As much as things have changed for the Carolina Hurricanes, one rather simple hope remains: the team is crossing its fingers for better injury luck.
Alexander Semin knows that well, and with offseason wrist surgery in mind, he remains a health question mark heading into next season. The latest update is positive and in line with that earlier prognosis: it appears that the 30-year-old sniper should be good to go for Hurricanes training camp.
That’s the word from new GM Ron Francis to the Raleigh News & Observer (more precisely, Francis said he’s “progressing as expected”).
It was an up-and-down season for the Russian winger, as he managed a respectable 20 goals and 42 points in 65 games, which was admittedly a step down from his point-per-game debut season with Carolina.
The Hurricanes likely hope for Semin to regain that elite scoring touch from his best years with the Washington Capitals, although it stands to mention that he hasn’t passed the 30-goal mark in some time (he hit 40 in 2009-10 but hasn’t topped the 28 he scored in 2010-11 since).
Time isn’t kind to most NHL snipers, yet Semin hasn’t ever played in more than 77 regular season games in a single season. If he can get a few more health-related breaks, the Hurricanes would see some very nice benefits, especially if that vaunted shot isn’t limited by a wonky wrist.
As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.
Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.
While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.
It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.
One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.
Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.
Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.
Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?
Considering all of the controversy surrounding the 41-game suspension for Raffi Torres, some might have lost track of the guy who received that hit: Jakob Silfverberg.
The good news is that, at the moment, it seems like he’s OK.
The Anaheim Ducks announced that he skated on his own and will be involved in the team’s next practice:
That falls in line with some of the fall-out from the hit, as head coach Bruce Boudreau let out a relieved “thank goodness” at the young forward seemingly dodging a bullet.
Here’s video of the hit and the suspension decision:
Silfverberg, 24, enjoyed a nice breakout in 2014-15, especially during the playoffs.
Keep in mind that injuries can sometimes crop up later than expected, especially potential head injuries/concussions. Still, it seems like the initial reaction is that the damage was minimal.