Carolina Hurricanes Training Camp Opens Today

Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

Fifty-nine NHL players and hopefuls have descended on Raleigh for the start of training camp. At 8:30am Team A took to the ice to officially kick off workouts.

Though workouts began today, most of the team has already started official activities. Thursday marked physicals and photos day to get everyone ready for the seasons activities.

Though the initial projection or players in camp was 57. However, with Finland being eliminated from the World Cup of Hockey Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen will be joining the team for Friday’s workouts.

One other notable player that are joining the team is former first round pick Haydn Fleury. Fleury suffered an injury in a group stage game in the Traverse City Prospects Tournament. As a precaution he was held out of the rest of the tournament. The NHL hopeful has now been cleared from his lower body injury to begin workouts.

Related Story: Carolina Hurricanes Win Traverse City Prospects Tournament

Aleksi Sarella was also originally held out of the prospect tournament in the hopes that he would be able to skate in training camp. However, the young Finn hasn’t fully recovered from minor surgery this offseason. Management was hoping to get him for camp, but he will have to sit out.

Saarela is one of the top forward prospects for the Carolina Hurricanes and was originally acquired in the Eric Staal trade with the New York Rangers. This off season Saarela signed an entry-level contract, so he will most likely start his season with the Charlotte Checkers.

Prospects Confident Coming into Camp

The prospects fresh off of their tournament win are confident coming into camp. Now they look to ride that wave of confidence into good camp performances. The players that were part of the prospect team will have the added benefit of familiarity with the coaches.

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Bill Peters is still with Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey. With Peters in Toronto until October 1st, Ulf Samuelsson will have a larger role at training camp. Samuelsson is the new head coach of the Charlotte Checkers and coached the prospects in Traverse City.

These factors will make the younger players more competitive in camp which will also drive the vets to work harder to keep their positions. Its a long shot for many of these players to make the NHL roster out of camp this year. Players can however improve their positions in the organizational depth chart.

Brett Pesce and Jaccob Slavin were an example of this last season. They both had good prospect tournaments and camps last year which caught the eye of the coaches. Though they didn’t make the opening night roster, they eventually worked their way up to be mainstays at the NHL level.

Sophomores Come into Camp with Added Pressure

The Carolina Hurricanes are one of the youngest teams in the league, and with youth often comes growing pains. Many young players experience a sophomore slump. Pesce, Slavin, and Hanifin have been working hard to make sure they avoid a performance dip.

All three players come into camp larger than last season. Both Hanifin and Slavin come into camp ten pounds heaver than last season, and Brett Pesce comes in five pounds heavier. This will help the defensemen win physical battles with NHL sized forwards.

All three players exhibited good positioning and skating last season. Now with an additional year, they will be able to come into camp confident, relaxed, and ready to improve on their weaknesses. Now being larger they are quickly becoming all around defensemen.

The three second year players had great seasons last year. However, with such a young and talented organization it is not guaranteed that they will have a spot on the roster. Fellow defensemen Roland McKeown and Haydn Fleury will be gunning hard for a roster spot.

This is not saying they are poor defensemen, the Carolina Hurricanes have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to young capable defensemen. This is the product of what happens when a team successfully builds from the blue line out.

Caniacs don’t have to wait long to see these players in action. the Caniac Carnival on September the 25th and preseason starts Monday. The Canes will travel to DC to take on the Caps on Monday at 7:00pm.

Next: Carolina Hurricanes Announce 2016 Training Camp Schedule

This training camp and preseason will be an interesting one due to the youth of the team. Getting a young group together to gel and improve will go a long way to determine how successful the Canes will be in 2016-2017.