Carolina Hurricanes training camp is underway with 26 forwards, 16 defensemen and 5 goaltenders. That can mean only a few things. First, and most certain, is that it is almost hockey season. But it also means that there is going to be some moving and shaking before the first puck drop of the season.
As the old saying goes “If “Ifs” and “Buts” were candy and nuts, we’d all be Brent Burns eating a Kit-Kat”
Plenty of players are safely on the “AND” list. They need no notes, “AND” are in training camp to get in shape and pick up a new parking pass for their regular spot. Plenty more find themselves with a good case, “BUT” the chance for the wind to blow either way is there. “IFS” need far more than a breeze to get them going where they want or don’t want as the case may be. They need something more along the lines of a Hurricane.
This will put me in the hot seat with lots of people but Teuvo Teräväinen is securely in the “BUT” section. Although he was hurt last season, and had other concerns off the ice, his numbers were not typical Teuvo Teräväinen numbers when he was at reasonably full strength. A bad training camp, for whatever reason, might not end well but I would put his job at 95% secure.
I put Stefan Noesen in the same boat. Throughout training camp all he needs to focus on is what is right in front of him. The second he looks in the rearview mirror, he is in trouble. No one would refute his numbers last year justifying his spot at the table after training camp, not to mention his scrapping abilities, but his age is not helping him that much.
Neither of these names are here because they haven’t served the team in some role, or because they don’t deserve it BUT…the nature of the beast is that Carolina has 26 forwards and 12 spots. With the talent put on display at the Southeast Rookie Showcase it is pretty easy to see these two have their work cut out for them.
I have already talked, at length, about what I think would be reasonable to expect from Tony DeAngelo. Still, “IF” he doesn’t show up, he should be in the pressbox. He wasn’t worth the money, much less Carolina paying the difference he lost in Philadelphia.
I would put Ryan Suzuki in the “IFS” as well for but for all the right reasons. If he comes out of training camp looking like he did in the Rookie Showcase, he could at least earn a spot as a healthy scratch. Being the optimist I am, I’d like to see it.
Frederik Andersen is another “IF” At least in my book. The talent behind him, that is equal parts skilled, young, and exciting, is too much for him to play his typical style. I am not saying he is a Pyotr Kochetkov poke check away from losing his job. I am saying he should be playing as close to perfect as he can in training camp. “IF” all he has is his usual “Giving up a goal before he decides to start playing” it could end up that he is suiting up elsewhere.
Carolina has too much talent between the pipes to leave sitting on the bench in Raleigh, or worse sitting on an AHL bench. Antti Raanta is as safe as a baby in its’ mother’s arms as a better than capable back-up. Pyotr Kochetkov and Yaniv Perets are too young, and much to good to be wasted. A good training camp from ether should put Frederik Andersen in the hot seat.
Jalen Chatfield is a square one “AND.” He has the better numbers AND the most potential to fill the single slot Carolina’s defense could end up having. Sure it means the Hurricanes threw money at a problem they do not have with TDA and Brendan Lemieux, but neither of them are worth what Chatfield can be.
“AND” there should be no question Brett Pesce leaving training camp without a new deal that locks him in until he is ready not to be. He is worth it, AND needs to be a Hurricane. He has provided the defense Carolina needs. His spot is safe as long as someone does not lose their mind.
Dylan Coghlan was resigned in the offseason “AND” I will sit at home eating plain crackers should he make the cut. This guy is an AHL player and is taking away space from good players. What kept him in Raleigh last season is beyond the grasp of even the most astute of the hockey “fun”dits and pundits.
While going into training camp will be a traffic jam, without an AHL team to farm players to, getting out will likely be an equally chaotic affair. “IFS” are needing more than a lick and a prayer, “BUTS” have a pretty good case. “AND” are really just here for the snack. Anyway we divide it, training camp is underway and hockey season is right around the corner.