Tracking the Storm

Canes' Roster Set - For Now

Wednesday, 10.5.2011 / 2:53 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Canes\' Roster Set - For Now

The Carolina Hurricanes made their final roster decision of training camp today, as they assigned forward Riley Nash to Charlotte.

Michael Smith
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That move comes on the heels of Chad LaRose practicing today, an hour-long session that saw him at full-speed and vocal as usual. Head coach Paul Maurice said LaRose will be in the lineup on Friday.

The Canes are now carrying the league maximum of players on their roster in 23. This group, whittled down from 56 at the beginning of camp, features nine defenseman. Maurice has given no indication that he plans to dress seven defensemen, so three defensemen might be watching opening night from the press box.

Among the group of nine blueliners are rookies Justin Faulk and Ryan Murphy. A decision on where Murphy plays this season will have to be made, at the latest, nine games into the season; he could either go back to Juniors or stay with the big club. Faulk, on the other hand, can be assigned to Charlotte.

“With the defensemen, it's really a decision for upstairs,” Maurice said, in reference to Hurricanes President and General Manager Jim Rutherford and his staff. “I’m comfortable with any of them in a game. And we’ll make those moves as they see fit.”

With the way lines in practice have been shaping up, it is likely that Faulk will be in the Canes’ opening night lineup. He saw extensive work on the power play today in practice, working with Tim Gleason and Jay Harrison.

“What he’s got – and we haven’t seen it yet – is a bomb. He can really shoot the puck,” Maurice said. “Sometimes these young guys will continually look for the more veteran guy to make him happy, and we don’t want to see it. We just want to see that shot off his stick because he can get it to the net. And rarely is it above the waist. A good heavy, shot from the point that’s low creates a lot of havoc.”

If you factor in veterans Gleason, Joni Pitkanen and Tomas Kaberle, only a pairing remains for the taking between five players – Harrison, Jamie McBain, Bryan Allen, Derek Joslin and Murphy.

What this could result in is a slightly different look at defense each night, at least for the first couple of weeks in the season. When asked if there would be a set rotation or if it would be based on who plays well, Maurice said it would be a “bit of both.”

“Clearly, we have an opportunity to improve our defense if we have a guy that’s not playing well,” he said. “Golf analogy – we don’t want to [change] our grip on every hole, but at the same time, there has to be some pressure to perform. The players that are here that have experience are here in the NHL because they’ve proven they can play, but they need to continue to do it. And we have young players that are going to play.”

With Nash being reassigned, the Canes are set at 12 forwards. What remains to be seen is who will play on which line. Now that LaRose is back in the fold, practice tomorrow should reveal some of the thinking in terms of combinations.

While there still be some question marks in terms of the roster, when asked if there was anything certain heading into this season, Maurice was confident in his answer.

“The two guys standing between the posts,” he said, referring to Cam Ward and Brian Boucher. “We’ve got world-class goaltending. Arguably the best goaltending in the National Hockey League.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 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