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Kaberle, Seidenberg Looking Strong

Wednesday, 10.1.2008 / 4:16 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Kaberle, Seidenberg Looking Strong

In a camp where five defensemen are competing for three open spots behind Joe Corvo, Tim Gleason and Joni Pitkanen in the Canes’ top six, it appears that Frantisek Kaberle and Dennis Seidenberg have put themselves on the inside track to claim two of them.

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Both players are having excellent training camps so far and have been used together on the point in the Canes’ second power play unit at this week’s practices.  They will also play together in Thursday night’s exhibition game in Nashville.

Kaberle, whose name has been mentioned in trade rumors ever since GM Jim Rutherford indicated he wants to trade a defenseman, has looked good enough in exhibition games that he may not only stay, but play a prominent role as well.

“I’m very pleased with Frank Kaberle’s camp,” said Rutherford.  “He’s the guy that heard the most rumors about being the odd guy out, but in fairness to him this is the first training camp he has been healthy since we won the Cup.  He’s back to where he was in ’06 when he was really good for us,” added Rutherford.

“I think that Frank has been one of our top defensemen in camp,” said coach Peter Laviolette.  “He came off a year where he was banged up a little bit and never felt 100 percent.  He had an opportunity, and he came to camp in great shape.  It’s been hard not to notice him in a positive way on the ice.  He’s played very well so far.”

Kaberle himself admits to not feeling like himself ever since he underwent shoulder surgery after the Canes’ Stanley Cup victory in the 2006.  He played just 27 games the following season and saw his offensive numbers dip significantly last season from the 44 he scored in 2005-06.

“The last couple of years it’s been tough with my injuries,” said Kaberle.  “With my strength, it wasn’t even close to what I’m at now.  It’s a big difference.”

While Kaberle’s impressive camp has surprised many, Rutherford said he expected Seidenberg to make a serious run at the top six from the beginning.  Although Seidenberg has been a healthy scratch 27 times since joining the team as the seventh defenseman in January of 2007, he’ll get his opportunity now that Glen Wesley and Bret Hedican have gone.

“I would say he had one of those spots coming in, and you just watch for a guy like that to see where he’s at,” said Rutherford.  “He’s come in and he was ready to play as he always is and he’s played really well.  He can skate, move the puck and he can be physical.”

“Last year I wanted to be in the top six and I think I played well when I was in the lineup,” said Seidenberg.  “I just have to stay healthy now and be consistent night in and night out.  With those two guys gone, I think it’s definitely a chance for me to step up and grab a regular spot.”

If Kaberle and Seidenberg are indeed leading the pack of players for a regular spot in the Hurricanes’ lineup, and it seems that they are, that leaves Niclas Wallin, Anton Babchuk and Josef Melichar to compete for the sixth and seventh spots.  With Babchuk and Wallin both missing significant time due to injury so far, who leads that race remains to be seen.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
N. Hanifin 79 4 18 -14 22
J. Slavin 63 2 18 1 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81