Bruins vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

The New Defense: Part Three

Monday, 09.15.2008 / 10:29 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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The New Defense: Part Three

Everything you read in part two of this series about having too many defensemen is all fine and good, except for one problem that has bitten the Canes especially hard in the last few seasons – injuries.  And the flu, but let’s not revisit that mess anymore than we have to.

Paul Branecky
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While it’s basically guaranteed that at least one of the defensemen currently on the Canes' roster will have to miss at least a little bit of time, there’s a reason that extra NHL defenseman is expendable.

That reason is the presence of quality options in Albany that the Hurricanes can summon if the need should ever strike.  Casey Borer, a 23-year-old now entering his second full year as a pro, was impressive in 11 NHL games last season and will be ready again in a pinch.  Brett Carson, who along with Borer and Brandon Sutter was among the final cuts at last year’s training camp, has made a commitment to his fitness and will be in the call-up mix next season.

”Those guys are really just a step away from playing with the Hurricanes,” said Canes GM Jim Rutherford.  “Their development has come on nice, and if one of them had an exceptional camp and deserved to be on the team, we’d figure out a way to get them there.  But realistically, another year in Albany as depth guys who come up and play some games, we’re very comfortable with that, but we project those guys to play with us in the near future.”

Also see: Developing the Defense (926/07)

Carson, although notable at last year’s camp, never got the call from Albany even though the Canes repeatedly found themselves shorthanded on the back end last season.  Easily the biggest pound-for-pound prospect in the Hurricanes system having entered last year’s camp at 6’4” and 220 pounds, he hopes better conditioning will earn him some NHL games this time around.

”For a big guy you’ve still got to be quick out there, so the best way was to drop weight,” said Carson, who along with Borer came down to Raleigh early to participate in Rod Brind’Amour’s informal team skates.  “They told me to drop a little, come down here and work with [Head Trainer] Pete [Friesen] to get my body fat down and my endurance up.”

So far, that seems to be paying off.

“Early indications are that he really paid attention to his fitness this summer, and he’s coming into camp a lot lighter and in a lot better condition, and hopefully that will translate into a good camp for him,” said Assistant GM and Director of Player Development Ron Francis.

While Borer and Carson are likely the top two candidates to be called up right now, there is an interesting dark horse candidate in Bryan Rodney.  Undrafted, unknown and discovered mostly by accident, the Canes are planning to watch him closely in camp.

An offensive defenseman who put up a team-leading six points in Albany’s seven playoff games last spring, Rodney was playing in the ECHL before the flu wiped out half of Albany’s roster, prompting the team to reach out to the nearby Elmira Jackals for help.

He was among the seven players temporarily loaned to Albany in that emergency situation, a single-day record between the AHL and ECHL.  He proved to be more than a fill-in, however, as the River Rats signed him to an AHL contract to finish the season, and the Hurricanes followed suit thereafter.

”Rodney did some really good things down there, so it will be interesting to see how he stacks up at this level,” said Francis.

 


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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 74 47 20 7 226 172 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 75 41 23 11 207 188 93
5 NYI 76 44 27 5 230 211 93
6 DET 74 40 22 12 216 201 92
7 WSH 75 40 25 10 218 186 90
8 BOS 75 37 25 13 199 195 87
9 OTT 74 37 25 12 216 199 86
10 FLA 75 34 26 15 186 205 83
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 75 31 32 12 167 192 74
14 CAR 74 28 36 10 173 202 66
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 69 21 28 -11 49
J. Faulk 74 15 32 -17 47
E. Lindholm 73 16 21 -19 37
J. Skinner 69 18 13 -21 31
V. Rask 72 11 20 -11 31
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
N. Gerbe 70 7 17 -13 24
J. McClement 74 7 13 -3 20
A. Nestrasil 46 7 13 4 20
J. Staal 38 4 16 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 20 21 5 .911 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 15 5 .903 2.62