The line up has been set for Sunday's first pre-season game against Washington and prospects will be trying their best to make a good first impression in front of fans as well as the coaches. Peter Laviolette is mixing up the lines and giving most of the rookies a chance to play with established veterans. Here's a quick look at the lines, as reported by Luke DeCock just recently on his blog.
Keith Aucoin, Justin Williams, Drayson Bowman
Eric Staal, Erik Cole, Ryan Bayda
Patrick Dwyer, Brandon Sutter, Nicholas Blanchard
Trevor Letowski, Cory Stillman, Harrison Reed
Luke picks his players to watch, but I'll pick a few of my own out of this bunch. Obviously, everyone will have an eye on number 14, Brandon Sutter. With all the hype after his recent play against the Russians, Caniacs will be hoping for a similar performance against the Capitals tomorrow. Easier said than done! While Keith Aucoin was a big scorer in the AHL and has worked hard on his conditioning this summer, I will be focusing on new draft pick, Drayson Bowman (number 57) on that first line. Many fans have commented about how smooth that kid looked in the rookie camp. He's got plenty of moves, but will he be able to use them against tougher competition? Staal and Cole will be fun to watch on the next line. Good luck to Ryan Bayda in keeping up with them! Playing alongside Pat Dwyer and Sutter is a youngster named Nicholas Blanchard. "Nick" was a late cut last year but really impressed everyone with his hustle. If you didn't see him before, look for him. (number 72) He's fun to watch! Last year, he gave 100% every single shift, recklessly throwing his body into anything that moved. Harrison Reed is also one of the top prospects in the system. It will be interesting to see how he does playing alongside 2 NHL'ers, Letowski and Stillman. Can Trevor get on track early on? I like the idea of mixing the lines like this. It should make for an exciting exhibition game.
The defense will also be dotted with some old and new. Mike Commodore, Dennis Seidenberg, and Tim Gleason will join up with Noah Babin, Wade Brookbank, and Brett Carson. For those of you who enjoy a bit of enforcement in your hockey game, Brookbank has been known to drop the gloves. Keep an eye out for number 28! Mike Leighton and Johnny Grahame will share time between the pipes. Game time is 3PM, but get there earlier in the morning if you need some free tickets. They will be passing them out beginning at 10AM, but the lines are sure to form earlier than that. Of course the Caniac Carnival also starts at 10. There will be live music, demonstrations, and plenty to do for the kids, young and old. It's always a great time!
Yesterday, I discussed the results for the last poll. Glen Wesley just squeaked out a win over Ray Whitney for the Hurricane most deserving of wearing the "A", according to the majority of readers. It was the closest poll we ever had here at CC. Now it's time for a new one! A week ago, I would have thought that the chances of any prospects making the roster this fall were slim and none, but now with the injuries to LaRose and Ladd I think one of the forwards could make the team, at least initially. The new poll will ask for your opinions about which forwards trying out have the best chance of making the team. I'll leave the poll up for a week, just like normal. Remember, one vote per computer. Good Luck!
Let's start this year off with a win, even if it doesn't count. Go Canes!