A busy trade deadline saw the Canes bring in three new players and say goodbye to two NHL regulars, four AHL prospects, and two draft picks.
Now it’s time for the team to integrate the newcomers. And there’s no time to waste. The Canes once again find themselves on the outside of the playoff bubble looking in.
Vincent Trocheck and Brady Skjei are sure to draw into tonight’s game. Expect Trocheck to play 2nd line minutes with Nino Niederreiter and Martin Necas as his wingers to start. He’ll also center the 2nd power play unit.
Speaking of that 2nd PP unit, Brady Skjei might find his way onto it too. Expect Skjei to set up on the right side of Jake Gardiner, while Necas mans the half-wall to Gardiner’s left.
In terms of D-pairings, Jaccob Slavin will pair with Skjei on the top unit. Gardiner and Trevor van Riemsdyk will be the second unit, while Haydn Fleury and Joel Edmundson complete the group. Sami Vatanen, who is recovering from a foot injury, isn’t expected to play until the first week of March.
For Alex Nedeljkovic (NHL career stats: 1-0-0, .953 SV%, 1.33 GAA), opportunity calls. The young goaltender will get the start and the chance to prove he deserves a shot in the NHL. Nedeljkovic has put together another solid year in Charlotte, with a 15-10-2 record, with a .905 SV%, and a 2.51 GAA.
Anton Forsberg (NHL career stats: 11-24-4, .901 SV%, 3.21 GAA) will serve as the backup tonight. So far this season in Charlotte, Forsberg has posted a record of 15-9-2, with a .905 SV%, and a 2.95 GAA.
The Canes’ expected lines:
Andrei Svechnikov - Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen
Nino Niederreiter - Vincent Trocheck - Martin Necas
Warren Foegele - Jordan Staal - Justin Williams
Ryan Dzingel - Jordan Martinook - Brock McGinn
Jaccob Slavin - Brady Skjei
Jake Gardiner - Trevor van Riemsdyk
Haydn Fleury - Joel Edmundson
Injuries and Scratches: Dougie Hamilton (IR leg), Brett Pesce (shoulder), Petr Mrazek (concussion), James Reimer (lower-body), Sami Vatanen (foot)
The Dallas Stars (36-20-6, 78pts) were not busy during the trade deadline. They made only one deal — sending a prospect to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a 6th round draft pick.
Instead, their focus is on securing home-ice in the playoffs. They’re four points behind the Western Conference-leading St. Louis Blues and looking to catch them before the end of the season.
While the Stars don’t score a ton (they’re 25th in the league in goals scored), they are balanced, with seven players who have tallied ten or more goals. They’re led by their Canadian snipers — Tyler Seguin (15g, 32a) and Jamie Benn (18g, 16a).
The Stars are 3rd in the league in goals allowed (2.5/game), so don’t expect many wide-open chances.
In net, former Cane Anton Khudobin (15-7-2, .928 SV%, 2.26 GAA) will get his second start of the season against the Canes. He secured a 4-1 victory over Carolina back on February 11th.
Stars’ expected lines:
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Corey Perry
Mattias Janmark - Joe Pavelski - Alexander Radulov
Roope Hintz - Jason Dickinson - Denis Gurianov
Andrew Cogliano - Radek Faksa - Blake Comeau
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Miro Heiskanen - Stephen Johns
Jamie Oleksiak - Andrej Sekera
Injuries and Scratches: Martin Hanzal (IR back)