Zac Dalpe

Can Zac Dalpe have a Jeff Skinner-like breakout for Carolina?

Last season, the Carolina Hurricanes had a phenomenal breakout rookie season from 18 year-old Jeff Skinner. Skinner went from the 2010 NHL Draft to being the Calder Trophy winner at the end of the season thanks to putting up 31 goals and 32 assists finishing just behind Eric Staal on the team in points. Without Skinner, the Hurricanes could’ve been one of the lowest scoring teams in the league. Instead they were a threat to make the playoffs, just missing out in the end.

The Canes head into this season having Staal and Skinner being known factors, but they very well might have a new, young breakout candidate in their midst in the form of 21 year-old Zac Dalpe. Dalpe is entering his second NHL season and while he got a small taste of the action last year playing in 15 games, he’s opening a lot of eyes in training camp. After having an impressive season in the AHL that saw him score 23 goals and add 34 assists, he’s gunning to stick with the Hurricanes full time this year.

Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer gets Dalpe’s thoughts about getting a shot in the preseason playing alongside Eric Staal and Alexei Ponikarovsky on the first line.

“They like to play north-south and that’s my game too,” Dalpe said of Staal and Ponikarovsky. “Hopefully we’ll complement each other well and hopefully I’ll get a couple more games with them and get more comfortable.

“But you don’t want to get too comfortable and start trying to make plays that are out of your element just because you’re playing with them. Obviously I got put there for a reason so I’m just going to keep doing that I’ve been doing, finding the big guy in the slot and hopefully it all works out.”

Getting Dalpe work on that line allows Jeff Skinner to work with Tuomo Ruutu on the second line and if Dalpe can continue to show his skills off, he could help the Hurricanes forget about losing Erik Cole to free agency this summer. Without Cole around, that’s 26 goals and 52 points gone from last year that they’ll need to find a way to replace. Dalpe has been in competition with Jiri Tlusty during training camp to see who can get the bigger minutes with the big time players, but it’s been Dalpe whose seemingly taken advantage of the opportunity so far.

If Dalpe can bring the sort of game he showed in the AHL with Charlotte last season and take the lessons learned from his cup of coffee with the Hurricanes, he could be poised for a big season, especially if he sticks on a line with Staal. Ponikarovsky isn’t the scoring forward he was while with Toronto so Staal is going to need someone to help him out. Dalpe could just be that guy.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?