Welcome to hump day Wilderness. We continue our journey through the NHL previews by taking a look at a team that can boast of having one of our own chosen sons, Justin Faulk. A native of the southeast suburbs, it's only a matter of time before he realizes his true calling is to play back in Minnesota (that entire sentence is dripping in sarcasm by the way).
Thanks to Bob Wage from Canes Country for taking some time to give us a little preview.
Carolina's first line of Eric Staal, Alexander Semin, and Jiri Tlusty are rated near the top of the NHL in even strength scoring. Semin and Staal scored a point a game and Tlusty scored the most goals in his career last season. If they can stay healthy, they will be tough to stop.
Justin Faulk is most likely the most complete defensive player on the team. He is positionally sound and has a cannon for a shot. He does not do anything flashy, but he is solid and led the Hurricanes blueliners in average time on ice last season.
Patrick Dwyer kills penalties, will fill in wherever needed, and hustles non-stop. He doesn't get a lot of attention but earns his pay every night.
Cam Ward is one of the highest paid goalies in the NHL and will see most of the time between the pipes for the Canes.
Kirk Muller now is in his third season as head coach and will be under some pressure to produce since the team has not made the playoffs for four straight seasons.
Ryan Murphy on defense, Elias Lindholm on offense. Both could/should make the team this training camp. Both are high draft picks whom the team is counting on to produce, sooner rather than later.
How do you feel about the depth of your team?
Depth has been weak. The prospects of the system are rated in the lower half of the league by Hockey's Future and Hockey Prospectus. Last season after several key injuries, there was no answer from the team's depth.
Who are your fan favorites, and why are they favorites?
Alex Semin seems to be a fan favorite because he has ridiculous skill and he can be fun to watch. Tuomo Ruutu is also a favorite. Fans will yell "ruuuu" when he lays a good hit on an opponent.
Who are must follow writers on twitter for your team?
@ice_chip (Chip Alexander, beat writer) @MSmithCanes (Michael Smith, team writer) @CanesCountry (of course!)
Who are must follow fans? (preferably non-crazy fans)
too many good ones to list