Depth players could be important in Hurricanes return to play
The Carolina Hurricanes depth players could play a key role in their Return to Play format. The best-of-five qualifying round against the New York Rangers will begin on August 1st in Toronto, one of two hub cities that the NHL will be using. Martin Nečas and Ryan Suzuki are among these important Hurricanes.
Schedule for Qualifying Round
The schedule for the qualifying round is as follows:
Game One: Saturday, Aug. 1
Game Two: Monday, Aug. 3
Game Three: Tuesday, Aug. 4
*Game 4: Thursday, Aug. 6
*Game 5: Saturday, Aug. 8
* — if necessary
The Hurricanes began training camp on Monday, July 13th, at PNC Arena in Charlotte. “There was a lot of energy,” Jordan Staal said.
Staal is a veteran presence on the Hurricanes roster, but there are also several younger players that could play a significant role in the return to play qualifier against the Rangers.
Return to Play Roster, Injuries
The active roster for the Hurricanes for this return to play round includes 16 forwards, nine defensemen and four goalies. Defenseman Brett Pesce will not be able to participate, as he had surgery on his shoulder in March.
Ryan Suzuki Could Get Opportunity
Suzuki is one name that Hurricanes fans should keep an eye on.
The 19-year-old from London, Ontario, Canada was drafted by the Hurricanes in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft. Suzuki scored five goals and 18 assists in 23 games with Barrie before being traded to the Saginaw Spirit.
General Manager Don Waddell sees the Return to Play format as an opportunity for Suzuki. He was quoted as saying “I think in Ryan’s case, anytime you can be around your coaches and your strength coach and all that, we are always teaching young guys how to be a pro. Being around the big guys for this last period of time going into Phase three, I think it’s really good for his development to get to work with our coaches on a one-to-one basis.”
Martin Nečas Returns after Missing Monday’s Practice
But Suzuki is not the only Hurricane that could have an impact on the return to play qualifying round against the Rangers.
Nečas was drafted by the Hurricanes in the 12th round of the 2017 NHL Draft by then-GM Ron Francis out of Brno in the Czech Republic. The 21-year-old was praised at the time for his ability to skate at a high level and his offensive hockey sense.
However, the one Hurricane who was not at PNC Arena on Monday was Nečas. NHL protocol prevents teams like the Hurricanes from commenting on why a player is absent.
Moreover, head coach Rod Brind’Amour is not concerned about his players not wanting to play and was quoted as saying: “I know there are health issues and underlying factors that make your decisions different and I’m lucky we don’t have that. We didn’t have anyone come and say ‘I’m worried about me or someone in my family.’ It just didn’t happen.”
Also, Greg Wyshynski of ESPN reported that “in Phase four, the players, team staffers and basically everyone inside the bubble that could have contact with them will be tested daily.”
Nečas was back at practice on Tuesday. Brind’Amour does not seem to be concerned about Nečas’ absence on Monday. “I’m not worried about how (Nečas) is going to look in a few weeks, that’s for sure.”
Svechnikov Wins Steve Chiasson Award
Andrei Svechnikov won the Steve Chiasson award on July 22nd. Svechnikov is the youngest player ever to win this award. Additionally, The 20-year-old scored 24 goals and 37 assists in 61 games played before the coronavirus pause. This ranked third on the team in scoring.
So, in order for the Hurricanes to be successful in this Return to Play format, they will need scoring not only from their star players like Staal and Sebastian Aho. These are just a few of the Hurricanes younger depth players that could play an important role in their qualifying series against the Rangers.
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Carolina Hurricanes depth players could be key in return to play