Devils vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

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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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 73 47 19 7 224 168 101
2 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
3 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
4 NYI 75 44 26 5 228 208 93
5 PIT 74 40 23 11 204 186 91
6 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
7 WSH 74 40 24 10 215 182 90
8 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
9 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
10 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
11 PHI 75 30 29 16 196 216 76
12 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
13 CBJ 73 34 35 4 198 228 72
14 CAR 73 27 36 10 170 201 64
15 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 68 20 27 -13 47
J. Faulk 73 14 32 -18 46
E. Lindholm 72 16 20 -21 36
J. Skinner 68 18 12 -22 30
V. Rask 71 11 19 -12 30
R. Nash 67 8 17 -10 25
N. Gerbe 69 7 17 -13 24
J. McClement 73 7 13 -3 20
A. Nestrasil 45 7 13 4 20
J. Staal 37 4 15 -9 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 19 21 5 .910 2.43
A. Khudobin 8 15 5 .903 2.62