THE WAIT IS OVER
After a long hot summer, this week marks the return of Hurricanes hockey to the Enmax Center. As is always the case, the fall is a fun time to be a hockey fan. Optimism abounds, even for fan bases that have had to endure lean years. All of the frustrations from previous seasons seem to fade away as we instead choose to look to the future. Rookie camp (beginning Wednesday evening) is the epitome of an organization’s hockey future, and as the Hurricanes have struggled in the standings, they have had the opportunity to draft some special players.
For those interested enough to make an appearance, camp is free and open to the public. As much as possible I plan to be down at the rink taking a look at some of the great young rookies the Canes’ have in the system. There are a handful of young players I can’t wait to see at camp, including top picks Jordy Bellerive and Calen Addison. For his part, Bellerive will be looking to make an immediate impact on the Hurricanes, possibly establishing himself as go-to member of the team’s forward group. Much has been written and speculated about Bellerive and I expect he is excited to put all the talk behind him and let his play speak for itself. With a new coach in place, players understand that a good first impression can go a long way and I expect both rookie and main camps to be highly energetic.
There are a number of young forwards that I believe make a serious push to crack the opening night roster, including Bellerive, Davis, and Franklin (all 2014 draft picks). I do however, find myself more interested in what decisions will be made regarding defense. While limited, there are certainly positions to be won (and lost) in the team’s bottom 2-3. Two big names fighting for full-time spots on the team are 2014 drafted Ethan King and Nick Watson. Taken 23rd and 28th respectively, both King and Watson have much to prove if they want to make the team out of camp. Keep your eyes on how they perform and develop confidence as camp progresses. The chances both make the squad very much depend on coach Kisio’s philosophy on rookie development. As long as both have a good camp and carry momentum into the season, I have no doubt we will see each at some point in the year. With that said, if King or Watson end camp as fringe defensemen, we may see both sent down in lieu of Kisio keeping more experienced players to fill out the bottom pairings and press box. It should be fun to watch develop.
As things get underway, keep your eyes here at canesdomain.com for thoughts on players, coaches, and overall camp impressions. Knowing most people are unable to find time to watch pre-pre-season hockey, I am thrilled to be your eyes and ears.
Hockey is back folks. Hallelujah.