Your Chicago Wolves are the AHL champions. Calder Cup winners once again, their leading goal scorer was “Big Tex” Stefan Noesen, and after the Canes announced his two-year extension carrying a $762,500 cap hit. With the AHL’s top goal scorer under contract the day before he was set to become an unrestricted free agent, I was asked the very important question: What does this mean for Noesen in the NHL?
Well, if nothing else. Noesen has proven that he knows where the net is. Goal scoring is something that the Hurricanes need. If Noesen gets anywhere near his AHL totals in the NHL, he’ll be given some sort of trophy for it, but if he is nothing more than a steady two-way player that scores 10-15 even-strength goals playing 4th line minutes, he could become a very big part of the lineup.
Many people forget that Noesen has been an NHL player for a long time. He’s played in parts of eight different seasons in the NHL, and has over 200 NHL games. He’s not new to the big leagues by any means and he is a nice player to have around in the farm system just because he is so experienced. In the event of another COVID outbreak or a few injuries, he could be a great call up option.
Is he likely to see NHL time next year? Well, right now, no. Noesen isn’t exactly going to be a favorite to make the team. His AHL success is great and all, but it is very rare to see good talent at the AHL level transition seemlessly into the NHL. It’s reassuring, but to expect Noesen to be a full time NHL player for Carolina next season is a little early to tell. He could be the extra forward or fill in a fourth line role, but nothing is certain yet.