Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 10/06/08 at 08:20 PM ET
Today, I expected to hear some news about final cuts made to the Hurricanes roster. Instead, I came home to learn that forward Scott Walker will be out of the lineup for the next six weeks. Walker, who has become more of a hothead with every passing month, injured his left hand in a fight during last Sunday’s preseason game in Philly. He had surgery today and will miss the first quarter of the season.
Things were starting to look a little better on the injury front, but this will throw a wrench in the opening night plans.
No cuts have been made, and the roster stands at 28, but free agent tryout Dan LaCouture was signed to a two-way one-year contract today. The 31-year old has played in a total of 326 NHL games with five different teams, and has been out of the NHL since 2006-07. According to all reports, he came into camp in terrific shape and has impressed the coaches all along.
At this point, anyone’s guess is just as good as mine, but here’s my updated projections for the opening night lines:
Ray Whitney / Eric Staal / Patrick Eaves
Sergei Samsonov / Rod Brind’Amour / Tuomo Ruutu
Chad LaRose / Matt Cullen / Tim Conboy
Wade Brookbank / Brandon Sutter / Ryan Bayda
Joni Pitkänen / Tim Gleason
Joe Corvo / Dennis Seidenberg
Frantisek Kaberle / Anton Babchuk
Tim Conboy is a converted defenseman, but was very impressive every time he was called up for emergency duty last season. He’s only played in two preseason games, but I’m hoping that they like him well enough to keep him around.
This rash of injuries could also make things quite interesting for first round draft choice and recent signee Zach Boychuk. He can play as many as nine games in Carolina before his contract comes into play. At that point, he can go back to juniors and the Hurricanes don’t pay a dime, or he can stay on board and his full salary kicks in.
I projected Walker at 44 (17/27) points this season, and that won’t be happening. Nor will the 73 (36/37) that I projected for Justin Williams. The good news is that the 32 (16/16) that I projected for Patrick Eaves might be lower than his actual production. Don’t get me started on Chad LaRose. I projected his scoring at 30 (15/15).
Whenever the final roster cuts are made, I’ll revisit my scoring projections to account for the long-term injuries to Justin Williams and Scott Walker.
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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.