Author: Ryan Dadoun

New York Islanders v Washington Capitals - Game Five

Neuvirth cites Voracek as his reason for joining Flyers


Any Flyers fans that were happy to see goaltender Michal Neuvirth sign with their team this summer can apparently thank Jakub Voracek for that.

“I met Jake and we talked about things here and he said all good things about the Flyers,” Neuvirth told CSN Philly. “He wanted me to come here. I think it made him happy when I signed here. … He was the reason I signed here.”

Neuvirth, 27, inked a two-year, $3.25 million deal to serve as Steve Mason’s understudy. The hope is that he’ll prove to be more effective in that role than Ray Emery was last season.

Although this is the first time that Voracek and Neuvirth will play together in the NHL, the two have been working together on the Czech national team since they were teenagers.

For his part though, Voracek doesn’t want to take credit for recruiting Neuvirth.

“I think it’s hard to say I convinced him,” Voracek said. “I told him this was a great place to play with a great locker room [of guys]. A lot of potential. That’s all I said.”

Neuvirth has a 2.73 GAA and .912 save percentage in 168 career NHL games.

Hurricanes add Ray Whitney, three others to scouting staff

Jeff Daniels
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Less than a year after officially ending his playing career, Ray Whitney has returned to the Carolina Hurricanes to begin the next chapter of his professional life.

Along with Mark Craig, Jeff Daniels, and Don Elland, Whitney has joined the Carolina Hurricanes’ scouting staff, per the team’s release. Elland will serve as an amateur scout while the rest will be pro scouts.

“Mark, Jeff and Ray will bring a fresh perspective to our pro scouting staff, and Don brings a wealth of experience in the OHL to our amateur staff,” said Hurricanes GM Ron Francis.

Whitney enjoyed a 1,330-game playing career that involved stints with the San Jose Sharks, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Phoenix Coyotes, and Dallas Stars as well as the Hurricanes. His stint with Carolina was the longest at 372 games, but more importantly Carolina is the team he won the Stanley Cup with back in 2006.

He’s tied for 59th place on the all-time assists leaderboard (679) and is 63rd in points (1,064).

Daniels is another former Hurricanes player and the retired forward logged 425 games at the NHL level. At this point though, Hurricanes fans likely know him better for his work as a coach as he spent four years working as an assistant with Carolina before logging another seven as the bench boss of their AHL-affiliate. He was relieved of that post in April.

Craig also has ties to the Hurricanes, albeit in a less direct way. When current Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos Jr. owned the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires, Craig was his team’s first bench boss. Craig spent the 2014-15 campaign as the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers’ general manager, which Karmanos also owned until January.

Similarly, Elland was the Whalers’ head coach for the 2014-15 campaign and had originally joined that franchise’s coaching staff in 2010.

Wild ’15-16 Outlook

Zach Parise

When looking at the Minnesota Wild, it’s easy to see their potential, but without making any major additions over the summer, are they in a position to get past the second round for the first time since 2003?

To a decent extent, Minnesota’s fate rests on Devan Dubnyk’s shoulders. This is a team that was in a free fall when he was acquired and his stellar play helped right the ship. Minnesota doesn’t necessarily need him to win the Vezina Trophy, but if he struggles mightily, as he did in 2013-2014, then Minnesota could be in serious trouble. Of course Darcy Kuemper and perhaps even Niklas Backstrom could step up to fill the void in that scenario, but Backstrom is 37 years old with a history of injuries while Kuemper is coming off of an erratic campaign.

Part of the reason why so much rides on Dubnyk though is because Minnesota’s offense hasn’t been anything to write home about. Which is a shame because in theory, Zach Parise, Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek, and Mikko Koivu should make for a great core and when you throw in promising youngsters like Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter, and Charlie Coyle, the potential is there for the Wild to be more than a middle of the road team when it comes to offensive production.

That’s what they were last season though, in part because Koivu regressed while Granlund, Niederreiter, and Coyle weren’t able to make meaningful offensive improvements compared to their 2013-14 campaigns. Perhaps that will change this season though and if it does, that would certainly take some of the pressure off of the Wild’s goaltending.

As far as their defense goes, Ryan Suter is expected to once again play in nearly half of every game. Jared Spurgeon, Marco Scandella, and Jonas Brodin are projected to make major contributions too, but the X-factor is 21-year-old Matt Dumba as he should play a bigger role in his sophomore campaign after being limited to 15:00 minutes per contest last season.

The makings of a contender are there. It’s just a question of if everyone will click this time around.