Given how well Tyler Seguin played with a knee brace, news of him getting rid of it is kind of a big deal.
“I want to go free,” Seguin told the Dallas Morning News this week, confirming he’s skating without a brace and hopes to open training camp the same way.
“I’m sure you can use a smaller brace or a lighter brace, but they say that once you start relying on them, you never get off. I like skating without one, and I want to keep it that way.”
Seguin missed 10 games last February/March following a hit from Florida’s Dmitry Kulikov. Originally scheduled to miss up to six weeks, he returned in three to aid Dallas in its (ultimately futile) late playoff push, admitting the knee was “definitely not anywhere near 100 percent.”
Not like it mattered an awful lot.
Seguin had eight goals and 10 assists in 16 games after his return and then, just a few weeks after the regular season ended, scored a tournament-high nine goals in 10 games to help Canada capture gold at the Worlds.
It’s easy to see why Seguin wants to go full-stop right out of training camp. He knows last year’s slow start was a big reason why Dallas missed the playoffs, something the club expects to change after an exciting offeason in which it acquired Patrick Sharp, Johnny Oduya and Antti Niemi.
“After the slow start, we spent the next 60 games trying to catch up, and we were never able to do that,” Seguin explained. “The start is important, obviously, there are too many good teams to try to fight through a bad start.”
Noah Hanifin stands as the sort of defensive prospect the Carolina Hurricanes badly need, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll use him right away.
For every 18-year-old blueliner who weathers the storm of an immediate NHL jump (see: Aaron Ekblad), there are plenty of young players who benefit from more seasoning before they play at the highest level. The Canes seem comfortable taking a patient approach with Hanifin, as the Charlotte News & Observer reports.
“We don’t want to force him in there if he’s not ready,” GM Ron Francis said. “We’ll give him time to develop. I’m certainly not ruling it out, but we want to be careful and make sure we do what’s right for Noah.”
Frankly, the slow-and-steady approach might be wise for both sides. Let’s ponder a few reasons why:
- Defensive prospects often take years to develop – Again, Ekblad is probably the exception to the rule.
- The Hurricanes are expected to be mediocre, at best – OK, there’s always the chance that a team might make a surprise turnaround, and there is indeed talent on this roster. Still, most would probably agree that Carolina is in a “transitional” period, and probably won’t make many preseason playoff prediction lists.
- Bang for the buck – People frequently forget that there are perils when it comes to “burning” years off of entry-level contracts. Why not take advantage of built-in cheaper years for Hanifin?
Those stand as some compelling reasons to allow Hanifin to marinate, but the Hurricanes must also consider the risk of stunting his growth at too low of a level if he is ready for the big time.
And, as you can see from this post, their defense could use all the help it can get heading into 2015-16.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Tyler Seguin on the burning question in Dallas: is Patrick Sharp better looking than he is? (Dallas Morning News)
Former NHL-er (and Calder Trophy winner) Bryan Berard’s story keeps getting sadder. (National Post)
The case for signing Brad Boyes. (TSN)
Enjoy this spirited Q & A with NBC’s beloved Doc Emrick. (Sportsnet)
Update: Frederik Andersen still loves Legos. (The Hockey News)
What it was like for one fan/blogger falling in love with the Detroit Red Wings. (Winging It in Motown)
The AHL provided this handy guide of NHL affiliations, in case you’ve (understandably) had difficulty keeping track of the changes.
This seems like the perfect thing to stare at while you’re not really working on Friday morning.