Thoughts and observations after the Carolina Hurricanes held the first on-ice workouts of training camp on Friday at PNC Arena:
▪ Canes coach Bill Peters, who constantly stays on the move in practices, says to never read too much into the lines in practice. But …
On day one of camp, Jordan Staal was at center with Sebastian Aho and Elias Lindholm, and Victor Rask with Teuvo Teravainen and Justin Williams. Derek Ryan centered Jeff Skinner and Lee Stempniak and one version of the fourth line had Marcus Kruger with Brock McGinn and Joakim Nordstrom.
“We’ll start moving guys around,” Peters said after the two practices.
Just an idea but Skinner, who had a career-high 37 goals last season, and Williams might be an interesting pair of wingers for Rask, yes?
▪ Martin Necas was good at the Traverse City (Mich.) prospects tournament and good again Friday at PNC Arena in his first team practice. The Czech center, the Canes’ first-round draft pick this year, is quick on his skates, quick with his release and a heady player.
Necas has four options: make the Canes roster, go to the Charlotte Checkers in the AHL, play junior hockey for Saginaw in the Ontario Hockey League or return to the Czech Republic for another season in its top professional league. In talking to Canes general manager Ron Francis, the most likely outcome is still Necas going back home this season.
▪ Another young center the Canes like a lot is Nicolas Roy, who will miss some camp time with a concussion. Francis said Roy, who suffered the injury after taking a hard hit at Traverse City, is going through the concession protocol and is out indefinitely. Tough break for Roy.
▪ They’re keeping a seat open in the Canes locker room at PNC Arena for a new team captain. It’s where Rod Brind’Amour once sat when he wore the “C” – his photo is above the stall – and then Eric Staal.
The Canes went without a captain last season. It’s easy to think either Williams or Jordan Staal will have the “C” this season and inherit the center seat in the room, but that will be sorted out in camp.
▪ It’s an impressive group of forward depth the Canes have assembled: Necas, Roy, Julien Gauthier, Janne Kuokkanen, Aleksi Saarela, Valentin Zykov, Josh Jooris … the list is pretty long. Mike Vellucci, the new Checkers coach, won’t go lacking.