Tracking the Storm

Rutherford: Skinner, Nash Can Make Team

Thursday, 07.15.2010 / 1:45 PM ET / 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

HOME
AWAY
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 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