It’s finally here.
After five-plus months of waiting, the Carolina Hurricanes’ 2016 training camp began this morning bright and early with the first of two groups on the ice at 8:30 AM. Bring your coffee and come watch the Canes; you can enter through the east entrance and sit in the usual spots in and near section 119.
A total of nine NHL veterans will be making their first appearance at Canes camp, although one of them will be late to the party owing to the World Cup.
- #13 F Raffi Torres: in camp on a PTO; spent most of last season suspended and had no points in six games with San Jose (AHL)
- #21 F Lee Stempniak: signed as a free agent on July 1; spent last season with the New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins, and totaled 19-32-51 between the two teams while playing 82 games
- #25 F Viktor Stalberg: signed as a free agent on July 1; spent last season with the New York Rangers where he posted 9-11-20 in 75 games
- #26 D Matt Tennyson: signed as a free agent on July 3; played 29 games with the San Jose Sharks where he posted 1-3-4 and spent 5 games with the Sharks’ AHL affiliate
- #29 F Bryan Bickell: acquired June 15 from the Chicago Blackhawks, although he spent most of the season in Rockford (AHL) putting up 15-16-31 in 47 games
- #32 G Michael Leighton: signed as a free agent a few weeks ago; spent most of 2016 with Rockford (AHL) where he went 28-8-8/2.55/.918
- #39 F Valentin Zykov: acquired last February from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Kris Versteeg; played two games with Charlotte at the end of the season after recovering from an injury
- #72 F Andrew Miller: signed as a free agent on July 1 after being acquired by the Checkers in February in an AHL trade for Zach Boychuk; played in 55 total AHL games split between Bakersfield and Charlotte, posting 18-27-45 and has made 15 appearances with the Edmonton Oilers in his career (1-5-6)
- #86 F Teuvo Teravainen: acquired with Bickell in the June trade from the Blackhawks; posted 13-22-35 in 78 games with Chicago last season, and went 17-27-44 over parts of three seasons with the Hawks; will be a later addition because of his inclusion on Team Finland at the World Cup
Additionally, as Brett mentioned yesterday, all but three players from the Canes’ championship-winning Traverse City prospect tournament team are in camp. The exceptions are TC invitees Alex Peters and Mike Ferrantino, who were not offered full camp invites, and Aleksi Saarela, who withdrew from the TC tournament with an injury and will not participate in Canes camp.
And Sebastian Aho deserves his own section here, because he would have been on the Traverse City roster had he not been at the World Cup. He will also be a late arrival to the Canes’ camp because of his now-concluded duties with Finland.
Eighteen players of the 24 who finished last season on the Canes’ NHL roster return this year for training camp. In numerical order:
- #5 D Noah Hanifin: 4-18-22 in 79 GP
- #7 D Ryan Murphy: 0-10-10 in 35 GP
- #11 F Jordan Staal: 20-28-48 in 82 GP
- #15 F Andrej Nestrasil: 9-14-23 in 55 GP
- #16 F Elias Lindholm: 11-28-39 in 82 GP
- #18 F Jay McClement: 3-8-11 in 77 GP
- #22 D Brett Pesce: 4-12-16 in 69 GP
- #27 D Justin Faulk: 16-21-37 in 64 GP
- #30 G Cam Ward: 23-17-10, 2.41, .909 in 52 GP
- #31 G Eddie Lack: 12-14-6, 2.81, .901 in 34 GP
- #33 F Derek Ryan: 2-0-2 in 6 GP
- #34 F Phil Di Giuseppe: 7-10-17 in 41 GP
- #42 F Joakim Nordstrom: 10-14-24 in 71 GP
- #49 F Victor Rask: 21-27-48 in 80 GP
- #53 F Jeff Skinner: 28-23-51 in 82 GP
- #56 F Brendan Woods: 0-0-0 in 5 GP
- #65 D Ron Hainsey: 5-14-19 in 81 GP
- #74 D Jaccob Slavin: 2-18-20 in 63 GP
The biggest missing name is behind the bench, as Bill Peters remains in Toronto assisting Mike Babcock with Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey. Six players from last year’s year-end roster have moved elsewhere over the summer:
- Nathan Gerbe: signed a one-year deal with the Rangers on July 1
- Riley Nash: signed a two-year deal with the Bruins on July 1
- Brad Malone: signed a one-year deal with the Capitals on July 2
- Chris Terry: signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Canadiens on July 2
- Michal Jordan: has not signed a new contract yet; Canes are among the teams who have offered him a two-way deal, but Jordan is holding out to see if he can earn a one-way NHL deal
- James Wisniewski: bought out by the Canes on June 30; in camp with the Lightning on a PTO
What to expect?
For the second straight season, there is not going to be any empty space in the Canes’ locker room, with 57 players invited to camp. The first two days include both a practice session and a 15-minute special teams training session, and will include a scrimmage between the two groups in between the group practices.
The Canes’ annual red/white scrimmage, as part of the Caniac Carnival, will take place on Sunday afternoon, and the Canes will have one final practice on Monday before hitting the road for trips to Washington and Tampa Bay early next week. So, to see the Canes of the future, you’ll probably need to make a pilgrimage to PNC over the weekend, because the cuts will come hard and heavy before the Canes return next Thursday for another set of practices prior to the preseason home opener next Friday against the Lightning.
With eighteen players in camp who finished last season, there aren’t going to be many available roster spots. The seventh defenseman spot is open after Michal Jordan’s (likely) departure, but that’s about it. Unlike last year, when the likes of Brett Pesce, Jaccob Slavin and Phil Di Giuseppe earned their way into the conversation with strong training camps, this year’s is likely to simply determine who the first couple of callups are and not much more than that. Despite that, hey, it’s hockey, so go enjoy it!