Marc Bergevin

Carolina Hurricanes: Désolé Marc! Sorry Marc!

featured image photo credit – Lisa Gansky/Wikimedia Commons

The Carolina Hurricanes are set to match the Montréal Canadiens offer sheet on Sebastian Aho. 

To nobody’s surprise, General Manager Don Waddell has announced they will match. The 21-year old Finnish superstar will be remaining in Carolina for another 5 years. They currently have not signed the final contract, but have another six days to do so. So, as it appears, Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin has lost the battle to Waddell.

The deal is for $42.27M spanning 5 years (2019-2024), with an average annual value of $8.454M. It’s a great contract, both for Aho, and for the Carolina Hurricanes. Both in terms of value and in terms of length. It wasn’t exactly what the team would have liked. But Waddell doesn’t feel it will hinder the team’s development.

The Finnish superstar

Those new to the Carolina Hurricanes might not realize just how important he is to the franchise. The Rauma, Finland native, Sebastian was drafted by Carolina in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, 35th overall. In three seasons with the Hurricanes, he’s managed to secure himself as the premier skater of the franchise. Most recently he established himself as a point-per-game player, registering 30 goals and 53 assists (83 points) in the 82 game regular season. This marked him as the sixth player in franchise history to record a minimum of 30 goals and 50 assists in the same season. Aho’s also the fourth player in franchise history to tally 80 points prior to turning 22.

The Finnish center is also amid good company in league record books as well. Starting the 2018-19 season, Aho went on to have a 12-game point streak (4g-13a) from Oct 4th-Oct 30th. Both being franchise records for longest assist streak and points streak. This run also tied the league records for the longest season-opening assist streak streak. Previous players to mark this achievement include Wayne Gretzky and Kin Linesman. An effort that saw him awarded 3rd star of the week by the NHL on Oct 15th. Aho would go on to have five additional point streaks of 4 or more games, and only once suffered a three-game points drought.

Sebastian also registered a total of 20 multi-point games across the 2018-19 season. This includes his second career hat trick on Jan 13th against the Nashville Predators, and four four-point games. Finally, Aho is also tied for second in franchise records for most short-handed goals in a single-season with four. It is the most by a Carolina skater since the 2005-06 season when both Justin Williams and Eric Staal both registered four a piece.

Career Highlights

In 242 NHL games, Sebastian has a record of 83g-114a (197 points) and averages 18:07 minutes time on ice. Aho represented the Hurricanes in the 2019 NHL All-Star Game in San Jose. He’s also won one Gold Medal (IIHF World Junior’s – 2016 [Finland]) and two Silver Medals (IIHF World Junior’s U18 – 2015 [Switzerland] & IIHF World Championships – 2016 [Russia]) with the Finnish national team.

We’ll Keep You Posted

The Puck77 crew will keep you posted as soon as the Carolina Hurricanes formally announce that they have signed Aho.

stats from eliteprospects.com and hockey-reference.com

Carolina Hurricanes

Carolina Hurricanes: Congratulations and Concerns

July 1st is always a busy day for clubs and it was no different for the Carolina Hurricanes.

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Canes Broadcast team returns

Much to the delight of Caniacs worldwide, the broadcasting trio will return. Play-by-Play Announcer John Forslund (@JohnForslund), Color Analyst Tripp Tracey, and television/web host Mike Maniscalco (@MikeManiscalco) have all been re-signed by the Carolina Hurricanes. This will mark the 21st season that Forslund and Tracey will have worked together for Carolina. Additionally, it will be Forslund’s 25th season as the play-by-play voice of the Hurricanes. This posting dates back to 1994-95 season when the franchise was still located in Hartford, CT. Tracey, a former goaltender for the Philadelphia Flyers, has been with the club since his retirement in 1998. Maniscalco enters into his fourth season with the club as the host of Hurricanes LIVE! on FOX Sports Carolinas and host of the popular podcast CanesCast.

Hurricanes find a primary – Return of the Mrazzle Dazzle

 

In true cardiac cane fashion, the Carolina Hurricanes re-sign the 27-year old Czech phenom on UFA-day. The new contract is a 2-year, $6.25M deal that will last through the 2020-21 season. The deal pays out a respectable $3M in the upcoming 2019-20 season, and follows with a $3.25M payout in 2020-21. The Ostrava, CZE native was originally drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Selected 141st overall (5th rd, 21s pk). In the year Petr Mrazek has spent with the Carolina Hurricanes hockey club, he’s hammered out quite the reputation. Both within franchise records, and in fan’s hearts. Following the 2017-18 season, Philadelphia did not tender a qualifying offer to Petr, which opened him up to the free agent market.

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Hurricanes GM Don Waddell, on July 1st 2018, extended a contract offer. A 1-year, $1.5M contract, and an opportunity to redeem himself after the season in Philly. Now, a year later, Petr has registered a 23-14-3 record, a 2.39 goals-against average, and a .914 save percentage that includes four shutouts. This tied his career high in shutouts. It addition, put him squarely in fifth place in franchise records for lowest single-season goals-against average. He sports a career record of 101-78-26, a 2.61 goals-against average, and a .911 save percentage spanning 223 NHL games. The Hurricanes Twitter account puts it best.

Controversy and concern – Sebastian Aho receives an offer sheet

Then the day got interesting. GM Marc Bergevin of the Montreal Canadiens extended an offer sheet to restricted free agent and Hurricanes superstar, Sebastian Aho.

It was not entirely unexpected, considering that multiple teams had called Carolina. The shock came more in the form of the offer itself. Surprising enough that the Hurricanes GM made mention of it during a press conference addressing the offer sheet.

Carolina’s on a 7-day clock, on whether to match the offer, or to take the draft pick compensation. The compensation would come in the form of a 1st Round pick, a 2nd Round pick, and a 3rd Round pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. It had been previously said that the club would match any offer. Not to worry, though, Caniacs.

Stats and information courtesy of Hockey Reference, the NHL and Cap Friendly

Featured Image Photo Credit – Josh Tessler

2019 NHL Draft: Potential Gems Part 2 – Metropolitan Division

Welcome back to my “Gems of the Draft” series.

Last time, we went over the Atlantic Division teams and took a look at one player from each team that could turn out to be a gem from the 2019 NHL Draft class. Here’s a little recap.
 
Boston Bruins – Matias Mantyviki (D)
Buffalo Sabres – Filip Cederqvist (LW)
Detroit Red Wings – Albin Grewe (LW)
Florida Panthers – Cole Schwindt (C)
Montreal Canadiens – Arsen Khisamutdinov (LW)
Ottawa Senators – Mads Sogaard (G)
Tampa Bay Lightning – Max Crozier (D)
Toronto Maple Leafs – Mikko Kokkonen (D)
 
This time, we’re going to take a look at the Metropolitan Division and see who could surprise among the Metro teams. They dominated the first round of the draft namely in the top three, with first overall pick Jack Hughes joining the New Jersey Devils and second overall pick Kaapo Kakko joining the New York Rangers. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of these under-the-radar players.

Carolina Hurricanes – Blake Murray (C, 6th Round, 183rd Overall)

The Hurricanes had a Cinderella season of sorts this past season. After entering the regular season with intentions of MAYBE qualifying for a first round appearance, they ended up advancing to the conference finals before getting swept at the hands of the Boston Bruins. With that being said, the Hurricanes still had an incredible successful season and still ended up with a solid first round pick, taking centre Ryan Suzuki at 28th overall. The Hurricanes had a very busy draft weekend, drafting 12 new prospects, and I think their gem in disguise is Blake Murray.
 
Murray had just finished off his second season with the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL, and after a strong debut season that saw him put up 44 points in 57 games, he followed up with an equally successful season where he ended up with 50 points in 66 games. He’s one of the younger players in the draft, turning 18 in early July, and he has good size at 6’2 and 187lbs. The way I see it, the Hurricanes are laughing by picking up an offensively talented centre with good size in the 6th round.

Columbus Blue Jackets – Tyler Angle (C, 7th Round, 212th Overall)

 
I wish I could go off on a tangent about the Blue Jackets having a busy draft weekend and selecting a plethora of fresh young talent, but the reality is they did the exact opposite. They drafted a whopping three players over the weekend, with two of them coming in the fourth round and one of them coming in the seventh. To make my decision, I went with the latter and chose Tyler Angle as my potential gem.
 
After missing the cutoff date for the 2018 draft by 15 days, the 2000 born Angle stormed back with a strong draft season, good enough for the Jackets to take a flier on him in the seventh round. He spent this season with the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL and was a key part of their offense, putting up 44 points in 58 games. This was good enough for fifth on the team in scoring. Angle will likely spend another year or two in the juniors, but he could turn out to be something for the Jackets.

New Jersey Devils – Patrick Moynihan (C, 6th Round, 158th Overall)

Any Devils player from the 2019 draft class likely won’t receive too much media attention for the sole purpose that all eyes will be on Jack Hughes, who was drafted first overall by the Devils. New Jersey is now looking at a one-two punch down the middle of Hughes and Nico Hischier, which will without a doubt become a force in the Metro over the next few seasons. Granted, the lack of pressure could benefit some of the players drafted in the later rounds, and Patrick Moynihan is one of them.
 
The USNTDP produced lots of talent this year, with the Americans making up a large portion of the 2019 draft class. While Moynihan didn’t light up the USHL like some drafted higher, his totals were still impressive with a combined 68 points over 92 games with the program. The 5’10 centre is committed to Providence College of the NCAA for the forseeable future, so it will be interesting to monitor his development and see if he becomes something for the Devils.

New York Islanders – Reece Newkirk (C, 5th Round, 147th Overall)

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In a successful first season without John Tavares leading the charge, the Islanders advanced to the second round before being swept by the Carolina Hurricanes. Slotted to pick at 23rd overall, they went slightly off the board and selected Swedish forward Simon Holmstrom. Aside from that, the Isles had a quiet draft weekend with only five picks, and out of the crop I think their gem is going to be Reece Newkirk.
 
Newkirk spent this season with the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL and took a huge step in his draft season, going from 11 points in 58 games to 59 points in 68 games. He isn’t the biggest player on the ice, standing at 5’11 and 172lbs, but he’s a talented offensive player and was good enough to finish fourth on the team in scoring on the team. With the Islanders already having a plethora of offensive talent lined up in the form of Mat Barzal, Oliver Wahlstrom, and Anthony Beauvillier, Newkirk’s name could join this list in the future.

New York Rangers – Adam Edstrom (C, 6th Round, 161st Overall)

Like the Devils, the Rangers’ 2019 draft class likely won’t have to worry about too much time in the spotlight as most of the focus will be shifted to second overall pick Kaapo Kakko. The Rangers had a solid draft day that saw eight new prospects don the red white and blue, and somebody worth keeping an eye on is forward Adam Edstrom.
 
The first thing you’ll notice about Edstrom is that he’s an absolute truck on the ice, standing at 6’6 and 207lbs. He doesn’t shy away from physicality and he combines this with a knack for scoring goals, which is an impressive combination that can make coaches drool. He primarily played for Mora IK’s J20 team, putting up 16 points in 20 games, and also spent time with Mora IK of the SHL where he put up one point in 15 games. He’s under contract with Rogle BK of the SHL next season and will look to secure a full time role with the team.

Philadelphia Flyers – Egor Serdyuk (RW, 6th Round, 165th Overall)

 
The Philadelphia Flyers have arguably the best crop of young talent on the back end, with a pool consisting of Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim, Samuel Morin, and Philippe Myers. They added to this crop in the first round this year, selecting defenseman Cam York at 14th overall, meaning the Flyers could arguably have the best defensive core in the NHL over the next few years. They selected seven players on draft weekend, and I have their potential gem in the person of a forward this time in Egor Serdyuk.
 
Serdyuk spent his entire career playing in his native Russia, but made the move to North America last season and spent his draft season playing for the Victoriaville Tigres of the QMJHL where he put up 65 points in 63 games. When you get the chance to draft a player who scores at a pace above a point per game in a round as late as the sixth, you take it. The Flyers could really have something going here.

Pittsburgh Penguins – Nathan Legare (RW, 3rd Round, 74th Overall)

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After a disappointing end to the season in 2018-19 that saw them get swept in the first round by the New York Islanders, the Penguins saw themselves at 21st overall on the draft board and used it to select forward Samuel Poulin. Like the Islanders, they only selected five players on day two but could have found themselves a gem in the third round. He goes by the name of Nathan Legare.
 
Legare could be deemed as both a gem and a steal, given that he very well could have gone earlier in the draft. But regardless, the fact that the Penguins were able to pounce on a player of Legare’s type in the third round counts as a gem of a pick for me. In his second season with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar of the QMJHL, he absolutely exploded offensively and put up a 45 goal, 87 point campaign over 68 games. He’s a gifted offensive forward and could end up being a steal for the Penguins so late in the draft.

Washington Capitals – Martin Hugo Has (D, 3rd Round, 91st Overall)

After a historic cup run in the 2017-18 season, the Washington Capitals fell victim to a first round elimination at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes. They ended up with a pick at 25th overall and used it to select forward Connor McMichael, and then used their second round pick to select first-round talent Brett Leason. This left the Capitals with two more picks over the weekend, and for their potential gem I decided to go with Martin Hugo Has.
 
Has is a 6’4 right handed Czech defenseman who spent this season playing for Tappara U20 of Finland’s junior leagues. He impressed here, putting up 16 points over 37 games. The defensive combination of size and right-handedness automatically makes you more valuable as a player, and I’m sure the Capitals had this in mind when they selected him. He’s geared up to play for Tappara’s pro team for the SM-Liiga next season, and could turn into an impressive pick for the Capitals.
 
Thanks for reading. Tune in next time where we’ll dive into the Central division and check out all of their potential gems.
 
stats from eliteprospects.com
 
Alex Nedeljkovic

Carolina Hurricanes: Nedeljkovic to return to Carolina

featured image photo credit – Tori Hartman (Instagram – @HartmanTori)

Carolina Hurricanes re-sign goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic.

It was announced today that GM Don Waddell has re-signed the 23-year old net-minder. Alex’s new contract goes through the 2020-21 season. For the 2019-20 season, the contract is a two-way deal worth $725,000 at the NHL level, and $70,000 at the AHL level. It also carries a $125,000 guarantee with it. The contract becomes a one-way deal in the 2020-21 season worth $750,000. Nedeljkovic is expected to contend for a roster spot during the Hurricanes’ training camp later this summer.

It’s All About Ned

Ned, as he’s fondly referred to, has become quite a household name in North Carolina. During the 2018-19 season, Nedeljkovic posted a 34-9-5 record with four shutouts, a 2.26 goals-against average, and a .916 save percentage. His regular season record netted him the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL’s most outstanding goaltender. Ned would go on to post a 10-4 record with a 2.34 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in the playoffs. Four of those wins came back-to-back to clinch the Checkers’ first-ever Calder Cup victory. In 125 career AHL games, Ned holds a 73-35-9 record with a 2.59 goals-against average, a .904 save percentage, and 10 shutouts.

Nedeljkovic, in his first NHL start against Vancouver on January 23rd, registered his first career NHL win. This makes him the fifth net-minder in Hurricanes franchise history to register a win on their first NHL start. Ned made 24 saves on 26 shots in the Hurricanes’ 5-2 win, for a 2.00 goals-against average and .923 save percentage.

Carolina’s Goaltending Situation at a glance

The Hurricanes now have at least one net-minder they have confidence in on the books. Other goaltenders include Scott Darling, pending UFAs Petr Mrazek, Curtis McElhinney, and RFA Anton Forsberg. Additionally, the Hurricanes have not hired a replacement for former goaltending coach Mike Bales. The return of Mrazek and/or McElhinney is still on the table, as reported by Michael Smith. Meanwhile, the expected buyout of Scott Darling is still under consideration.

stats from theahl.com, hockey-reference.com

featured image photo credit – Tori Hartman

Carolina Hurricanes

Carolina Hurricanes: We’ve got a new Suzuki

And we’re not talking about the automobile. In the 2019 National Hockey League Entry Draft, the Carolina Hurricanes selected centerman Ryan Suzuki in the first round, 28th overall.

Basics and Juniors career

The 18-year-old London, Ontario native couldn’t have been a better pick for Carolina. Standing at 6′ (1.84m) and weighing in at 176 lbs (80kg), he’s a mid-sized forward. But not a very physical one. What he is, however, is an excellent playmaker and skater.

Selected first overall by the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League in 2017, it didn’t take long for Suzuki to make a splash. In the 2017-18 OHL season, Ryan caught the eyes of scouts by posting 44 points (14G-30A). He followed up with four points (1G-3A) in the Colt’s 12 postseason games. Not finished for the year, he garnered seven points in six games (3G-4A) during the WHC-17 league with the Canada Red U17. In recognition of his prowess, the Colts named Suzuki assistant captain for the 2018-19 OHL regular season.

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Suzuki would show up big again during the 2018-19 OHL season for the Colts. He would be their number one player across the board, posting 75 points (25G-50A). Despite this monstrous performance, Barrie missed the playoffs last year. Ryan would then play for Canada’s U18 World Junior Championships.

Hurricanes Connections and Predictions

Suzuki is already known on the Hurricanes roster. Andrei Svechnikov and Suzuki were teammates on the Barrie Colts during the 2017-18 regular season. So there’s already some history to build upon.

With the Hurricanes training camp pending, it remains to be seen if Suzuki will start on the roster this year. If pending Unrestricted Free Agent Greg McKegg isn’t re-signed by the club, there’s a chance he’ll start on the roster as a 4C. It’s more likely, however that a centerman like Martin Necas will be brought up and he’ll play another year for Barrie. It is also a possibility he’ll move over to the Charlotte Checkers to continue development for the 2019-20 season.

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Miscellaneous

Ryan Suzuki is the younger brother of Nick Suzuki, whom the Vegas Golden Knights drafted 13th in the 2017 NHL draft.

Statistics provided by hockey-reference

Featured Image Photo Credit: Josh Tessler