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Rodney Could be a Regular Next Season

Thursday, 02.12.2009 / 11:28 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Rodney Could be a Regular Next Season
Note: Dennis Seidenberg skated today but remains out for tonight's game against Florida, so Rodney is in.

If you didn’t check out CanesVision’s interview with Jim Rutherford earlier this week, you missed a pretty interesting nugget about 24-year-old defenseman Bryan Rodney, who’s been filling in for the injured Dennis Seidenberg.

”He’s put himself in a position where, going into next year’s training camp, he’ll have to play himself off the team,” said Rutherford.

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That shows just how highly-regarded Rodney is in the Hurricanes’ organization, and how fast he’s risen through the hockey world. About a year ago, he was playing in the ECHL and wasn’t sure he’d get much further. Along with several other players, he made it to Albany as an emergency replacement during a flu epidemic. He wasn’t expected to stick around when the sickness subsided, but he did, earning an AHL contract off the bat and an NHL deal after the season.

“I guess it doesn’t happen every day and you don’t see too many guys do it,” said Rodney of his rapid rise through the ranks. “It’s just a situation I put myself in after my junior career. I don’t think I made very good decisions about where I was going to go to training camp and where I was going to try out for teams and things like that. I had a couple of years where maybe I was in the wrong spot, but I was still working hard and obviously had aspirations to get here. I guess that was the road I had to take.”

Now, he’s been impressive enough in his first seven NHL games that he apparently has the inside track on a regular roster spot for next year. The Canes currently only have five defensemen under contract for 2009-10.

Rodney’s biggest contribution thus far has been on the power play, where he earned his first two NHL points during the Canes’ three-game road trip. The Hurricanes went 6-for-11 on the man advantage during that span, with Rodney on the ice for four of the goals.

Although he downplayed that contribution, calling himself “Joe Corvo’s sidekick,” for now that has him ahead of Frank Kaberle on the team’s depth chart. Given the veteran defenseman’s solid play whenever called upon, that decision ended up being a difficult one.

“Bryan came in and our power play was as good as it was, and he earned the right to play so he gets the chance,” said Coach Paul Maurice. “At the same time, I would be comfortable putting Frank in as well and would expect a good game out of him. It’s really not a statement about Frank Kaberle, it’s a statement about how Bryan has played his last couple of games.”

Once Seidenberg gets healthy, it becomes a numbers game and Rodney likely won’t stick with the team for the rest of the season. Having two healthy extras on defense is both expensive and impractical for a young player’s development.

However, it appears he’s done enough for the Hurricanes to consider fitting him in to their long-term plans, and assuming he can make the improvements to his conditioning and the defensive aspect of his game that Rutherford said he’d like to see, they might be seeing a lot more of him next season.

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 49 36 9 4 161 110 76
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 NYR 51 28 18 5 146 132 61
4 TBL 50 28 18 4 131 115 60
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 NYI 49 26 17 6 134 121 58
7 DET 51 25 18 8 125 130 58
8 NJD 52 26 20 6 117 118 58
9 PIT 49 25 17 7 126 122 57
10 PHI 49 23 18 8 117 128 54
11 CAR 52 23 21 8 124 138 54
12 MTL 52 24 24 4 137 141 52
13 OTT 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 47
16 CBJ 53 20 28 5 133 167 45

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 52 14 19 -15 33
K. Versteeg 51 10 21 2 31
V. Rask 50 12 18 0 30
E. Staal 52 9 21 1 30
J. Skinner 52 18 11 -4 29
J. Staal 52 11 16 4 27
E. Lindholm 52 8 16 -7 24
A. Nestrasil 45 5 12 -4 17
R. Hainsey 52 3 11 -14 14
J. Liles 52 5 7 -4 12
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 14 11 5 .905 2.41
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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