The Hurricanes flipped practices on Day 2 of training camp, running out the youthful Team Energy first followed by the more veteran-laden Team Attitude second. The team will practice again Saturday before an off day on Sunday.
1. Ryan Suzuki has been a bit of a forgotten man when it comes to Hurricanes prospects. The combination of consecutive seasons during COVID-19 and a serious eye injury he suffered playing for the Barrie Colts nearly 23 months ago has perhaps provided the 20-year-old with more development runway and patience than many first-round picks get.
He spent last season with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, finishing with five goals and five assists in 26 games. It was a step up in competition from the Ontario Hockey League, but one that Suzuki said helped him.
“I think just playing against older guys and stronger guys all the time is way better for me and my development,” Suzuki said. “That’s one area of my game I want to work on is protecting the puck and holding onto it more, so what better way to do it than against a bigger guy? So it made my job a lot harder, but it is good for me in the end.”
Off the ice, Suzuki got to watch older brother Nick advance to the Stanley Cup Final with the Canadiens, and he was able to attend one game in Montreal during the Canadiens’ run, against Vegas.
The brothers were also out to dinner when word came down that Nick’s teammate Jesperi Kotkaniemi had signed an offer sheet with Carolina.
“He likes KK and all the guys like him,” Ryan said of Nick. “But it’s a business, so I didn’t say too much about that.”
2. Speaking of prospects, Seth Jarvis was held out of on-ice practice for the second straight day.
“Seems like it could be a couple days, I think,” coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “Nothing major, but he tweaked something.”
Brind’Amour added that Jarvis didn’t notice anything wrong while playing in the prospects tournament in Tampa last week.
“He said he didn’t feel it there,” Brind’Amour added. “But he just walked out on the ice and something didn’t feel right. So, obviously, you’re not gonna push anybody at this time of year, so we’ll let that heal up.”
Jarvis is undoubtedly Carolina’s top prospect, and if anyone is going to force his way onto the opening night roster, it’s probably No. 24. If he doesn’t make the NHL club, he’ll have to head back to his junior team since he’s not yet old enough to play in the AHL.
One small thing to add: 2020 seventh-round pick Ronan Seeley signed his entry-level contract Friday afternoon. The 6-foot-1 defenseman had 17 points in 23 games with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips last season, and he has just 14 PIMs in 138 career junior games.
3. Jordan Martinook reiterated after practice how Carolina was the only place he wanted to play and how important it was for him to get a new three-year contract.
“I have a family. Both my kids have been born here,” he said. “And I think once you get into, I hate to say, the latter part of your career … it’s definitely nice to have that security.”
Brind’Amour mentioned how Martinook has played a big role is welcoming the team’s new players this preseason, and that includes two former Coyotes teammates.
Martinook played one season with goalie Antti Raanta in Arizona, in 2017-18, and it was the Finnish goalie’s best: 21-17-6 with a 2.24 goals-against average and .930 save percentage.
“I feel like that when he was playing that year in Arizona, he’d kind of surprise you every game with some of the saves he’d make,” Martinook said.
He also praised Raanta easy-going demeanor.
“I just love when a goalie is calm,” Martinook said. “And you guys have talked to him. He’s smiling all the time. And then in the net, he’s always just calm and doesn’t get too worked up. He’s just out there, does this thing. Yeah, he can be a game-changer.”
4. The other former Coyotes teammate is defenseman Tony DeAngelo. DeAngelo’s signing caused a stir this offseason because of his tumultuous exit from his last team, the Rangers, troubles in junior hockey, and his outspoken political and cultural views.
Martinook said DeAngelo gets a fresh start in Raleigh.
“When he signed, we had just a conversation,” Martinook said. “I just said, ‘The past is the past. We’re not going to bring it up.’ (The media) might bring it up, but we’re not bringing it up in the room.’
“He’s here to help us. He’s a very good player. He’s dynamic offensively and, obviously, we lost Dougie (Hamilton). And I love that we got Tony because he can kind of do a lot of things that Dougie did. And he wants to prove it.
“I feel like when you’re kind of up against it, to be pushed up against the wall, that’s kind of where you see a lot of character come out of guys. And for the 2½ weeks I’ve been here, his head’s been down, he’s working hard and he’s showing off what he does that makes him a really good player, which is exciting to see.”
5. Both Jaccob Slavin and Martinook were asked who they predicted would be a breakout player this year. Both gave the same answer.
“I think Nechy continues to just get better and better,” Slavin said of Martin Necas. “Obviously, he had a great year last year, and you might be able to consider last year a breakout year for him. But I think he’s just going to continue to get better.”
In his second NHL season, Necas had 14 goals and 41 points in 53 games, and the 22-year-old had a few highlight-reel plays that showed off his elite skating.
And it was that which Martinook mentioned in also picking Necas.
“I feel like he gets faster every year, and I don’t know how that happens because he’s so fast,” he said.
Brind’Amour didn’t want to play any favorites when asked the same question, but when told two of his players mentioned Necas he, like Slavin and Martinook, pointed to last year as being a breakout season for No. 88. That said, he knows there’s another step for Necas to take — along with everyone else.
“We expect everyone to be a little bit better,” he said.