Tracking the Storm

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.

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72