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New Opportunity for New Canes

Wednesday, 08.25.2010 / 11:52 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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New Opportunity for New Canes
For a pair of new Hurricanes, new surroundings present a common theme that’s been heard throughout the offseason – young players have a great opportunity.

Paul Branecky
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For Jon Matsumoto and Bobby Sanguinetti, draft-day trades from the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers, respectively, have given new life to situations that had become somewhat stagnant.  Now part of the Hurricanes’ youth movement, both are hoping for a fresh start and a new chance to show what they can do.

Matsumoto, who will turn 24 in mid-October, has yet to make his NHL debut despite consistent success during three full seasons at the American Hockey League level.  Although he’s coming off back-to-back 60-point seasons in the minors, scoring 59 goals in that span, the writing was on the wall for a young center placed firmly behind the likes of Jeff Carter and Mike Richards.

“To be honest, I don’t really think so,” said Matsumoto, a third-round pick of the Flyers in 2006, of whether he feels he’d have a fighting chance to make the 2010-11 Philadelphia squad.  “I think they had their lines set pretty much when the season ended.”

Matsumoto, whose grandparents came to Canada from Japan prior to World War II, said that he wasn’t sure if he ever came close to an NHL recall during his time with the Flyers despite mostly positive reviews from the front office.   He’s also never played in a preseason game, having been slated to do so before struggles from the Flyers’ veterans prompted the organization to give established players more work.  Multiple offers came in from a variety of European leagues (“Too many to count,” he said), but Matsumoto never seriously considered them, preferring instead to try and crack the NHL.

He should have a better chance this season, as Matsumoto is one of a handful of players who will be given chances to earn a spot at center behind mainstays Eric Staal and Brandon Sutter.

“They probably have a criteria of what type of guy they’re looking for to fill those open spots,” he said.  “I played a lot of games against Albany last season, so hopefully I did enough to make an impression.”

Sanguinetti, a 22-year-old first-round pick of the New York Rangers, saw his first five games of NHL action last season in two separate stints.  He admitted to not being totally comfortable at that time, but hopes that he’ll be able to remedy that with the Hurricanes.

“When Tom Renney was there (as head coach), he wanted me to be more defensive and I think my offense dropped off because of it,” said Sanguinetti, who has been a significant point producer throughout his junior and AHL career.  “Here, I’m just going to try to play my game.”

He displayed his offensive touch in Wednesday’s skate at the RecZone, scoring the scrimmage-winning goal for Team LaRose on a nifty breakaway move against Cam Ward.

“I think I’m more of an offensive, power-play guy that’s good with the puck,” he said.

Sanguinetti seemed to have a clear path to a job with the Hurricanes prior to the free-agency re-additions of Anton Babchuk, Brett Carson and Joe Corvo.  He will still be in contention, as Hurricanes General Manager Jim Rutherford has repeatedly stated his belief that the player is very close to being NHL-ready.  If nothing else, he should definitely see games as an injury recall just as he did with the Rangers.

“This team has a lot of very young defensemen, but it’s good to be in a situation where there may be some open spots.”

Asked what it was like learning under notoriously fiery Rangers Head Coach John Tortorella, which could seemingly be quite intimidating for a young player, Sanguinetti only had good things to say.

“He was good with me,” said Sanguinetti.  “He pushes you, but he knew my limit and how to make me into a good player.  Luckily, I wasn’t one of the guys that he pushed really hard.”

In what’s shaping up to be a compelling and competitive training camp from nearly all angles, both Matsumoto and Sanguinetti will be players to watch.


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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 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
4 NYR 51 28 18 5 146 132 61
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 50 25 18 7 129 128 57
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 49 23 18 8 117 128 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 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 53 15 19 -13 34
V. Rask 51 12 19 1 31
K. Versteeg 52 10 21 1 31
J. Skinner 53 18 12 -3 30
J. Staal 53 12 18 7 30
E. Staal 53 9 21 0 30
E. Lindholm 53 8 16 -8 24
A. Nestrasil 46 7 12 -1 19
J. Nordstrom 42 5 9 2 14
R. Hainsey 53 3 11 -12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 5 .905 2.43
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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