2021 Carolina Hurricanes Season Preview: The Lineup

TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 03: Andrei Svechnikov #37 of the Carolina Hurricanes celebrates with teammates after scoring his second goal against the New York Rangers during the second period of Game Two of the Eastern Conference Qualification Round prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 3, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 03: Andrei Svechnikov #37 of the Carolina Hurricanes celebrates with teammates after scoring his second goal against the New York Rangers during the second period of Game Two of the Eastern Conference Qualification Round prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 3, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images) /
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RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA – MAY 01: Alex Nedeljkovic #39 of the Carolina Hurricanes warms up before Game Three of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the New York Islanders during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena on May 01, 2019, in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA – MAY 01: Alex Nedeljkovic #39 of the Carolina Hurricanes warms up before Game Three of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the New York Islanders during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena on May 01, 2019, in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

The extras

With the NHL mandating that there must be a taxi squad due to the pandemic and the team moving around the country, it makes all too much sense to use it. For those that aren’t aware of how this works, it’s like they’re still in the AHL in terms of cap hit so anything up to 1,050,000 doesn’t affect the cap, and that sum is subtracted from anything over for the cap affect.

So, who likely sits in here? Well, as I mentioned earlier, there must be a third goaltender. Realistically, this leaves two options. Alex Nedeljkovic and Antoine Bibeau. Ned is the likely favorite, although it would damage his development because he’s not going to play. Carolina can’t fit him on the roster without injury, so he’d be sitting in the taxi squad and he really needs the game time.

Bibeau is a different matter. He’s more to make up the numbers. In the event that it is Bibeau that is used, it allows Nedeljkovic to sit in Chicago and play games. I understand that this may be an unpopular opinion, seeing as Nedeljkovic would need to clear waivers. But if he’s sent down in the mosh pit that is the beginning of the season waiver wire, it’s likely that he clears.

Someone else to look out for on the Taxi Squad would be Drew Shore. He’s been out of the NHL for a few years, but a 29-year-old with 97 games of NHL experience is going to be a fine player to slot into the bottom 6 if it really goes south. Obviously, he won’t see the roster if all goes well, but it’s not the worst fallback option in the event of a virus outbreak or something along those lines.

You will have noticed when I talked about the forwards, I missed Morgan Geekie. I’m going to act like that was intentional and put him in here. Geekie currently holds the NHL’s all-time record for points per game in the regular season.  He’s got a career average of 2 PPG. He is literally the best player ever by those cherry-picked metrics. I can’t imagine he’ll start the season on the roster due to the overall seniority of it, but he’ll be the first replacement.

Joakim Ryan is also someone we’re likely to see in the taxi squad. He’ll be carried around from game to game, but he’s really the number 8 defenseman on this team behind the 6 I mentioned earlier and Jake Bean who I have skipped over because he’ll start in the AHL for his development. Ryan can be a nice fill in on the 3rd pairing, allowing others to move up in the event of an injury.

Jeremy Bracco is someone who likely gets a taxi squad place. He’s proved all he can do in the AHL. He’s not quite NHL caliber. He’ll be fine as a fill-in player but he won’t displace anyone on the active roster. He’s going to be a good replacement if there’s a dire need for someone on the 3rd line because someone like Dzingel got sick.

So what about these Canes overall?