eric will come out of the gate strong this year. It’s no secret that the Carolina Hurricanes are going to rely heavily on Staal’s leadership and scoring ability. If the Hurricanes have any chance at making the playoffs, their captain will need to lead the way and return to a point or more per game player. Only time will tell, but Canes fans should keep an eye on Staal’s preseason play.
Additionally, the Carolina Hurricanes have signed forward Chad LaRose to a one year deal with the Charlotte Checkers. After a disappointing 2012-2013 season, LaRose went to free agency and failed to sign with a team. However, after seemingly disappearing from the hockey world last year, LaRose is attempting a comeback with the team who first gave him a chance. Personally, I am not a Chad LaRose fan; I admire his hustle and determination, but he is simply not a NHL player, at least not a NHL player on any team except the Carolina Hurricanes. When on top of his game, Chad can be a decent fourth line player that provides energy and net drive. However, in the past, he Hurricanes frequently used LaRose in their top 6, which is completely unacceptable. I hope Chad can make a comeback and prove to be worthy of a fourth line role, but if I’m being honest, I don’t see him as anything more than a top AHL player.
Finally, the Carolina Hurricanes resigned defenseman, Brett Bellemore, to a one-year, two-way deal. I really like the signing because I think Bellemore can be a good 5/6 defenseman at a reasonable price. He provides steady defense on the backend and also plays a physical game, which not many other Canes players can say. However, his signing means that the Hurricanes currently have eight NHL defenseman. If Ryan Murphy proves that he is ready to play full time in the NHL, it seems as though the Hurricanes would have to make a deal and trade at least one of their defenseman. Playing time and pairing consistency are very important, and both cannot be done when a club has eight defenseman under contract. Some decisions must be made in the next one to two months. I think the Hurricanes defense would be best served with Faulk, Sekera, Hainsey, Liles, Bellemore, and Gleason/Harrison.
Let’s hope for a good rest of the offseason! Hockey can’t come soon enough! Go Canes.