Heading into the deadline, I’ve had a lot of questions about this team. Where do we stand? What’s the identity of the team? Are we really good enough? A lot of those answers have been disappointing, but it’s made me work hard to understand some of the issues that this team has. Instead of tweeting a bunch about it, I figured I’d condense it. It’s been a frustrating month, and I don’t want to frustrate anyone else any further.
Why no call ups?
If you’ve been on twitter lately, you’ve seen people whine and moan about the Canes not calling anyone up. It’s not that these guys haven’t earned it. Warren Foegele and Valentin Zykov have more than earned it. A question that I’ve asked in return is: what if the Canes are trying to build a culture of winning through the Checkers? This is something they should have done more last season, but the team barely squeaked in. Now, Charlotte is experiencing a lot of success, and it looks like they’ll make the playoffs. A lot of players in Charlotte haven’t experienced a deep run, except for Foegele, Ned, and Gauthier. If you give some of the young players some time in the playoffs, they’ll begin to want to work for the postseason and all that comes with it. It’s a bit of a stretch, I know. The Canes have cup winners on their team, but some of the other players just don’t know what it’s like yet. There’s no culture of winning here, especially when some of our best players haven’t even seen an NHL playoff game yet.
Are depth moves okay?
This thought came up today. We’ve struggled once again with our defense, and we’ve struggled with our depth players this season. We’ve all been expecting a big trade, but it doesn’t look likely at this point. While I’m pretty upset about it, I’d be more upset if we did nothing. If management truly believes this team is good enough as it is, there’s a problem. If they make a few moves to try and improve the roster, I’ll be much happier. Even if it’s for a guy like Hartman. He’ll be so much better than Nordstrom or even Di Giuseppe, so it’s definitely an upgrade. A small upgrade, but an upgrade nonetheless. And if management thinks that this team isn’t good enough, and they decide to sell a few of the UFA’s, it’s something to be happy about. It will show me that the team is willing to work hard to improve the team or build on the future. The time for a big trade is long overdue, but I would not be against some depth moves to at least improve the team a little bit. If we traded some guys like Nordstrom, PDG, or even Ryan, I feel like this team would be better. We’d call up guys that are better, and we might actually get a few picks for improving our team. It’s a stretch.
Is this team still good enough?
As it stands, no. I don’t believe that this team is good enough, especially since some of our forwards have looked like they’ve thrown in the towel recently. Looking at you, Jeff. There were so many “ifs” heading into this season that always had me skeptical about the playoffs. If Aho can replicate last season’s success, we’ll be fine. He has done that. Oh but also, Jeff Skinner has to be a 30 goal scorer again. He hasn’t been that guy as often this season, and we’re struggling to score. Scoring woes are evergreen. If we get solid performances from Darling, this team will be good to go. We haven’t had that, and the team isn’t in a playoff spot as of right now. Good teams don’t have so much uncertainty surrounding them before each season. While Aho and Teravainen have been good, the rest of the team has been incredibly inconsistent. We didn’t expect bad play from both Rask and Faulk, and it’s concerning to see how this is playing out. The Canes were expected to be a bubble team that just squeaked in, but this is a bit ridiculous. There shouldn’t be this much uncertainty surrounding our roster.
Is it worth making the playoffs to just get beaten in the first round?
Normally, most teams would disagree. Teams like Chicago, Washington, and Columbus would probably be disappointed with a first round exit. On the other hand, teams like Carolina have missed the playoffs for eight, almost nine seasons now. Their fans are ready to experience that atmosphere again. A lot of us won’t care if we get swept in the first round. We just want to have playoffs again. It would be great to market to the community, and the team would most definitely profit. While it may not look as good from the league’s standpoint, it would be an excellent way to get fans excited for next season.
Are Dundon’s changes affecting play?
I’ve wondered this for a while now. Karmanos didn’t seem to be very vocal with the players, and I feel like a lot of our guys got used to not being told what to do. Now that Dundon is here, our players have a boss that actually tells them what to do. For some, this may be an unwelcome change of pace. He’s impatient, and expects change right away. While it looks great to the fans, it might be upsetting some of the players. I’ve always wondered if the players have been upset with how he’s been handling things, or if they’re just pissed because he’s “not a hockey guy.” Again, I’m not sure if this is a legit concern. I’ve wondered if he’s having an effect on the locker room as well, and it’s quite possible. Dundon is the polar opposite of Karmanos, and some players might not like it.