A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Canes final roster starting to take shape

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Hurricanes played red-white scrimmages. After Wednesday's session, 15 players were shipped to Albany. Four players had already been sent to their respective junior teams. The training camp roster now stands at 33 players.
Surviving the first cut was Brandon Sutter. Because he is under 20 and came up through junior hockey in Canada, he is ineligible to play in Albany. It's either the big club or back to Red Deer for him. There are different provisions for European players under the age of 20, but North Americans have age guidelines.

It's not likely that Sutter will make the final cut, and frankly I'm a little surprised that he made the first cut. He will need to gain about 25 pounds before his body will be ready. He'll also need to develop as a player a little more.

Of the forwards who are still in camp, the most likely final cut survivors are Keith Aucoin and Ryan Bayda. Both had great years with Albany last season. Aucoin had 99 points (27/72) in 65 games and Bayda had 54 (29/25) points in 55 games. Bayda recorded a goal and an assist for two total points in nine games with the big club while Aucoin had one assist in ten appearances with the Canes.

If memory serves me, Bayda scored a goal in his first NHL game. It was back in the abysmal 2002-03 season, and he was one of six Canes players to do the same. Brad DeFauw and Damien Surma were two of the others, and I can't recall the rest.

Less likely to survive, but still alive are forwards Jakub Petruzalek and Pat Dwyer.

Newly arrived "third" goaltender Michael Leighton has been impressive. This is much to the delight of some fans who wish Crackers would take a hike. The other goalies have gone their respective way.

With Bret Hedican's health still a question mark, there may be a roster spot open for a blueliner. Luke Decock of the News and Observer continues to use doublespeak on this subject. According to the steady steam of confusing reports, one day Hedican is in bad shape; the next, he's never looked better. The most likely candidates to fill a vacancy are Noah Babin, Casey Borer and Brett Carson. Babin has been all the rage of camp, and even if he doesn't make the final cut, the Floridian will likely be the first defenseman to get called up.

In the red-white game on Wednesday, Jeff Hamilton scored two goals. He's doing okay. Chad LaRose is already up and skating again. Frantisek Kaberle is up to full speed. Andrew Ladd skated. Justin Williams escaped serious injury after being hit on the ankle by a shot. As it looks right now, the injuries aren't going to be a factor on opening night.

Carolina will host Nashville on Friday night in its second exhibition game of the preseason. RBH will not have a presence there.

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