Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 11/16/10 at 09:53 PM ET
On Tuesday, the Hurricanes picked up “rugged” right winger Troy Bodie off waivers. He was placed there by Anaheim on Monday and snatched up by Jim Rutherford today. He is on a two-way contract, so he could be sent to Charlotte, but not without being placed on waivers again. This is, if I understand correctly, due to his age (25 years).
The 6’4” Bodie has spend this entire season on the Ducks big team, but has been a healthy scratch for most of it. His addition to the Carolina roster gives them some size and toughness, but it also gives them one too many skaters.
At first, I assumed that this acquisition was for Charlotte and that Jared Staal should be scared for his tenuous spot on the Checkers roster. However, it looks more and more like this is for the fourth line of the big team and that Patrick O’Sullivan should be worried about his spot. After two weeks in the press box, Patty-O will be getting his first start in a long time on Wednesday against the Senators. There’s already been an indication that Bodie will suit up for at least one of the back-to-back games over the weekend. This will make O’Sullivan’s situation a little rougher.
After playing in both of the Helsinki games, O’Sullivan spent the rest of October bouncing in and out of the press box. He wasn’t really impressing the coaches that much during practice, and more importantly, he wasn’t impressing them in game action. It really is a shame because he has a ton of upside, and he’s proven himself to be a reliable offensive weapon. At least in Los Angeles. The rub on him coming in was that he wasn’t reliable at all in his own end. He hasn’t been given much of a chance here in Carolina, and now he’s going to have to really perform under even more pressure. Because his NHL career is seemingly on the line (at least temporarily), the game against the Sens will be the biggest game of O’Sullivan’s career.
It sounds like Jim Rutherford might want to interchange Bodie and O’Sullivan, but there isn’t room on the roster for that. He said, of Bodie’s toughness:
“I think there are certain teams that we need it against and certain teams we don’t. You’d rather have them in that fourth-line position, because you can’t afford to have defensemen getting thrown out of the game or sitting in the penalty box most of the night.”
Carolina is not over the league maximum roster size, but they do not want to carry this many (14) healthy forwards. Something is going to have to give. Rutherford has not ruled out trading one of the surplus forwards for a stay-at-home defenseman. Nor has he ruled out shipping O’Sullivan to Charlotte. That move would require waivers, which he would probably clear. For that matter, he hasn’t ruled out shipping Bodie to Charlotte. However, his language indicates that while each player brings something that the other does not, the things that Bodie brings are more attractive right now. The story of the last two plus seasons is that Carolina is getting beat up by bigger, stronger teams. Especially in their own end. Tim Gleason and Jay Harrison can only do so much, so adding another physically imposing player to the roster will help out the skill guys quite a bit.
I’m still rooting for O’Sullivan, but this isn’t 2008 Los Angeles, and the Hurricanes have enough skill on the top lines to bury O’Sullivan on the fourth line. He’ll never flourish there. In Charlotte, however, he could have a field day. It’s not what he wants to do, but it might be what’s best for the team and for him.
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David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.