Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 11/23/10 at 07:58 PM ET
On Monday, the Hurricanes placed forward Patrick O’Sullivan on waivers for the purpose of assigning him to Charlotte. The AHL isn’t the best place for a player with his skill set, but neither is the fourth line or the press box of the NHL big team. The Minnesota Wild claimed the 25-year old, and he will be with the fifth team in the last 20 months.
The skilled winger was signed by the Canes to a minimal contract this summer, but he never caught on. The Patrick O’Sullivan Experiment will now be chalked up as a failure and filed alongside “Carter, Anson”. .
O’Sullivan once scored 22 goals and twice had 40 or more points for the Kings. Among a cast of mediocre players, he was a big star. At the 2009 trading deadline, he was part of a three-way trade that landed him in Edmonton, Justin Williams in Los Angeles and Erik Cole back in Carolina.
Last season with the Oil, he put up 34 (11/23) points. He was part of a trade with Phoenix this summer, and the Coyotes immediately bought out his $2.4M contract. Later in the summer, he was signed to a one-year, two-way contract by the Canes that was valued at $600k at the NHL level and $105k at the American League level.
He played in the two Helsinki games to open the season, but he was in and out of the lineup every night after that. The coaches didn’t really like his intensity level. They wouldn’t use these words, but it sounds like they were concerned about his work ethic. He has a ton of raw talent, but he wasn’t doing enough even to warrant a spot in the lineup. He wants and needs a spot in the top nine, but the way it was going here, he was never going to get off the revolving door between the fourth line and the press box.
He could have flourished in Charlotte. He might have pouted and given a half-ass effort, but he probably would have taken a demotion as a wake-up call. We’ll never know, because the Wild have taken him off waivers.
This is a little bit upsetting. I’ve always been a fan of O’Sullivan. I’ll admit that I took special interest in him because he spent the first several years of his life right here in the Tarheel State. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out here.
The Canes have already made another roster move/transaction to shore up the fourth line. They shipped prospects Stephan Chaput and Matt Kennedy to the Ducks in exchange for veteran fourth line center Ryan Carter. The 27-year old native Minnesotan will be able to help the Canes with their faceoff problems as well as play a lot of penalty kill minutes.
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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.