Tweetmail No. 25: Standouts, Changes & Staying Occupied

Wednesday, 07.30.2014 / 10:00 AM
Michael Smith

Hello and welcome to a weekly feature on CarolinaHurricanes.com in which I take your Twitter questions about the Carolina Hurricanes or other assorted topics and answer them in mailbag form. Hopefully, the final product is insightful to some degree, and maybe we have some fun along the way.

Let’s get to it.

Which prospect stood out the most to your during camp last week? – The Storm Chase (@TheStormChase)

In no particular order, I was impressed with forwards Phil Di Giuseppe, Brock McGinn and Patrick Brown and defensemen Haydn Fleury, Trevor Carrick and Josh Wesley.

I thought Di Giuseppe and McGinn had some noticeable chemistry, both in drills and more scrimmage-based settings. That could be the beginning of a dynamic duo in Charlotte.

To that point, here’s what Di Giuseppe told me about McGinn: “He’s a great kid off the ice, and as you saw on the ice, it’s fun playing with him.”

Apart from one another, Di Giuseppe’s speed and stick work stood out, as he showed flashes of that raw skill that made him a second-round pick in 2012. McGinn showed that he’s clearly ready to make that jump to professional hockey, something that probably would have happened last year had it not been for his age.

“He skates, he bangs bodies and he’s got some finish,” Checkers head coach Jeff Daniels said of McGinn. “We’re excited to see him turn pro.”

Brown was signed in April as a free agent out of Boston College, so he was new to the mix. He capped off a good week with what I thought was a stellar performance in the Saturday scrimmage; he’s got good speed and decent size, and he made smart decisions with the puck.

“I thought Brown had a really good week throughout, Monday through Saturday,” head coach Bill Peters said. “He’s a guy who opened some eyes, and now I can put a name to a face.”

Fleury showed why he was the seventh overall pick in this year’s draft. At 6-foot-3 – plus a few on skates – and 203 pounds, he was a big boy on the ice, and he’s got some wheels to complement his size, too.

Carrick has gotten better each summer since being drafted in the fourth round in 2012. He showed last week that he’s ready to take that next step, and Josh Wesley, a fourth-round pick this summer, has noticeable upside.

What is the most exciting aspect of the new approach/system/coaches/GM to you? – Doug A. (@dabrams2021)

I think there is a lot to be excited about, and I think fans got to see that firsthand with head coach Bill Peters in the State of the Canes discussion held last Saturday.

This has been a summer of pretty significant change for the Hurricanes. It began in April with the revamp of the front office, including introducing Ron Francis as general manager and surrounding him with Brian Tatum, Mike Vellucci and Ricky Olczyk as assistant general managers. The change continued as a new coaching staff was named, with Peters manning the bench alongside assistant coaches Rod Brind’Amour and Steve Smith.

All of this amounts to a culture shift both on and off the ice. On the ice, you’re going to see a team with an elevated compete level playing under a defensively responsible system implemented by Peters. Off the ice, you’re going to see a plan put in place for the future that details what kind of players the scouts should look for and how those players should develop from the time they are drafted to when they play their first NHL game.

The only thing that hasn’t changed is the core of this team: Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, Alexander Semin, Jeff Skinner and Justin Faulk. And, really, which team wouldn’t want to build around that group of players?

That said, Francis has made it clear that further changes will be made if the roster under-performs as it did last season, especially in the early going.

How are we supposed to keep ourselves occupied for the next month or so? – Section 328 (@Section_328)

This is a very important question, as we’re barreling headfirst into the doldrums of the offseason. So, here’s your very important answer: keep it locked on CarolinaHurricanes.com!

Here’s a little tease of what we’ve got coming your way over the next six weeks:

-- Open Ice. You probably remember the first iteration of this video series, which aired last summer and focused on Ryan Murphy. If you don’t, refresh your memory or watch it for the first time here (http://hurricanes.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=90919). This year, the CanesVision crew followed around the entire group and got some great footage, including shots at the ropes course and Durham Bulls game on Saturday night. We’ll have more details on this year’s Open Ice, including a premiere date and number of episodes, in the near future.

-- Traverse City coverage. We plan on tracking the storm at the annual prospects tournament in Michigan from Sept. 12-16. After that? Training camp!

-- Tweetmail. Shameless plug, but you can ask me questions and get borderline cool answers each and every Wednesday. It’s a fun time.

And, if you need a break from the computer screen, you can always go back through the five seasons of SIX FEET UNDER, which I finished last night. Beautiful stuff, but boy is it heavy.

***

Join me next week for more questions and more answers!

If you have a question you’d like answered or you’d like to discuss the SIX FEET UNDER series finale, you can reach out to me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes.

Back to top ↑