Tag: Ron Hainsey

Justin Faulk

Will Carolina fill defensive openings on UFA, trade markets?


The Carolina Hurricanes have just four defensemen signed with at least 100 games worth of NHL experience. That makes their blueline a major question mark going into training camp, but even as we near the end of July, there are still plenty of options out there for teams looking to bolster their defense.

For example, Christian Ehrhoff and Cody Franson are both still available on the open market. There’s also presumably cheaper options out there like Andrej Meszaros and Jan Hejda.

“There’s been some dialogue with some guys, but we’re still sitting and waiting to see where the numbers go,” Hurricanes GM Ron Francis told the News & Observer. “The guys we’ve talked about are not in a range we’d be comfortable with yet, so we’re keeping an eye on it. I’m not in a hurry to jump in.”

Francis added that as more arbitration eligible players either get judgments or otherwise sign, more players might be made available. Additionally, Jeff Skinner is still reportedly on the block, so Carolina might end up making a more substantial trade before the summer is done.

All that being said, Francis sees some appeal in maintaining the status quo.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to have a spot open going into camp,” Francis said. “It sends a good message to our younger guys.”

With James Wisniewski, Justin Faulk, John-Michael Liles, and Ron Hainsey all presumably locks to make the roster, that would leave 2015 fifth overall pick Noah Hanifin, Ryan Murphy, Danny Biega, Michal Jordan, Rasmus Rissanen, and Haydn Fleury to compete for the final three openings.

Jagr: ‘A break? I don’t believe in this’

Jaromir Jagr

Apparently Jaromir Jagr doesn’t believe the New Jersey Devils have earned a Christmas break.

Following the team’s 2-1 shootout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday night, Jagr sounded off.

“A break? I don’t believe in this,” Jagr told the Star-Ledger’s Rich Chere. “You can’t have a break and after three days with the holidays and without a practice are we going to be the best team in hockey? I don’t believe that. I believe in hard work, but I’m different.”

The Devils have won just three of 12 games this month.

Stephen Gionta had the lone Devils goal while Ron Hainsey’s goal midway through the third forced overtime.

Chris Terry was the lone scorer in the shootout.

“(It’s) a lack of scoring. I think a lack of confidence, too,” Jagr suggested. “I think it has to do with the practices. We’re going to have less games, so we’re going to have a chance to practice more. I think it’s going to help us for sure. It’s going to help me. I cannot talk for everybody else.”

Cory Schneider saw his record drop to 11-16-4 in the loss while Anton Khudobin made 18 saves for his first win of the season.

Fleury returned to junior, won’t crack ‘Canes blueline this year

Haydn Fleury
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For Hadyn Fleury it was close, but no cigar.

Fleury, Carolina’s first-round pick (seventh overall) at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, was sent packing from camp on Thursday and returned to his WHL team in Red Deer.

The second d-man off the board in June behind Florida’s Aaron Ekblad, Fleury was thought to have a decent chance of making the ‘Canes this year, especially with Carolina’s lack of depth on defense — and at 6-foot-3, 203 pounds, Fleury does possess the requisite size to compete in the NHL straight away.

That said, he’s still just 18 years old — won’t turn 19 until next July — and pretty inexperienced, having only played two full seasons in the Western League with the Rebels.

The ‘Canes also cut nine players aside from Fleury on Thursday, bringing their camp roster down to 25 players. On defense, eight skaters remain: Ron Hainsey, Tim Gleason, Andrej Sekera, Ryan Murphy, Brett Bellemore, Jay Harrison, Justin Faulk and John-Michael Liles.

Hurricanes sign Bellemore to one year, two-way deal

Carolina Hurricanes v San Jose Sharks

The Carolina Hurricanes signed big, physical defenseman Brett Bellemore to a one-year, two-way deal on Friday. The contract is worth $600K at the NHL level and goes down to $175K in the AHL.

Hurricanes blog Canes Country expressed some surprise that the Hurricanes managed to sign the 26-year-old blueliner to a flexibility-friendly two-way deal, and it’s easy to see why that was a slight upset. Bellemore managed to play 64 games with the Hurricanes in 2013-14, finishing with the most hits of any defenseman with 169 in that span.

He also put up some respectable possession numbers, particularly for a player who is mainly useful in his own end (eight points last season). Granted, he certainly benefited from his time spent with traditionally strong possession defenseman Ron Hainsey, which was a common pairing for Carolina last season.

This signing gives the Hurricanes eight defensemen with a reasonable chance to make the NHL, so despite a fairly solid run last season, this will be an important training camp run for Bellemore. Even if Bellemore bounces between the AHL and NHL, this signing still gives the Hurricanes some nice depth to cushion the blow of injuries.

For an interesting look at how well Bellemore played at times with Hainsey, 33, last season, click here.

Ex-junior teammates Dumba, Fleury hope to stick in NHL this fall


During the 2012-13 campaign, WHL Red Deer featured a pair of talented young blueliners in Mathew Dumba and Haydn Fleury.

Today, both sit as former first-round picks — Dumba seventh overall in ’12 (by Minnesota), Fleury seventh overall in ’14 (by Carolina) — and both are looking to be full-time NHLers when training camps break this autumn.

But their expectations are tempered by the reality of their situations.

“I want to be [with Minnesota] next season and I’ll do whatever it takes to be there,” Dumba said, per NHL.com. “But at the same time, looking at it with perspective, there’s a plan for me. Everything happens for a reason.”

“When you get drafted so high and you see top 10 picks make it the next year, that’s kind of one of your goals in the summer,” Fleury explained, per the Raleigh News & Observer. “I think at the same time I need to keep a level mind and realize not many 18-year-olds play in the NHL and it’s a big step, especially on defense.”

Of the two, Dumba, who turns 20 tomorrow, has the edge in experience. He’s been up with the Wild on a couple of occasions and made his NHL debut last season, appearing in 13 games. With the Wild only have seven d-men on NHL contracts at the moment — and two of them being Jon Blum and Christian Folin — it seems as though Dumba’s ready for a shot to stick in the bigs.

Fleury’s situation is a little more complex.

Though he boasts NHL size — 6-foot-3, 207 pounds — he only just turned 18 three weeks ago and is relatively green in terms of playing experience. What’s more, Carolina has six relatively experienced veterans on its blueline in Ron Hainsey, Justin Faulk, John-Michael Liles, Andrej Sekera, Jay Harrison and the recently re-signed Tim Gleason. 2011 first-rounder Ryan Murphy will also presumably be up for the entire year, so it’s a crowded situation for Fleury to fight through.

According to new head coach Bill Peters, the ‘Canes won’t rush Fleury into the NHL.

“It’s going to be harder for a D-man than it is for a forward,” Peters explained. “We’re not going to be in a hurry. We’ll go step by step.”