Hurricanes' Roster Remainders: What have you done for me lately? (UPDATE) Roster Trimmed To 26

On September 18th twenty-three young men comprising "Group A" were introduced to Raleigh as the 2010 Hurricanes Training Camp opened, amidst Caniac Carnival festivities. Eight days later, only eight hopefuls remain: Staal (theYounger), Nash, Dalpe, Skinner, Pogge, Sanguinetti, Samson and Matsumoto.

Last weekend, the 2010 Carolina Hurricanes training camp officially opened amongst the hoopla of the Caniac Carnival.The 46 players were divided into two groups, and Group A was clearly the new and/or  younger players with little NHL experience. Eight days and four pre-season games later, we're down to 31 players and the cuts have come, as expected, from that opening day Group A. It's not always pretty, but so far I haven't heard many complaints about the first fifteen names knocked out of the running. The next week will be a lot more challenging, and perhaps controversial, as a the competition heats up for a ticket to St Petersburg.

According to comments made by Carolina Hurricanes Head Coach Paul Maurice after the game last night, it looks like two or three more players will find themselves assigned to the Charlotte Checkers (AHL) pretty soon. We also heard yesterday that the Hurricanes plan to bring 24 - 25 players to Europe when they leave Friday after the matinee game vs the Atlanta Thrashers.

After the jump, I've got a look at the compiled stats put up in the preseason for each of the remaining players and have highlighted some details that may indicate a bit better what we can expect between now and Friday.

 

UPDATE at 12:10pm: Not exactly rendering this story useless (but pretty close),  the Canes have announced the following five players have been assigned to Charlotte: Forwards Riley Nash, Jon Matsumoto, Jared Staal and Jerome Samson and Defenseman Bryan Rodney.  Full story. Only 26 players remain. With Samsonov's injury, is this the final cut?

I began this exercise only to discover that NHL.com does not compile preseason stats, so you need to keep two things in mind. One, these are my calculations based on the gamesheets for the first four games. Secondly, we should not in any way regard these stats as the most important or insightful criteria we have to evaluate this set of hockey players. It's pre-season, and winning may not have been as important as other instructions they received from the coaching staff. Also I kept in mind the brave experimentation and the quality of competition, both of which were all over the map. Do not read more into these numbers than what they deserve - a small sample under sorta-gamelike-conditions under a grueling schedule. I provide them more for curiosity than as a window to the future of the season.

If you want to check out the source docs, here are the "Event Sheets" for the four games I used to compile my numbers: Hurricanes vs Panthers, Sept  21Hurricanes at Predators, Sept 23Hurricanes vs Predators, Sept 24 Hurricanes at Atlanta, Sept 25.

Among the forwards, there have been three groups of positional slots we've been focusing on over the last several weeks:

  1. Third line center
  2. Top Four Wings
  3. Bottom Six

CENTERS

 

Starting with the centers, here's a look at those hoping to find a spot behind Eric Staal and Brandon Sutter:


 PLAYER  Games    G     A     P     +/-     PN     PIM     TOT TOI     Avg TOI/G     S     A/B     MS     HT     GV     TK     BS     FW     FL   F%
 12   STAAL, ERIC 2 0 2 2 2 1 2 37.07 18.53 10 2 2 3 2 4 1 17 23  42.5% 
 16   SUTTER, BRANDON 2 0 0 0 -1 0 0 33.75 16.88 2 2 2 3 0 0 1 13 16  44.8% 
 18   MATSUMOTO, JON 3 0 0 0 -2 1 2 35.47 11.82 4 1 0 5 0 1 2 9 17  34.6% 
 22   DALPE, ZAC 3 0 1 1 0 0 0 39.48 13.16 6 1 1 2 1 0 2 12 10       54.5% 
 23   NASH, RILEY 3 0 0 0 -1 1 2 40.67 13.56 2 3 4 1 0 0 1 13 17  43.3% 
 53   SKINNER, JEFF 3 1 1 2 1 0 0 49.75 16.58 9 2 3 2 2 2 1 10 24  29.4% 


Jon Matsumoto, Zac Dalpe, Riley Nash and Jeff Skinner each got three games to show what they bring to the ice, though the quality of their wings varied tremendously. A couple things stand out to me among these three. Skinner led for total and average time on ice with about 16 1/2 minutes per game. Only Staal had more Shots on Goal, with 10 compared to Skinner's 9. Dalpe was third with 6. Dalpe didn't take the most face-offs, but he won over 50%, making him the only player above who did. Matsumoto had the least TOI, the worst plus/minus at -2, and as I recall, the weakest of wing personnel to help him out. Neither Nash nor Matsumoto registered a point, which, again, may be more about fulfilling their assignments.

A little more on Matsumoto: His TOI increased steadily in the three games he played in, from 9:51 to 11:25 to, finally, 14:12 last night. He was -2 in that first game Tuesday night, and even after that. The increasing icetime tells me Maurice is looking hard. In contrast, Riley Nash saw his ice time diminish from 15:34 to 13:33 to 11:53. Does that tell us anything about who's got the inside track for the role of fourth line center? We'll find out this week.

UPDATE: reports from Chip Alexander via @ice_chip twitter, more "cuts to be announced shortly".



WINGS

About all I can say with certainty is that the Hurricanes need eight of them every night, plus a couple spares. With Jiri Tlusty and now Sergei Samsonov questionable with injuries, and reports that Jared Staal and Jerome Samson are en route to Charlotte, we're left with only eight names available to fill those eight spots remaining of those listed below. Except that, as of last night's game and reports from today's practice, Jeff Skinner has been moved over to the left. And Chad LaRose is now finding himself slotted as a center. Nothing's ever simple, is it?

 

 PLAYER Games   G     A     P     +/-     PN     PIM     TOT TOI     Avg TOI/G     S     A/B     MS     HT     GV    TK     BS     FW     FL   F%
 8   O'SULLIVAN, PATRICK    3  2   1   3  0 1 2 43.48 14.49 8 3 3 1 3 2 0 0 0 0
 11   BOYCHUK, ZACH 3  0   0   0  -3 1 2 44.30 14.77 4 2 1 3 0 1 1 0 1 0
 14   SAMSONOV, SERGEI 2  1   0   1  0 1 2 30.83 15.42 3 4 1 0 1 3 0 0 0 0
 15   RUUTU, TUOMO 3  0   0   0  0 2 4 46.05 15.35 3 5 1 9 0 1 1 0 1 0
 21   BOWMAN, DRAYSON 4  0   0   0  -1 1 2 61.97 15.49 11 3 4 9 1 2 1 0 1 0
 26   COLE, ERIK 2  1   1   2  2 0 0 31.90 15.95 3 2 0 1 0 1 1 0 3 0
 29   KOSTOPOULOS, TOM 3  0   1   1  1 0 0 39.68 13.23 2 3 1 3 1 0 2 0 0 0
 34   STAAL, JARED 0  0   0   0  0 0 0 11.05 11.05 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
 36   JOKINEN, JUSSI 2  0   0   0  0 0 0 32.00 16.00 4 3 1 0 1 0 1 2 1 66.7%
 39   DWYER, PATRICK 2  0   0   0  0 0 0 21.75 10.88 2 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 2 0
 59   LAROSE, CHAD 3  0   0   0  0 2 4 45.67 15.22 2 2 3 6 1 3 1 3 7 30.0%
 71   SAMSON, JEROME 2  0   0   0  -2 0 0 24.40 12.20 6 0 2 2 0 2 0 1 0 100.0%


As I see it, until Samsonov and Tlusty are back at 100%, the only real competition at the moment, is between Drayson Bowman and Zach Boychuk and perhaps Patrick Dwyer who joined the Canes midseason last year and was here for 58 games, many of those as the Canes fourth line center, not his natural position. Boychuk, the former first round draft pick in 2008 was in Raleigh for 31 games last season. He worked hard on his conditioning over the summer and many expect him to become a full-time NHLer this season.

Drayson Bowman, a prolific scorer in juniors, was a third-round pick in 2007. But he has shown up stronger than ever before for this camp, and with only 9 games up with the Hurricanes last season, Maurice is apparently intrigued and wants to understand what kind of potential is there. Bowman is one of only two players to play all four games and, with substantial ice time (over 15 minutes/game on average), Mo is seeing a lot. Bowman is a supposed to be a scorer, right?, and his leading the charts with 11 SOG (plus 7 more taken that the goalie didn't touch) is great to see, over his four games. But check out the Hits column - that number 9 there, right below Tuomo "the hitting-machine" Ruutu's 9. (yes, I know Ruu had only 3 games - but you get my drift.)

With full acknowledgment of Boychuk's efforts as he works to be whatever it is Maurice wants from him, at the moment, in my opinion: Advantage Bowman.

I also fully expect we'll be seeing a lot of Dwyer, Bowman and Boychuk on Wednesday.

 

DEFENSEMEN

According to reports that the Hurricanes will have eight dmen with them in Europe, that leaves only one to be sent down to the Queen City this week. Bryan Rodney bruised his knee severely at the game Friday, but is out at practice today in a yellow "no-contact" jersey. Is that enough to send him to Mecklenburg rather than St Petersburg? And what shall I say about Jay Harrison...?

 

 PLAYER Games   G     A     P     +/-     PN     PIM   TOT TOI Avg TOI/G   S     A/B     MS     HT     GV     TK     BS  
 4   D  MCBAIN, JAMIE 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 69.88 23.29 6 2 3 1 1 4 3
 6   D  GLEASON, TIM 3 0 0 0 -1 4 19 51.15 17.05 3 5 1 4 2 3 1
 24   D  SANGUINETTI, BOBBY      3 0 2 2 0 2 4 62.82 20.94 2 5 3 4 0 0 2
 25   D  PITKANEN, JONI 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 25.75 25.75 3 2 1 1 1 0 0
 27   D  CARSON, BRETT 2 0 0 0 0 1 2 41.77 20.88 2 0 0 1 2 0 3
 28   D  RODNEY, BRYAN 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 31.17 15.58 1 1 2 2 1 0 1
 33   D  BABCHUK, ANTON 3 1 1 2 -1 0 0 68.07 22.69 5 3 4 0 1 1 7
 44   D  HARRISON, JAY 4 0 0 0 -5 3 9 66.83 16.71 1 6 1 6 4 3 8
 77   D  CORVO, JOE 2 0 0 1 -1 0 0 43.45 21.73 2 1 1 0 2 3 6


I realize Harrison stands out for his size (6-4, 211) and grit. But looking at the charts, he also shows up at a combined plu/minus of -5. Perhaps four games is not a large enough sample to draw from? He leads all defensemen for blocked shots (8) and hits with six (and is the other player, with Bowman, who has played all four games).

I don't see Bobby Sanguinetti (another of the team's first round picks atending camp this season) heading to our southwest anytime soon - he's outperformed  Rodney (who was undrafted) - from both an offensive (shots taken) and defensive (hits delivered) perspective. 

Is Brett Carson going to be passed over for the Euro-trip in favor of Harrison? Who would Maurice rather have out there at crunch time when the Canes need to shut the other team down? I'm going to be watching Carson, who only has 2 games so far, closely this week. He's never been much of hitting machine - is that gonna change?

One other comment - there have been observations that both Jamie McBain and Anton Babchuk were showing some real physicality at practices. Between them they've been credited with one hit so far.


GOALTENDERS

Finally - last night made all the difference for Cam Ward's numbers. Nothing like a 32-save shutout to do that for ya.

Player  Games (Starts)    Minutes     Goals allowed     Shots faced      GAA       SV %      W     L  
 30   WARD, CAM 2 (2) 92 3 52 1.96 0.942 1 1
 31   POGGE, JUSTIN 2 (1) 88 3 31 2.05 0.903 0 1
 60   PETERS, JUSTIN    2 (1) 60 1 28 1.00 0.964 1 0
 70   MURPHY, MIKE 1 (0) 0 0 0 0.00 0.000 0 0

 

According to reports, there are more cuts expected this afternoon. Take a look at the numbers and see if they match your impressions from what you've seen and read. We don't make the calls, but we have a lot of information to better understand how it's done.

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