clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

About Last Season: Others Receiving Votes

New, comments

A number of top prospects made their NHL debuts for the Canes during last season. What might the future hold for them?

Jamie Kellner

Today we come to the end of the player side of our About Last Season series. Five skaters played in fewer than 10 games last season, and two goalies made fewer than 10 starts with the big club. A few of these are top prospects that will be knocking on the door in 2019-20, and one is almost certain not to be back.

Here’s a look at how these players performed this past season.

Forwards

Martin Necas: The Canes’ best prospect started the season with Carolina, putting up a goal and an assist before it was determined he needed time to develop more at the lower levels. While Necas appeared close to NHL ready, it was definitely the right call.

Necas flourished in Charlotte, posting 16 goals and 52 points in 64 games in his first season of North American professional hockey. He ramped it up even further in the playoffs, posting five goals and 13 points in 18 games en route to the Calder Cup.

Necas’ raw offensive ability was on display throughout the AHL season and postseason, and he looks ready for the big time. With another year of development under his belt, the Czech center looks ready to help a team that could use an added boost up front.

Janne Kuokkanen: Kuokkanen also played seven games for Carolina last year, but did not record a point.

Down on the farm, the Finnish winger had a strong, albeit injury-shortened after surgery in March, with 12 goals and 38 points in 48 games. Kuokkanen looks like he could still have some untapped potential, and has had a couple strong training camps for the Canes.

Kuokkanen could be another candidate to make the team out of camp this year and join his fellow Finns in Raleigh.

Nicolas Roy: Another player coming off his second full season in Charlotte, Roy earned a six game recall to the NHL, recording no points in his first games.

Roy was another top contributor for the Checkers, with 17 goals and 36 points in 69 games in the regular season followed up by six goals and 15 points in 19 games. Roy brings size down the middle, and, if the Canes opt to go with Sebastian Aho, Jordan Staal and Lucas Wallmark without adding another center, could compete for the fourth spot.

Defensemen

Trevor Carrick: Carrick has played five seasons in the AHL now, and played just a single game for Carolina this season. He had a stellar year on the blueline down in the A, with nine goals and 47 points in 71 regular-season games and three and 12 in 16 playoff games.

Carrick seems to have possibly outgrown the AHL, and probably would have earned a shot with the big club in most other organizations. However; the Canes’ depth on defense makes it hard for anyone to crack the lineup.

With Carrick an RFA with arbitration rights, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Canes send his rights to another team to see if he can stick in the big leagues.

Jake Bean: Bean was another who made his NHL debut this season, playing in two games for the Hurricanes. The 2016 first rounder had a strong first pro season, with 13 goals and 44 points in 70 AHL regular-season games, and a goal and five points in 14 playoff games.

Bean’s another victim of the logjam on D, but if the Canes opt to use one or more of their blueliners in a trade, he could push for a roster spot. His skillset could be ideal for helping the team’s moribund power play, as he possesses a good shot from the point and offensive instincts.

Goalies

Scott Darling:

Darling was supposed to have a bounce back season after spending the summer getting in shape and having a strong showing in the preseason. Unfortunately for Darling, he was injured in the preseason, and, after he returned, the bounce back never happened.

Darling went 2-4-2 in eight starts with a .884 save percentage and 3.33 save percentage. The team eventually placed him on waivers in favor of Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney. Things did not improve in Charlotte, where he allowed an average of 3.40 goals against per game and put up an .882 save percentage. Darling eventually took a leave of absence from the team before returning.

The big contract the Canes gave Darling in the 2017 offseason can now be placed firmly in the flop category. It’s probably not fair to say it’s a foregone conclusion to say the last two years of Darling’s deal will be bought out, but it is fair to say it’ll be a surprise if they aren’t.

Alex Nedlejkovic: I wrote more on Ned yesterday, but the third year pro who’s numbers have improved in every season may have just become one of the most important players for next season. Don Waddell’s comments to Tom Gulitti of NHL.com about his lack of optimism towards re-signing Mrazek and McElhinney should indicate, among other things, that Nedeljkovic should get a shot this year.

The 2016 second rounder made, and won, his first NHL start this season, and it looks like it’s time to see what he can do. Ned’s an RFA, but expect the team to reach a deal with him soon, and it looks like he should be a contender for one of the two goalie spots next season.