Category 5: Hurricanes continue dominant preseason

Carolina is 3-0-0 past the midway point of training camp

Carolina Hurricanes' Brent Burns (8) reacts following his goal during the third period of a preseason NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

RALEIGH — The Hurricanes topped the Panthers 4-3 on Saturday at PNC Arena to improve to 3-0-0 on the preseason. Carolina has two exhibitions remaining — at home Monday against Columbus and Tuesday in Buffalo against the Sabres — to determine how its roster will look to start the season.

1. Coach Rod Brind’Amour has been pleased with his team’s performance in the three preseason games. He should be. The Hurricanes have outshot their opponents 121-61 in the three games, including 47-10 on Saturday. In its one road game, Carolina was outshot 30-28 by Florida’s mostly NHL lineup but still managed to win 5-2 with a roster made up predominantly of prospects.

“We’ve played three games, and I’ve been happy with how —forget the score — just been happy with how we played them,” Brind’Amour said.

2. The new defensemen have perhaps been the most impressive. Dylan Coghlan, who didn’t play Saturday, has four assists in two games — using both his booming slap shot and his passing vision — and shown he can play his off side.

He seems like a lock from where I’m sitting, especially since he’s been a mainstay in power play work during practices this training camp.

Brent Burns, meanwhile, had a ho-hum preseason debut: two goals and 12 shot attempts in 22:40 of ice time.

“It was fun to see the guys from this side of it,” Burns said. “A lot of skill, but the skill works hard. So I think that’s the biggest thing is you got a lot of guys at work. So it’s fun to be part of.”

Brind’Amour wasn’t surprised Burns made a good first impression on the hometown fans.

“Not surprising. He’s been great since Day 1,” Brind’Amour said.

3. Another item on defense. Calvin de Haan, who came to camp on a professional try out, was given a one-year, $850,000 contract. Signed Friday night and announced Saturday, the deal makes official de Haan’s second tour of duty with the Hurricanes.

“I took a PTO here for a reason,” de Haan said. “I know this team has got championships on their mind, and I’m kind of on the the older side of hockey age now. So I want a chance to win, and I think this team’s got a good opportunity and, at the same time, I think I can help.”

The move makes sense. Carolina was lacking a veteran left-handed depth defenseman, and de Haan — having played with the team in Brind’Amour’s first season as coach in 2018-19 — has familiarity with the team and its systems.

“We all know the game is about keeping the puck out of your net,” Brind’Amour said. “… He understands how we want to play, and then guys that you can count on, I think that’s really what he’s all about.”

De Haan looked like he had a huge weight off his shoulders when speaking with the media after the game. The 31-year-old wants to play for a Stanley Cup and the Hurricanes were his top choice.

“The core group of guys here are awesome people too,” de Haan said, “so it’s gonna be pretty hard to complain. So I’m really looking forward to the season.”

4. A name to watch: Malte Stromwall.

The 28-year-old veteran of four KHL seasons and two more in the top league in his home of Sweden scored in his preseason debut Tuesday and followed that with an even better effort Saturday.

While he had no points Saturday and his stat line doesn’t jump off the page (one SOG, three shot attempts), he was noticeable in just over 11 minutes of ice time.

Who wins the jobs on defense has been a point of intrigue all camp, but there are also a few forward spots to be claimed. Don’t be surprised if Stromwall sneaks in and steals one.

5. It’s preseason, so take it with a grain of salt, but Andrei Svechnikov looks like he’s ready to make “the leap.”

He seems bigger and faster than last season, seemingly hasn’t lost one puck battle all preseason, and is just an utter handful for opposing defenders.

He hasn’t done it against a team with a full NHL defense yet, but Svechinkov — paired up at the moment with Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Martin Necas — looks like a dominant force. Svechnikov has a goal and an assist in each of his games this preseason. I think we’ll see much of that in the regular season too.