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Wild vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Canes Hope to Benefit from Competitive Camp

Wednesday, 09.08.2010 / 4:36 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Canes Hope to Benefit from Competitive Camp
In a season that is expected to be much different from the last for any number of reasons, changes should be notable right from the start.

Paul Branecky
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While no player, coach or front-office member publicly cited last season’s brief training camp as a reason for the team’s fatally slow start at the time, hindsight has brought some apparent flaws to light.

Chief among them is the fact that there just wasn’t much on the line for veteran players whose status in the team was cemented heading into the year. Even after Brandon Sutter’s standout camp, room could not be found for him in the opening night lineup. It wasn’t until Tuomo Ruutu’s late-October suspension that Sutter could be recalled, never to leave again.

“One of the things that Rod Brind’Amour told me was that at last year’s camp, the team was pretty much set and it wasn’t overly competitive,” said General Manager Jim Rutherford.

Another was the relatively low number of pre-season games – just four instead of the more traditional six or seven.

“With the shortened camp and fewer games, it was hard to get guys who have been through 15 camps wired for exhibition games,” added coach Paul Maurice. 

This year’s camp, the on-ice portion of which begins on Sept. 18, will be quite different. Three more pre-season games are on the schedule and a handful of open roster spots are there for the taking.

“This year’s will be competitive not just for open spots, but for veterans who recognize that there are good young players coming,” said Rutherford. “No one wants to be pushed down the lineup or out of the top six, which could very well happen.”

“We’re not going to have a problem with (players being motivated) this year, because our young guys are going to be jacked up just be out there,” said Maurice. “Training camp is going to be a jump-off point of what these guys can handle. We’re going to give them big minutes in exhibition games.”

Competition is expected to be fiercest at forward, where, realistically, there could be as many as four open spots for as many as 10 players. With Rutherford having said that the team could carry as many as eight defensemen on the initial post-camp roster, jobs on the back end could change on a nightly basis.

An early glimpse of the progression of young talent will be available at the upcoming Traverse City prospects tournament, which begins this Saturday and runs through the following Wednesday. Many of the participating players have already been working out in Raleigh, with one notable exception – recent first-round draft pick Jeff Skinner.

“This will be a fun guy to watch,” said Rutherford. “I’ve gotten calls from people at Canada’s junior camp and from people that have seen him working out with NHL players who tell me what a special player he is.”

Even after Skinner’s arrival, things could be further intensified by the arrival of one or two veteran tryouts (something Rutherford said will “probably” happen), or the possibility of a more permanent two-way contract for a player with NHL experience.

With that being said, Rutherford was very careful to maintain that younger players will get their promised opportunity to make the team.

“If it doesn’t work out six weeks into the season, then I’ll make adjustments,” he said. “But I think that it will.”


SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 NYI 65 41 21 3 207 182 85
3 NYR 62 39 17 6 196 153 84
4 TBL 65 39 20 6 213 171 84
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 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 PHI 64 27 25 12 170 186 66
11 OTT 61 27 23 11 173 166 65
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