Hello Canes Country!
My apologies for the sudden disappearance, I was making my move to the triangle area from Denver and what a lovely area it is. My wife and I love it and my son can’t get enough of all the greenery here.
Now, back to business…
Before I left Colorado, the Hurricanes had signed a free agent that I have watched quite a bit in game and at practice, obviously that player being Aaron Palushaj.
Palushaj should fit well here in Carolina. He plays a faster game than some of the other teams he’s been with, one being Montreal. His game never really complimented their style of play at all and I think he really hasn’t gotten a fair shake. In Montreal he was under-valued and under-used and in Colorado I think, as a lot of players in Colorado were, he was mis-managed and under-coached.
Palushaj likes to sneak around the ice, hovering in his zone and sort of weaving in and out of tight spots. He compliments faster forwards like Matt Duchene, whom he had some chemistry with and Ryan O’Reilly, whom he also spent some time on a line with. He isn’t really creating more room but he is making things happen along the boards and down low.
He’s really kind of a deceptive player. You don’t really notice him on the ice and then he sort of pops up with a shot on net or a well placed pass in the slot. He also plays some PK and can sub on a secondary PP when called upon.
In my opinion Palushaj would benefit playing next to a Jordan Staal or as a line mate to Nathan Gerbe. I know (What am I thinking?) but Palushaj has a mean streak in him and plays a similar game to T.J. Galiardi, another guy I saw A LOT of. He’s small, annoying, scrappy, hard to take off the puck and can put a few points on the board. Keep in mind Galiardi had some success in San Jose as linemate to Joe Thornton and also Joe Pavelski at times.
Another aspect of Palushaj’s game that the Hurricanes will benefit from is his defensive awareness and intelligence with the puck, he isn’t one to give away the puck or get himself into any stupid situations. He is very responsible all around.
All in all, I think he is an under-valued winger and he should see some time on the third line at the least and could even put some points on board next to Staal two (Jordan).
Also, Thank you to the people of North Carolina for making my family feel so welcome. I look forward to meeting some Caniacs this October for my first home game here in Raleigh!
(Editor's note: Palushaj was drafted in the second round of the 2007 entry draft by St. Louis, (44th overall). The winger scored two goals and had seven assists in 25 games last year for the Avs. He was also credited with 32 hits and 13 blocked shots while averaging a bit over 11 minutes of ice time per game. He signed a two-way deal for the Canes in July.)