Storm Debris: Lots of Random Thoughts on the Hurricanes

Cliff Pu with the London Knights. (Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
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Welcome to Storm Debris! This will be a collection of thoughts on the Hurricanes that are too big for a tweet but not big enough for an article on their own. We’ll talk about the team, our prospects, and other news from around the league!

Zykov

Valentin Zykov’s impact on the Hurricanes this season has been minimal to say the least. He has been scratched for Phil DiGiuseppe, who had a couple of good games post call-up like he always does, but once again has been unimpressive. It’s no secret that the Hurricanes need scoring help, but the sense that I’m getting from Brind’Amour is that he prefers to play players labeled as “energy guys” in major situations. Zykov will need to be called up no later than the 27th to fulfill the requirements of his conditioning stint, which may throw a wrench in the Hurricanes’ plans. Zykov has the potential to be a decent scorer at the NHL level. He won’t be able to replicate his AHL goal totals, but the Hurricanes won’t need him to. They’ll just need him to score more than Phil DiGiuseppe can. There aren’t a whole lot of options and places to slot Zykov, meaning that he’ll have to play with Brock McGinn and Lucas Wallmark once Rask returns from injury. This line may be a little better than our current fourth line of McGinn, Bishop, and PDG, so that might work.

Another possibility is Zykov being traded, which is a thought that was first brought up by Elliotte Friedman in his 31 thoughts article. He mentions that Zykov could be moved out if the Hurricanes add a forward. Zykov has potential but hasn’t been given a chance to prove himself at the NHL level. His 11 points in 25 games come over a stretch of three NHL seasons, which isn’t a huge sample size, especially over that time frame. There are a few scenarios that could occur when you think about trading for Zykov.

  1. He’s packaged in a trade for an NHL forward

This is the option that seems to be brought up on Twitter a lot. I’m not sure if Zykov is enough to be that enticing of a piece in a trade for a top six forward. He’s a good third line forward that can play on your second power play unit. You’re likely going to get 30 or so points from him, which is a decent amount for a third line player. I don’t believe that adding Zykov to a player for player trade is enough for the other team to agree to a trade, so I don’t think that this option is likely.

2. Zykov gets traded for a few draft picks

Again, this scenario isn’t that likely. Since the Hurricanes have a lack of depth scoring, Zykov won’t be moved for future assets. Teams won’t give up a first round pick for him, and I’m not convinced that he could fetch more than a third and a fourth round pick.

3. The Hurricanes sell low on Zykov and he does well with his new team

I’m worried about this happening. The Hurricanes decide to sell low on Zykov and he does incredibly well with his new team, a la Jeff Skinner in 2018 and Jussi Jokinen for a few years after we traded him. It probably won’t happen, but it’s still a concern on mine. But hey, that fourth round pick could be something, right? I’ll see myself out.

Jeff Skinner

Alright if my last section didn’t get you mad, this one is probably going to make you mad. If you were already mad, go outside, take a deep breath, come back inside, think about this and realize that hockey has no effect on the outcome of your life and that you really shouldn’t take this all too seriously. First, I acknowledge that the return for Skinner was terrible. We could have easily gotten more, but what’s done is done. The return wasn’t great and reminding people about that every day is only going to make you feel more angry about it. Sorry. Secondly, the assumption that Skinner would be doing as well here as he is with Buffalo is a farce. Credit to Dylan for putting this thought in my mind.

Skinner never went on the record about his feelings playing for the Hurricanes, but based on his play in Buffalo, I’d say that he’s benefiting from a change of scenery. I wouldn’t want to be here if I played in eight seasons with a team that failed to make the playoffs once during my tenure there. I wouldn’t want to play for a team that didn’t actually seem committed to making the team better when it was clear that there were issues. Skinner would be putting forth the same effort that he put forth last season, which infuriated a lot of people, and it would be justified. Instead, he’s being played with good players and is being successful. Of course it hurts a little seeing him succeed and seeing where our management fell short. But assuming that Skinner would be doing just as well here isn’t accurate.

Even if he did want to leave, Skinner shouldn’t be the one to be blamed for that, though. I’m placing the blame on Karmanos for not being an active owner. He didn’t seem all too eager to go out and actually acquire talent, and when he would say that we needed to improve, he’d sit on his hands. Our off-seasons consisted of the team bringing in fourth line players up until Ron Francis became the GM, and even then, the team was never able to add more than one good piece a season. The organization screwed up big-time with Jeff Skinner. They had a chance to build the team around a talented young scorer, but they instead saddled him with players below his skill level and weren’t able to build a talented team around him.

Penguins Making Moves

The Penguins made headlines last week by trading Carl Hagelin to the Los Angeles Kings in order to acquire Tanner Pearson. This is probably one of those “change of scenery” moves, but it really looks like two teams trying to make a move just to make a move. Neither team improves all that much by making this trade, and the Penguins won’t be saving a whole lot in terms of cap space for the rest of Pearson’s tenure with the team. The sense is that the Penguins aren’t done making moves yet. They’ve had injury issues, but a team with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel shouldn’t be at the bottom of their division. The Penguins will likely make another trade or two to acquire a player that will help immediately. It’ll likely be a deal similar to what you’d see at the deadline, but the timing could possibly work out in Jim Rutherford’s favor. Teams aren’t panicking yet, so the prices for players might be a little less ridiculous. Still, there are very few teams that are willing to part with assets this early in the game, which might make it a little hard to make a trade. It’s possible that Rutherford will have to offer a lot more than he’d want to for a player that’s a pending UFA. The Penguins need cap space with Jake Guentzel becoming an RFA this summer, so it’s entirely possible that Derick Brassard gets traded for the third time since July of 2016.

Drury Flying Under the Radar

Hurricanes fans have paid a lot of attention to the NCAA this season due to the performances of Adam Fox and David Cotton. One player that’s flying under the radar a bit is Jack Drury, the Hurricanes’ second round pick in 2018. Drury has eight points in seven games to start his freshman year at Harvard. A lot of those points have come on the power play, and he’s been a big factor on one of the top power play units in the NCAA this season. Drury has been winning a lot of faceoffs and is typically used down low on the power play. He either plays on the wall closest to the hash marks or plays behind the goal line. His skating has improved and he’s looking like a promising prospect. It’s still early, but that’s my bit of prospect analysis. I’m pretty sure that my contract states that every article has to mention a Hurricanes prospect at least once.

Calm Before the Hockey Game

A lot of the CBTS crew will be attending a game soon. We don’t have a date set just yet, but it’s looking like it’ll be during the middle of December. It’ll be a fun game and we’d love to talk with our readers before the game and/or during intermissions. Also don’t be sure to miss our dance routine that Tripp Tracy totally stole from us.

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