Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 10/05/11 at 08:42 PM ET
On Wednesday, Jim Rutherford announced that the Carolina Hurricanes were returning forward Riley Nash to Charlotte of the American League. This, frankly, came as a bit of a surprise. For now, it means that Carolina is done with their roster cuts. They have gotten down to the league mandated 23 players. I still think there will be one more cut, but time will tell.
When Nash survived the last round of cuts and he and two defensemen were among the last men standing, I assumed that he would survive. It only makes sense to have 13 forwards, eight defensemen and two goalies. Nash had impressed a lot of people in camp and it looked like he was headed for the opening night roster. Ultimately, Nash will play some games with the big team, and I was really hoping that he would be there on Friday, but the Canes top brass have other plans. Those plans include defensemen Ryan Murphy and Justin Faulk.
I said that it makes sense to carry an extra forward, but the Canes want to get a good hard look at Ryan Murphy before deciding whether to send him back to Kitchener of the OHL. He can dress as a seventh defenseman, and he probably will. Tuomo Ruutu and Chad LaRose are dealing with minor injuries and might be tapped to sit. Murphy, who is as offensive a defenseman as Carolina has ever had, will have plenty of chances to show his skill against real NHL talent if/when the Hurricanes roll a lineup of 11 forwards and seven defense.
I think that in the end, as much as the management likes Murphy, he’ll go back to Kitchener after nine games. Unless he does some spectacular things in real games.
At the same time, Justin Faulk is going to be given a long hard look. He’s not as offensive-minded and not nearly as good a skater as Murphy, but he’s got pretty good offensive upside. He may or may not be sent down to Charlotte
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About Red and Black Hockey
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.