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Wild vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Rutherford: Skinner, Nash Can Make Team

Thursday, 07.15.2010 / 1:45 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Rutherford: Skinner, Nash Can Make Team
Hurricanes General Manager Jim Rutherford has said all along that he’ll give his young forwards every opportunity to make the team. That appears to be especially true with two of his most recent acquisitions: Jeff Skinner and Riley Nash.

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Following the team’s recent conditioning camp, which served to pleasantly confirm previously-held beliefs about the group as a whole, Rutherford believes those two will have an excellent chance to be with the Hurricanes when they open the 2010-11 season in Helsinki.

”At the conditioning camp, you could see a special skill level in certain players,” said Rutherford. “Clearly, Skinner and Nash were guys that really stood out. It wouldn’t surprise me if both of these guys made our team.”

Skinner, 18, was drafted seventh overall by the Hurricanes at June’s NHL Entry Draft. Nash, a bit older at 21 but a first-round pick himself, was acquired from Edmonton in exchange for a second-round pick one day later.

One of those players would likely take hold of the vacant third-line center spot, which will also be sought by the likes of Zac Dalpe and Jon Matsumoto. There’s also expected to be at least one spot open on the wings, where more experienced players like Zach Boychuk and Drayson Bowman will be looking to make their mark.

Yet another scenario has Jussi Jokinen centering the third line. If that were to occur, Rutherford said he expected the versatile Finn to remain a key offensive contributor on the power play in addition to his solid two-way play at even strength.

“It’s not like we’re in a situation where we’re not going to be able to cover our lineup,” said Rutherford. “When you look at the two natural centers that are really good ones in Staal and Sutter, after that it’s wide open for anybody.”

Of course, there’s still the small matter of whether or not Nash wants to pursue that opportunity at this time. Although the player said last week that he’s hoping for a quick decision about potentially leaving Cornell prior to his senior year, Rutherford said he’s not expecting to know anything in the next few weeks.

”It’s a decision that he has to make, but at the same time if a player is going to look at a depth chart and look at an opportunity to get your pro career started, this is about the best timing or opportunity that he or anyone else would have,” said Rutherford.

The confidence in Nash, Skinner and the rest of the team’s stable of young prospects has the Hurricanes remaining quiet on the free agent front for the time being. Rutherford said that he hoped to know more about the potential return of defensemen Brett Carson and Alexandre Picard in the coming days, that he’s still in touch with Tim Conboy and that he’s expecting to re-sign Justin Pogge quickly, perhaps even by the end of the day on Thursday.

In the case of Carson and Picard, Rutherford said that the one-way deals offered to each player prior to July 1 were no longer on the table following the signing of Joe Corvo, but that he would still consider bringing them back on two-way contracts.

“We wouldn’t be looking at one-ways at this point,” he said.

SCHEDULE

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AWAY
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 64 41 18 5 172 142 87
2 NYR 63 39 17 7 197 155 85
3 NYI 65 41 21 3 207 182 85
4 TBL 65 39 20 6 213 171 84
5 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
6 PIT 63 36 18 9 182 158 81
7 WSH 65 35 20 10 193 162 80
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 64 28 23 13 156 181 69
10 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
11 PHI 64 27 25 12 170 186 66
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 64 26 33 5 173 195 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 62 12 28 -18 40
E. Staal 57 18 20 -12 38
E. Lindholm 61 11 16 -18 27
J. Skinner 57 16 10 -17 26
N. Gerbe 58 7 16 -10 23
R. Nash 59 7 15 -10 22
V. Rask 60 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 62 6 13 3 19
J. Staal 26 4 12 -4 16
A. Nestrasil 34 4 11 4 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 17 20 4 .911 2.43
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .905 2.61