Tracking the Storm

McClement Excited About Opportunity in Carolina

Monday, 07.14.2014 / 1:45 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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McClement Excited About Opportunity in Carolina
Having spoken to Francis and coach Peters, McClement is excited about the role he will assume with the Hurricanes.
Even before he signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Hurricanes on July 2, Jay McClement reached out to defenseman John-Michael Liles.

Michael Smith
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He was teammates with Liles in Colorado and then Toronto and was in discussions to become his teammate again in Carolina.

“I talked to Johnny a little bit about what the team’s all about, and he had nothing but great things to say,” McClement said. “I’ve been around for a few years now, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about the organization.”

McClement, 31, ultimately signed with the Canes as he prepares to enter his 10th NHL season. The veteran center has already been in contact with Canes Executive Vice President and General Manager Ron Francis and head coach Bill Peters.

“The biggest thing that excites me, having talked to the coach and Ron Francis, is the fit for me and the chance to be a contributor,” he said. “It’s a role they needed filled, and I feel I can contribute in that role.”

That role will be one of a depth center, one who is strong in the circle and a vital asset on the penalty kill. And at 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, the size he can add to the forward corps is beneficial, as well.

“I don’t see my role changing from what I’ve done throughout my career,” McClement said. “Penalty killing is a big part of what I can bring to the team, and hopefully we can have some success with that. I take a lot of pride in that part of the game.”

“I’m sure he’s fighting and in that mix with [Riley] Nash for the [third or fourth line center] spot. He’s a big guy who’s good on faceoffs,” Francis said. “He’s a smart player who can kill penalties. He’s smart defensively, and he’s been around the league so he knows what it takes to prepare and be successful. I think he’ll be real good for us not only on the ice but off the ice with our young players as well.”

In a league that puts an increasing emphasis on puck possession, faceoffs are a crucial component of each game. McClement led Toronto and ranked in the top 25 of the NHL in faceoff percentage last season at 53.6 percent, and he’s posted better than a 50 percent faceoff win rate in each of the last four seasons and in seven of his nine career NHL seasons.

“It was always something I excelled at growing up. When I made the jump to the NHL, it was a learning curve. The first few years, you just don’t have the strength to compete with the bigger, stronger, older guys,” McClement said. “I got better with that over the years, and you also learn tricks along the way and become more experienced. It can be a big part of the game, and it can make a difference in the game. If you’re winning draw, it can take a lot of pressure off your linemates and defensemen. You start with the puck more often.”

In addition to joining a friendly face in Liles, McClement will also reunite with defenseman Tim Gleason, who skated in 39 games for Toronto in the 2013-14 season, and defenseman Jay Harrison, who was a junior teammate on the Brampton Battalion of the OHL. McClement also claimed gold on Team Canada with Eric and Jordan Staal and Cam Ward at the 2007 IIHF World Championship in Russia.



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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