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Tracking the Storm

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 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 x - TBL 77 47 23 7 249 201 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 76 21 47 8 148 255 50

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 70 21 28 -12 49
J. Faulk 75 15 32 -17 47
E. Lindholm 74 16 21 -19 37
J. Skinner 70 18 13 -21 31
V. Rask 73 11 20 -12 31
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
N. Gerbe 71 8 17 -13 25
J. McClement 75 7 13 -3 20
A. Nestrasil 47 7 13 4 20
J. Staal 39 4 16 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 20 21 5 .911 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 15 6 .904 2.60