RALEIGH, NC. – Clad in Hurricanes sweaters and split among two groups45 skaters and six goaltenders made their way to the ice Thursday morning at PNC Arena.
On the first day that the NHL allowed on-ice activities for teams, Rod Brind’Amour and staff got their first taste of those competing for 2022-23 roster spots.
While they have some new pieces to assessthose joining come to a roster that carries the same expectation from last year into the new campaign – contend for the Stanley Cup.
“You want to be in that conversation. You can have the best team in the league every year, [all it does] is give you a chance,” Brind’Amour said, insinuating that Talent on paper doesn’t always equate to being the last team standing. “I think it’s safe to say that with the group we have right now, we have a chance. And that’s a far cry from the stretches [of years] where it was more than a hope. Now it’s not. This is more of a reality. If we come to work and do our job, we have a chance.”
Day One: ✅ pic.twitter.com/o4VOYKUMpQ
– Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) September 22, 2022
Svechnikov Paces The Pack
While it’s far too soon to put stock in who skated with who on what line (we know these will change often between today and October 12), one noticeable feature to today’s practice was who stood out at the end.
After an hour of vigorous work for each group, Strength & Conditioning Coach Bill Burniston took to the ice to shout instructions for what would be some hard skating drills. Welcome back.
Of the first batch, Andrei Svechnikov was one who showed that his metaphorical gas tank appeared to be in good condition. Sharing that the summer felt long to him, the same hunger to get better that the 22-year-old has possessed his entire career was evident.
“I was training back home for three months, I couldn’t wait to start the season,” Svechnikov began. “I know I have lots of room to improve and I want to prove it to everyone, as well as to myself. I was working hard and I feel like I got better. My goal is to be a star.”
In regard to how he builds off of a career-high 30 goals and 69 points?
“I worked on a little bit of everything, to be honest. My skating, my shooting, being mentally sharp as well. Hopefully all the little details will come together for me to be even better this season.”
A Fresh Start For Pederson
When looking at the breakdown of each group it becomes apparent quickly that the “C1” unit carries more NHL experience. All 22 skaters have played in the league, while comparatively only five from group “C2” have.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that those in the early group will be the roster that the team rolls out on Opening Night against Columbus though.
For Lane Pedersonwho skated with the second group Thursday, he’s eager to use the opportunity provided to showcase what he’s got at his new club. Acquired with Brent Burns from San Jose on July 13the now sixth-year pro wants to prove that he can hang with the top dogs after amassing 205 American Hockey League games.
“[The trade] came as a bit of a surprise, I didn’t have any expectations that I was going to be moved. When I saw it I was definitely shocked, but I got excited really quickly,” the 25-year-old from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan offered. “This is a Championship caliber team. It’s a great group of guys, everyone in the organization has been super welcoming. There’s something special going on in that room and I’m excited to be a part of it.”
While his showing with the Sharks last year wasn’t what he’d hoped it would have been production-wise, he’s hoping to build off of a career-high 29 NHL games.
“It’s a fresh start, a new opportunity. Last year I faced quite a bit of adversity and it didn’t really go the way that I had envisioned. It’s a clean slate and a chance to make a first impression. There’s not a lot of turnover, but I’m here to make the team. I believe I can play in the NHL and I’m an NHL player. It may not happen on day one or day two, but I’m here to put my best foot forward and help the team in any way that I can.”
- Defenseman Jake Gardiner was indeed not with the team as camp got underway and is not expected to be moving forward. Brind’Amour said, “He had a setback and just isn’t healthy enough to do it. Unfortunately he’s had a lot of surgeries and we know he’s been nicked up.”
- In terms of other injuries, forward Ryan Suzuki is working individually after not playing in the Prospect Showcase (upper-body). Defenseman Cavan Fitzgerald will also not take part in camp due to an undisclosed injury.
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