Carolina Hurricanes: What Will a 28 Man Roster Look Like?

Clark Bishop, Carolina Hurricanes (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Clark Bishop, Carolina Hurricanes (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The Carolina Hurricanes will have roster leniency when play resumes.

With the NHL announcing that teams will be allowed to carry 28 skaters and an unlimited amount of goalies for the playoffs, let us take a look at what a Carolina Hurricanes expanded roster could look like?

As an extra precaution, the Nation Hockey League has opted to expand the current 23 man roster limit once play resumes in favor of a a more expanded, 28 skater, unlimited goalie one. With teams being isolated in a single host city for the playoffs they want to be able to keep tabs on all of the players and staff participating to ensure everyone stays safe and healthy.

Having an expanded roster will allow for teams to carry extra skaters should they need to “call up” anyone for any reason. With this new option in place, let us take a look at who the Carolina Hurricanes could possibly add to the roster as added insurance and depth.

Let’s start with the easiest position to predict, goaltending. With an unlimited amount of goalies allowed the Hurricanes likely won’t have to worry about another David Ayres situation should Petr Mrazek and James Reimer both go down the same game yet again.

Even though there isn’t a limit on netminders, I think Alex Nedeljkovic and Anton Forsberg are going to be the only two guys we see named to their official playoff and play-in roster.

Both Nedeljkovic and Forsberg have made a handful of appearances for the Canes this season, so they are familiar with a the locker room and what’s expected from them.

They likely, and hopefully, won’t need to be thrust into action in the postseason, but it is good to have the extra bodies around and available at a moments notice should injuries occur. Jeremey Helvig and Callum Booth are the only two other goalies under contract, but I can’t see either of them joining the team when play resumes.

Upfront 12 guys are locks. They’ve been here all year and have gone through the grind of the season to put Carolina in the playoff picture.  Of course those players are; Sebastian AhoTeuvo Teravainen, Andrei Svechnikov, Vincent Trocheck, Martin Necas, Warren Foegele, Nino Niederreiter, Ryan Dzingel, Jordan Staal, Brock McGinn, Jordan Martinook and Justin Williams.

Given how they’ve been the ones called up a various points this season, I think it’s safe to say Morgan Geekie, Clark Bishop and Brian Gibbons will be among the names added to the expanded roster. Although Gibbons and Bishop aren’t going to bring much offensive production, they are two guys Rod Brind’amour trust and counts on defensively.

It remains to be seen if Geekie will be able to continue his hot start to his NHL career or if he’ll even be in the lineup to start with everyone healthy, but either way I’d expect him to be among the names on the increased roster.

On defense nine players are a lock to be named to the final roster, those of course being; Jaccob Slavin, Dougie Hamilton, Brett Pesce, Brady Skjei, Jake Gardiner, Haydn Fleury, Joel Edmundson, Trevor van Riemsdyk and Sami Vatanen. Although having nine solid defenseman should be more than enough depth for a deep postseason run, Jake Bean will likely be added to the roster as additional assurance.

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With all of the above mentioned names the Carolina Hurricanes would be looking at a 25 man roster, allowing for three additional players. Up to this point I don’t think there hasn’t really been any surprise but, the final three spots are a bit tricky to pin down.

With the prospect depth taking a bit hit at the trade deadline there really isn’t anyone who jumps out as NHL ready aside from Roland McKeown and Gustav Forsling. Although they’re both capable of slotting into the third pair without looking out of place, it doesn’t really make much sense to carry 12 defenseman.

Upfront there’s guys like Steven Lorentz, Max McCormick, Spencer Smallman and Stelio Mattheos who could all be on the radar. Among these players Lorentz seems like type of guy who could slot in and provide a nice physical presence on the fourth line if need be.

Smallman and Mattheos both need some more seasoning before they’re NHL ready and McCormick, although appearing in 71 career NHL games, isn’t much more than a depth piece/solid vet for your AHL squad.

Other possible options are Joey Keane, but once again with the abundance of defenseman doesn’t make much sense, Dominik Bokk and Ryan Suzuki.

Bokk and Suzuki may both seem like odd choices to join the Canes for the postseason since they too are a year or two away from challenging for a roster spot, but the experience of being around the team and watching playoff hockey unclose may be good for their developments.

Both of these guys are expected to be future pieces and top six guys in Raleigh for a long time, so it might be smart to bring them along. Toronto has already said that their top prospect Nick Robertson is going to be joining them, so it only makes sense for Carolina to do the same with their top guys.

After all, the odds of them having to play anyways is extremely unlikely so why not have them around.

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The only other play under a contract with the Canes this season is Jacob Pritchard. Given how low on the depth chart he is currently, I highly doubt he will be among those named to the Hurricanes’ final roster.

Out of the final ten names mentioned, there’s only spots for three. If the Hurricanes decide to carry the full 28 skaters allowed I think Lorentz, McCormick (based solely on having some NHL experience), and one of Forsling and McKeown get the nod.

Like I said, it is highly unlikely that anyone will use all 28 skaters they bring but the option is there for safety. The NHL doesn’t want a situation to occur where a team runs into injury trouble and needs to bring in a player or two into the host city from another location with all of the COVID stuff still going on.

Question for CC readers: Who do you see being added to the Carolina Hurricanes’ roster for the playoffs?

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