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If anyone thinks Faulk-Gleason, Liles-Harrison, Hainsey-Jordan is a middle of the pack, slightly above average defense then more power to you.  That's how deep we are when injuries happen.  When we are healthy we are minus one top-dman, have a nice second pairing on most teams, then ice a stable of 6-7 guys who can't perform consistently when even slightly over-slotted.  It was pretty obvious when the season started this group of D wasn't going to be very good and they are proving it.

 

Add to that a group of forwards who have no leadership, no go-to-top line when the game is close, and a stable of kids who you hope don't hit a wall over an 82-game season because that's where your scoring is coming from on most nights.

 

Goaltending is okay but given the above, not good enough to steal games for you.

 

Yes, we are what our record says we are, if you look outside and consider there are 29 other teams who don't feel sorry for us.  Yes, we play at an average or better pace on some nights, but that's not good enough over an 82-game schedule, and all the games count at the end of the day.

 

I love what Peters is doing.  I've seen flashes. As others have stated, it's up to RF to see the writing on the wall and make the tough choices. 

Edited by coastal_caniac

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Semin is absolutely unmoveable with his contract, even if we retain salary. That's how bad it is.

I expect this to be the case for the duration of his contract. We need to buy him out or send him to Charlotte and hope that he refuses to report. I don't think either will happen. Then again I just can't see him being here next year.

It should be interesting but if we keep 7 million a year tied up in an inconsistent (or flat out bad) player hoping that he turns things around, then we failed in my opinion. That is unless things drastically change over the course of the rest of the season. But they won't.

E. Staal has built a more trustworthy name for himself, but I still see a lot of laziness and lack of passion/motivation from our "captain." I haven't liked a lot of what I've seen since last season. I think it makes too much sense not to move him if you can. He makes a ton of money compared to what you get IMO, and as with Semin I just don't see it changing/improving.

.

 

Of course, E. has a no trade clause.

 

I just want to point out one thing.  Tampa Bay.  They moved the "unmovable" fan favorites.  How did that work out for them?

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Of course, E. has a no trade clause.

 

I just want to point out one thing.  Tampa Bay.  They moved the "unmovable" fan favorites.  How did that work out for them?

Fairly well.

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Agree to disagree Coastal. Taking Sekera off of the defense does expose a below average group for sure. I am counting on Sekera to be there, and frankly still like Bellemore better than Harrison or Jordan.

Also, over the past 17 games we slot in at #6 in goals allowed. That has to accrue to defensive play at least some, it is not all Cam. May be system, but it is what has happened on the ice.

Still, team that just slips into the playoffs (my contention for this team sans the o'fer start) still will have weaknesses. Teams with almost no weaknesses are elite and no one is calling us that.

We have been a .500 team (not NHL .500) for the 16 games I wrote about. That is admittedly somewhere between where I am putting us and where you are putting us; about #10 of 16 in the conference. And probably closer to the truth. I am projecting the idea that they seem to be playing better positionally, and might keep going slightly above .500 (still not enough for playoffs) as we are.

I will admit to organizational weakness. Calling up Jordan means there is no faith in Murphy at this point, which is a bit dissappointing. He is still young, especially in dman years, but we are thin on defensive players. When you get past Sekera and Faulk, it is a committee to be sure. We could dearly use a true top pair dman. (But teams almost never trade those guys, and hence the picking of Fleury).

But I get the cynicism. This team in one form or another has had two runs at the playoffs before this year, and came up far short both times. They were left for dead by the media for this year, and have done little to dispel that this year. Despite excuses, this core has not gotten it done for an entire season, and putting out optimism about this team has not paid off to date.

That said, we have still not lost a game by more than one goal in 17 outings (empty netters aside). There is structural improvement. The Washington game can be seen in two ways (the team did not bring the A game, and key gaffes handed a game away, or NO team brings the A game every night, and but for two individual screw ups, we would have stole a game we didn't show up for, and it is only the second game since Nov 1 we didn't show up for).

It is very hard to try to read this team separate from the history of the past several years. That history suggests that this group will find a way to have a nice losing streak before it's all over. If they do, we go to plan B, start moving the older core.

But to equate the past 17 games with October isn't really fair either. To stay in 27th we are going to have to be worse than we are currently playing. That's why I think the plan is to look hard about 1-2 weeks after the Holiday break. If we are basically not getting it done, big pieces will move. Why?

1. Return. If Francis can get a solid dman and compile especially first round picks, this is the year to do it.
2. To be left with a team that really is as bad as our current place in the standings (ideally worse) and thus really might have a shot at the bottom.

This is the year of years to finish last. But everyone else knows that too. If we ever end up in a position to get that last spot, it will take some form of tanking. Not losing on purpose on the ice, butr just about everything else: starting minor league goalies and so forth. There will be a race to the bottom this year, like no other. ONLY the last place team is assured a generational talent.

Anyway, if Semin starts playing well, I actually think this team can make a move so long as Faulk, Sekera, Ward, Khudobin and our elite scorers stay relatively healthy. If Semin reverts back to .26 ppg Semin, then we are in a bad spot: a team on the verge that dug too big a hole and just might finish say 7th from the bottom again due to that hole.

I say it again, there are TWO absoltue winners after the playoffs finish: The Cup winners, and #30.

Edited by remkin

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rem, as always, I appreciate your current analysis, as well as the positive spin you interject. Saying that, I have to nitpick a little or question a part of your #1. You say "if Francis can net a SOLID D man",yet as often referenced on these and countless boards, they are as scarce "as hen's teeth". That would seem to be doubly problematic for any team positioning itself for a cup run, thus who could we trade with to acquire that much coveted asset?

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Rem, if we Move  cam, no chance of making playoffs, which i know is a long shot... So bit confused...

 

Thanks for the opportunity to clarify my position.

 

There is no need to make our run to the bottom right now. It is far too early since the team is showing solid improvement since November 1. There is no question that the team has at least all of December an the first half of January to show if it has a move up in it. I think, against most others, that such a move is possible. We are .500 with no multi-goal losses over 17 consecutive games. The defensive structure is in place (especially w/ Sekera back) to be a .500 team.

 

However, .500 is not good enough. The diffrerence? Scoring. We have the guns if they find it. The key piece is Semin. IF Semin starts finding even his .65 ppg self, there is a run in this team. If not, we are probably around .500. THAT is unacceptable. We must find a way to make the playoffs, or finish at or near the bottom.

 

If we go .500 from here out, we gradually climb up from #27 but miss the playoffs pick maybe around #12. That is in some ways the worst case scenario given the strength of this year's draft, (especially at the top) combined with the history of us doing that exact thing every year in recent memory and the old "how's that workin' out?"

 

Thus, whatever happens, at some point in the year, the decision must be made to go for it, or to go for it. Which thing we go for determines what we do w/ Cam. The second "go for it" is to go for rebuild with an eye to a quick turnaround. To have a quick turnaround we need to pick up a very solid dman, a servicable top 6 center, and compile first round picks. Then we need one key FA pick up next summer. To do that we need to trade some pieces while they have value, and we need to get worse this year. Trading Cam in that scenario accomplishes both things.

 

So: Francis lets this team keep trying to show what it can do for about 5-6 more weeks (estimated, could be longer or shorter if things break one way or the other). Then, sometime around mid Jan-early Feb, Francis makes a black-white decision: this team is in it or this team will not get it done.

 

If this team has a run and gets solidly into playoff range and is playing solidly above .500 hockey, we go for the playoffs. In that scenario, we keep Cam (and probably everyone else too).

 

If, however, this team has another losing streak and cannot put anything together in the next 5-6 weeks, then Francis flips the switch to "rebuild". In that scenario we move Cam, Eric, and Semin at least. (I know they have NTC's but that's part of why we need to give them this last run. My guess is that E and Francis have some kind of gentleman's agreement that this is the last chance. But that is a total guess.

 

Why trade Cam if he back to form? The same thing that makes it sooo hard to buy low and sell high. You have to go against the grain. Cam is still on a big contract. He is still injury prone. He is above 30. And we have to rebuild this team. BUT if he keeps playing like this? He will fetch more than a #1 draft pick. He might fetch a #1 and a piece.

 

Cam, if he keeps playing well, and Eric if he finds some game, WILL bring return. Toronto was rumored to have offered Kadri, a nice Dman and their #1 pick for E.

 

Cam and Eric are the vestiges to the past. If you want return and if you want to rebuild around a new core, they almost have to go.

 

But if Cam brought back a #1 draft pick and say a nice defensive prospect.

And Eric brought back a #1 draft pick and Kadri and a nice defenseman.

At the deadline a Tlusty on a 30 goal pace might bring a first rounder...

 

And if in the process, we get terrible and find the bottom?

 

McDavid (or Eichel) plus three more first round draft picks (four total), a nice prospect, Kadri and a nice defenseman? Add that to Fleury who should be a top pair dman in a few years...that could be a fairly quick turn. And we'd still have J, Nash, Rask, Skinner, Lindholm, (and ironically still have Semin in that scenario), Gerbe, Faulk, Sekera, and Khudini.

 

I don't know that we can really compile 4 first round picks, but imagine if we get 3 and ours is #1 or #2. That alone would be massive in this deepest of all drafts.

 

As appealing as that sounds to me, it is still plan B. Plan A is to try to make a run. Ideally with J at least on the ice for part of it.

Edited by remkin

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rem, as always, I appreciate your current analysis, as well as the positive spin you interject. Saying that, I have to nitpick a little or question a part of your #1. You say "if Francis can net a SOLID D man",yet as often referenced on these and countless boards, they are as scarce "as hen's teeth". That would seem to be doubly problematic for any team positioning itself for a cup run, thus who could we trade with to acquire that much coveted asset?

 

At this point, not clear, but any of:

 

Eric: rumored to bring back a dman, center and #1 pick from Toronto.

Cam: how times have changed. He is currently a near top 5 goalie. IF he keeps that up for 5 more weeks he will bring a solid return.

Tlusty: If he keeps on his goal pace, he will be an attractive rental. Could net a defensive prospect, or a nice draft pick.

Semin: Crazy? Yes. But if he finds his game, could return a defensive prospect to a team that thinks some nice scoring is all it needs.

Khudobin. I can't see trading him and right now he is winnless, but again, he is capable of putting up a nice stretch if we can't move Cam...

 

A draft pick: What? If we pick up a #1 for Eric, maybe we can package that pick w/ say Tlusty and Cam for a top Dman. I don't iknow I'm spitballin' now.

 

But w/ Fleury developing, I'm thinking: Faulk, Fleury, Sekera, THAT GUY. Would be a nice top 4.

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The first thing we need to do for our future D is re-sign Sekera.  Given our current "reputation" (at least among the press, don't know about the rest of the league) it's hard to see us luring a top FA d-man to Raleigh next year.  

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J is back skating. So there's that. From the Article by Michael Smith, I found this quote from Jordan telling:

 

“You can tell our team is well-coached, and you can tell there is a plan. … I know a lot of the guys are really enjoying what’s going on, the atmosphere and the work ethic that everyone is driving [toward] each other. I’m very excited about that. I’ve seen it on the ice and in the room.”

 

This is at least a hint that coaching may have been part of the problem before and that is improved. Sure he could be kissing up, but we've seen it too.

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If Eric .......can go on a scoring streak? For all of you "on pace" people he is on pace for a whopping 50 points this season.

 

If Semin .... can go on a scoring streak?  He is on pace for 25 points this season.

 

If Cam....... can continue this pace he will be about .500 in wins

 

If the Offense learns to play some defense? 

 

If Jordan..... becomes a miracle and actually defies the odds and plays to his career averages.

 

If we an find.......somebody to play with Eric? We have been looking for that mythical player for 7 or 8 seasons.

 

Skinner?  If somebody doesn't start delivering a good butt whipping to the cheap shot artists, then Jeff is one good noggin knocker away from asking for a colouring book for Christmas.

 

 

Too many ifs. 

 

Play the kids as much as possible. Get them acclimated to the grind of 82 games at NHL speed. Let them develop that core identity that will allow this team to become consistent winners. Playoff streaks will improve the attitude of the fan base.

 

The euphoria of the Stanley Cup has worn off.and the chance for big changes is available. For the big contracts we gave out the results have been disappointing. Or we can continue to grind in hope for a periodic playoff spot.

Edited by winger52

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Regardless of what we do I don't see us as being competitive in a "race to the bottom". I think we've just got too much talent (I subscribe to the theory that teams can't really tank except by "strategic roster management").  

 

Team       Games          Points             Goal Differential

Slugs           27                20                      -38     

Canes         25                19                      -14

Oilers          26                17                      -32

 

I believe that goal differential stat is probably almost as good a predictor about future results as the current record is. I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing. :huh: 

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On Spector's Hockey this morning

 

Carolina Hurricanes GM Ron Francis is poised to cut some cash and is willing to move “pretty much any blueliner”. Garrioch speculates Francis could try to move Andrej Sekera, Tim Gleason and possibly John-Michael Liles

It's from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun and clearly just speculation. Although Lyle Richardson says Francis has said he hopes to re-sign Sekera, so unless the blueliner wants to test the UFA market he’s not available

 

Yet in our situation I don't think it is a stretch to think Francis could make a move or two soon.

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I just dont think our D is the main issue here.. The net minding has been good and our piece mill D has kept some very good teams from blowing us out. (its not stellar). the math shows about 2.1 goals netted per night this season, and no matter how great your D, most nights its going to take 3 plus goals to win... E, Skins, Sems, Tlusty are ALL streaky scorers and prone to injuries and or excuses.. imo, id trade any of the four (if there are takers) for a puck mover and a consistent scoring threat type players... 

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GPG: 26

PPP: 20.5% (12)

PK: 84.5% (7)

GA: 72 (14)

 

 

These stats lead me to the realization of the current state of the team.  This team is very well coached, hence the pretty respectable PK and PP ranks along with the GA rank.  When was the last time we had these kind of ranks for special teams?  It's been a while.

 

The issue is that we do not have the proper horses in place in order to get the job done.  From the defense to the forwards it just isn't the right mix of forwards and defense.  Goal tending has been OK.  Basically if your name is not Lindholm, Nasty, Nash,  Rask, Skinner, Jordan Staal, Ward, K-Dub.  Then you've got to go.  It's time for a complete overhaul starting at the defense and moving on to the forwards.  This team just doesn't have it even when they're well coached.

 

Gentlemen, here is to the first overall pick this off season and landing an elite prospect that will change this franchise.  BUT....  Jordan Staal is about to come back and I fear that will ruin this teams chances of a top 5 pick.  Bottom line:  the team is well-coached but doesn't have the horses.  it's not the coach, it's the players that are the problem.

Edited by bluedevil58

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Regardless of what we do I don't see us as being competitive in a "race to the bottom". I think we've just got too much talent (I subscribe to the theory that teams can't really tank except by "strategic roster management").  

Ah, but if and when the trigger is pulled, we will be less competitive as we offload talent. I don't think E has looked like dominant E. since his knee surgery, but take him off the team along with a couple of other key guys? Look at our record in October.

 

Maybe Francis has seen enough. If E. is down for any length of time....it could happen sooner than I thought.

 

I figured he would try to let J get back and play a bit before pulling the cord. I thought he would give the team about 15 more games to either put a run together or not. (Still would leave three months after that to tan......uh stratgically manage the roster...).

 

BUT if E is on crutches...If E is out for any length of time. Sorry, but any chance of the needed run goes out with him. If E. is out for more than a few games....let the games begin. (Trading games).

 

Just not sure what interest is out there now. A bit early for a lot of trades.

Edited by remkin

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On Spector's Hockey this morning

 

It's from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun and clearly just speculation. Although Lyle Richardson says Francis has said he hopes to re-sign Sekera, so unless the blueliner wants to test the UFA market he’s not available

 

Yet in our situation I don't think it is a stretch to think Francis could make a move or two soon.

 

Well the Ottawa Sun, if I recall has a somewhat spotty record predicting things.

 

Sekera has stepped back a bit this year, but so has Faulk in spots. Sekera and Faulk are clearly our most valuable D men, and by a long ways. Maybe Francis would say "have at anyone on our defense", to get interest, but then ask too much for Sekera and Faulk.

 

The only thing would be if Sekera doesn't buy into the plan and coming from Buffalo and playing in empty houses in Raleigh has left him wanting out. If not, we can't get guys like Sekera in free agency. We NEED to keep him. Is he a top NHL top pairing dman? Maybe not, but you need 6 guys on defense, and they don't grow on trees and Fleury is at least two years away from being even bascially effective at the NHL level. We build a great defense by adding to Faulk and Sekera. Not losing them.

Edited by remkin

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Well apparently Staal is game to game, so I go back to my January deadline for the shake up.

 

This is not to say that a Hainsey or Tlusty level move might not happen, but not the blow up.

 

Back out on an Island of sorts to say in these dim times that there is still a chance.

 

Three things:

 

1. Stop the gaffes

2. Get to the net at least a little better.

3. Semin. Has to find some kind of offensive game.

 

I'm not putting the big bet down, but I give them 4-5 more weeks to try.

Edited by remkin

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Well the Ottawa Sun, if I recall has a somewhat spotty record predicting things.

 

Sekera has stepped back a bit this year, but so has Faulk in spots. Sekera and Faulk are clearly our most valuable D men, and by a long ways. Maybe Francis would say "have at anyone on our defense", to get interest, but then ask too much for Sekera and Faulk.

 

The only thing would be if Sekera doesn't buy into the plan and coming from Buffalo and playing in empty houses in Raleigh has left him wanting out. If not, we can't get guys like Sekera in free agency. We NEED to keep him. Is he a top NHL top pairing dman? Maybe not, but you need 6 guys on defense, and they don't grow on trees and Fleury is at least two years away from being even bascially effective at the NHL level. We build a great defense by adding to Faulk and Sekera. Not losing them.

 

And therein lies the rub.  Using the patented RPM (remkin projection method) look at Sekera's numbers for a "full" 2014-15 compared to last year:

Year             Games     Goals    Assists    Points     +/-   ppg   

'13-'14             74            11        33           44         +4    0.59

'14-'15             74              0        25           25        -31    0.34

14-15current   24              0          8             8       -10     0.34

NHL career     437           28       116        144      even   0.33

 

Last year was a career year for Sekera, a full fifth (0.20) of a point better ppg average than his next best year. And last year he scored half as many goals as in the rest of his NHL career combined.  Was last year an "outlier" or did it mark an uptick in Sekera's skills?   I also very recently said in a post that we need to re-sign Sekera.  But after looking more closely at his career I'm starting to rethink things. Given our history of over priced, long-term contracts, I'm now thinking that our negotiations need to be based on his career numbers and not overly influenced by last year's performance.  And given the league demand for d-men, I'm seriously wondering if that kind of offer will be enough to keep him here.   Don't get me wrong, I'd like to keep him, but I don't want to make the same mistake we've made so often in the recent past and overpay. 

 

:twilight-zone: I'm starting to think this whole GM thing might be a bit harder than I thought. :P

Edited by LakeLivin

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Yeah, it does come down to cost, and yes it is key that we don't overpay based on last year. But then again, your table will probaly be discussed in the negotiations. This year's return to Earth on the offensive numbers should shave some off of his price.

 

But even if he is not last year's offensive Sekera, Sekera is a very good defenseman IMHO, whether he is putting up a ton of points or not. He is smooth and mobile. He gets the puck out of the zone, and makes good passes. He can skate, and has had good advanced stats even in Buffalo.

 

It is the long term problem of not overpaying to get guys to stay in the small market on a losing team problem, but this defense is shakey as is. Take Sekera off it....not good. He is a key piece in my mind.

 

In fairness he is a very very good #3 dman rather than a servicable top pair guy. But you need that to have a good defense. You can't hide your second pairing.

 

In my dreams, we somehow land (trade?) a true top pair dman, and keep Faulk and Sekera. Then as young Fleury comes into form we've got a great nucleus.

 

Of course that "somehow land a top dman" is like the old Steve Martin joke: "How to make $1 million and never pay taxes." Line. "First, get $1 million, then..."

Edited by remkin

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Rem, we're on the same page as far as what we want to happen.  I'm just becoming a bit skeptical that it will happen. And the worst outcome is that we lose Sekera to free agency without getting a return. So IF we're going to end up trading him, I wonder when his value gets the biggest. At the deadline when teams know they need help for a playoff push, or does his value go down as time goes on if his production doesn't increase?  I'm not pretending to know the answer to that one . . . 

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I'm wondering if the old saying "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" isn't applicable here? Surely we could strike out, but interminably chasing after that 1 elusive "top pairing" Dman is Edmontonian.

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First, I'm not embracing any stinking tank.  You play to win the games.  With that said...

 

Wake me up when the "run" starts.

 

We are what we are.  Way too big of a hole, and we just aren't that good 5 on 5.

 

I'd bet the bank RF already knows and has a tentative plan on what he's going to do at the deadline.

Edited by coastal_caniac

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Wake me up when this "run" starts.

 

Wake me up when we stop gaffing.

 

Seems like wins are only a stopped gaff away.  Easy to say things would be better if they stopped.  Problem is the level these players are at mean we see more gaffs per play compared to elite players.

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