River Rats Preview Up At HF.com; Other Loose Ends

My latest at Hockey's Future is posted — it's a season preview of the Hurricanes' AHL affiliate in Albany. It actually should've gone up yesterday, but it had to be tweaked a little because of the Matt Murley situation.

In a way, Murley's departure will probably be good for someone of the Albany guys. Forwards like Harrison Reed, Mike Angelidis, Stefan Chaput, Nick Dodge and Bobby Hughes (if he's healthy) could see increased ice time and opportunities by the opening. However, I wouldn't count out the organization adding another established AHLer to fill Murley's spot.

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Paul Lukas, the mastermind behind ESPN.com Page 2's Uni Watch column, has a breakdown of some of the new jerseys, alternate sweaters, patches and goaltender helmets that will debut this season. He wasn't too thrilled with Carolina's "lazy default option" of choosing a black third jersey, but we won't hold it against him.

He also has a glimpse at ex-Hurricanes netminder Martin Gerber's new Darth Vader mask, for those who haven't seen it. Very cool.

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The Burlington Times-News has a brief article on the overlooked Ryan Bayda, who quietly went about his business this preseason and, after years of being shuttled from the AHL to the NHL and back, seems to have a spot with the Canes finally locked up.

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Finally, LSB is reporting that Zach Boychuk — who heals faster than comic book character Wolverine — might be cleared for contact Monday and maybe play as soon as Oct. 17 in Los Angeles against the Kings. The rule for CHL prospects is they can play up to nine games with their NHL club before the first year of their contract kicks in. After that, the team needs to decide if the player will return to their junior team or stay with the NHL team — the minor leagues is not an option.

It will be interesting to see how it all pans out, because the Hurricanes could certainly use the explosiveness Boychuk provides to fill the void left by Justin Williams' long-term injury, but at the same time they need to be careful that their top pick in the 2008 draft isn't rushed into service too soon.

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