Carolina Hurricanes: Getting Healthy Over the Break

Dougie Hamilton, Carolina Hurricanes (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Dougie Hamilton, Carolina Hurricanes (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

Although the NHL season is on hold for now, the Carolina Hurricanes have a chance to come back from the break with some key reinforcements. Just who could be activated from IR when play resumes?

Whenever the NHL decides to resume play, several players currently on injured reserve could be activated and join the Carolina Hurricanes’ roster for the remainder of the season. Although it’s unclear exactly when the season will resume or how it will play out, the current break will allow injured Canes time to heal up.

The first name on this list is James Reimer. Missing the past couple of games with a lower body injury following a collision with Jaccob Slavin, Reimer was traveling with the team on their road trip before the NHL decided to put the season on hold. Practicing with the team, it was likely that he was getting close to returning to the lineup.

Now, with at least an additional week or two of recovery time, James could easily be good to go once the season resumes. Going 12-2-2 in his last 18 appearances, his return will go a long way in bolstering the goaltending position.

With the NHL becoming more of a two goalie league, having both Petr Mrazek and James Reimer healthy entering the playoffs will give the Hurricanes a chance to win each and every night.

Trade deadline acquisition Sami Vatanen has yet to make his Canes debut but could do so whenever play resumes. Injured blocking a shot two weeks before the deadline, Vatanen was expected to return in early March. Suffering a few set backs in his road to recovery, the delay gives him time to get back up to speed without missing any more critical games.

As a right shot, offensive minded defenseman, his return would give the Hurricanes something they currently lack on the backend. Right now Trevor van Riemsdyk is the team’s only righty on the blue line, which isn’t ideal. With Vatanen in the fold, the D pairs would see a bit more balance and allow players to play their natural sides.

Should Sami play in five regular season games, the Devils would get a 2020 4th round draft pick. Should he play in 12+ or 70% of Carolina’s playoff games, the Devils would get a 2020 3rd. Otherwise, they’ll get no pick.

Another right shot defenseman, Dougie Hamilton could be back in the Canes lineup in the near future. Having a an All Star, Norris Trophy caliber season, Hamilton had surgery to repair a broken fibula back in January. A similar procedure as Jordan Staal last season, he was expected to miss about three to four months, with a return possible right around the first round of the playoffs.

Depending on how the NHL structures the rest of the season, it is possible he could return with a handful of regular season games remaining.

If this ends up being the case, Dougie will have time to get caught back up to the speed and pace of the game instead of getting thrown into the fire that is the NHL playoffs. With 40 points in 47 games, his offensive awarenesses from the backend has been missed.

With both Dougie and Sami back on the roster, the Carolina Hurricanes will once again have the option of playing three righties and three lefties. In addition to the positional balance, their additions will give the Hurricanes one of the deepest and most talented bluelines in the entire league.

Ryan Dzingel had missed the last two games with an upper body injury, paving the way for Morgan Geekie‘s debut. According to head coach Rod Brind’amour, Dzingel was good to go against the Devils but that game was postponed. The extra time off will allow Ryan more time to heal up in the event that he wasn’t 100%.

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We’re entering the time of year where players tend to play through various undisclosed minor injuries. With that in mind, there’s certainly a few guys on the Canes who are playing a bit banged up that we don’t know about. With this unexpected time off, these players have a chance to heal up a bit right before the playoffs, which could key for championship team.

Getting everyone healthy for the stretch run will be huge for the Carolina Hurricanes and their playoff aspirations. Having a full complement of players, the Canes have enough talent to compete with just about anyone. The added depth this trade deadline allows them to win games when their star players are in a slump, and if everyone is going in unison, boats well for a deep playoff run.

Although the circumstances surrounding the break in NHL is unfortunate, the timing is perfect for Carolina. It would be nice to have Brett Pesce in the fold as well, but he isn’t likely to return until training camp next year.

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Question for CC readers: Who’s return are you most anticipating?