The Carolina Hurricanes are a win now team and with that comes expectations. This is a good position to be in for an organization but the window for winning is smaller in the NHL salary cap era. The future of the franchise is in the minor league system and that is a question right now.
General Manager, Don Waddell, has been around the block in the NHL and has a successful career but has yet to take his team to the promised land.
Since 2018, Waddell has had his fingerprint on this club from top to bottom. The success and the failures can surely be credited to the 64-year-old Detroit native. Has the pressure and excitement of being a championship contender fogged his mind?
It is the second half of August and the Canes still do not have an AHL team. Sure, this team has gone out and made veteran acquisitions that should help the team in the near future but beyond that what is the plan?
Spreading the prospects around the AHL or other leagues is certainly not ideal for any franchise.
One important player that will be affected by this is goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov. Kochetkov took huge strides last season and still has some seasoning left in him for the AHL.
With veteran goalkeepers Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta brought back to Raleigh, the path to NHL playing time is not there for the young Russian. That being said, Andersen and Raanta are about as fragile as they come and will almost undoubtedly be injured this upcoming season.
Kochetkov is going to accumulate some frequent flyer miles between Carolina and wherever Waddell sends him.
The focus seems to be loading up on NHL talent and depth and figuring it out later. The problem is that later is arriving very soon and although this squad is deep, the players will need a place to play. Whether is a disgruntled defenseman, Tony DeAngelo, wondering what his playing time will be or youngsters wondering just where will they be living for the next 6 months.
The Canes are “going for it”, and that is great but the franchise is more than just a year or two future. The goalie to lead this franchise for many years to come should not be in the hands of another organization’s management.
Sooner or later, Waddell is going to need to unveil his plan for the system unless he plans on retiring before this becomes someone else’s problem.