Many of the Carolina Hurricanes’ veterans saw regular action Saturday against the Florida Panthers in the team’s third preseason game of 2022, but unquestionably the busiest player on the PNC Arena ice was Florida goalie Spencer Knight.
The young keeper, who just recently signed a 3-year, $13.5 million contract extension with the Panthers, was on the receiving end of 47 Carolina shots Saturday in a 4-3 Hurricanes win.
Here are a few takeaways from Saturday’s tilt:
▪ Welcome to Raleigh, Brent Burns: A pair of goals from the Hurricanes’ expected power-play quarterback will do well to ingratiate the NHL veteran to his new fan base. That neither of the goals game on the power play is likely of little consequence..
Burns’ first strike of the afternoon came with the teams skating 4-on-4 in the first period after an ill-advise Jesperi Kotkaniemi penalty wiped out a power play chance.
Shortly after the initial faceoff at 4-on-4, Burns crisscrossed with forward Teuvo Teravainen at the top of the zone, slid to the top of the right circle and fired a wrist shot toward the cage. Knight appeared to lose sight of the puck through a multiple-layer screen in front and the puck found its way into the back of the cage to put the Canes on top, 1-0.
In the third, Burns was pinching in deep along the right wall, collected the puck deep in the offensive corner and whipped it toward the net from a sharp angle. It caromed off Knight and slipped short-side into the net to put the Canes on top, 4-3.
Burns, a six-time NHL All-Star defender and two-time Norris Trophy finalist — he won in 2017 — is expected to quarterback the Canes’ power play, replacing Tony DeAngelo in that role after the latter departed in the offseason for Philadelphia. Burns spent the first six years of his career with the Minnesota Wild before playing the past 11 seasons with the San Jose Sharks.
▪ Andrei Svechnikov’s strong start: There’s no denying Svechnikov’s talent, and the young winger has made quite an impression on the Hurricanes and their fans since being drafted second overall by the Canes in 2018. He’s been among the team leaders in almost every major offensive category, and for the past couple of seasons, he’s been on the precipice of true NHL stardom.
The hitch seems to be his postseason production, and his penchant for problematic penalties.
Yes, it’s still preseason. And yes, it’s a small sample size against several players who may or may not make other clubs’ NHL rosters. But that Svechnikov has scored twice already in two games, totaled four points and eight shots on net, all while taking no penalties, is an encouraging sign for the Russian winger.
He also wowed the crowd late in the third period Saturday with a slick dangle that resulted in the team’s 47th (and final) shot on net, slipping the puck between his legs before kicking it back to his forehand for a quick shot.
▪ Andersen gets the nod: In the team’s previous preseason game, veteran goalie Antti Raanta saw two periods of action against the Florida Panthers before ceding his crease to Zach Sawchenko for the third period.
Saturday afternoon, it was Freddie Andersen’s turn for some preseason playing time. The Canes’ workhorse last season during the regular season before a late-season injury sidelined him, Andersen is playing with a clean bill of health coming into the 2022-23 campaign.
The thinking is that he and Raanta will split time a bit more evenly this season.
There was no splitting time Saturday. Andersen played the complete game against the Panthers, allowing three goals on 10 shots while the defense played well in front of him in limiting Florida’s opportunities.
Canes sign de Haan
The Hurricanes’ preseason roster building — and salary cap juggling — continued Saturday. Before the team’s home preseason game against the Florida Panthers, the Canes announced they have signed defenseman Calvin de Haan, who’d previously played for the team, to a one-year contract worth $850,000.
“We obviously knew Calvin from his previous time in Carolina,” Hurricanes GM Don Waddell said in a news release. “We like what we’ve seen from him in camp and saw this as an opportunity to increase our depth on the back end.”
De Haan previously played for the Hurricanes in 2018-19, appearing in 74 regular-season games while scoring a goal and adding 13 assists. De Haan also appeared in 12 playoff games that season — the team’s first of four consecutive playoff appearances — and contributed one goal in the postseason, as well.
The move adds depth to the Canes’ blue line, which boasts one of the best top-fours in the league with Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce, Brady Skjei and the newly acquired Brent Burns. But the remaining three or four defensive positions were very much up for grabs. Signing de Haan appears to indicate one of those positions is sewn up for the Canes.
Returning defender Ethan Bear is among those in consideration for the final position or two, along with Jalen Chatfield, who played most of last season with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL.
The Canes also acquired dependable defender Dylan Coghlan in the trade with Vegas that also brought in injured veteran forward Max Pacioretty, making the blue line a crowded spot this preseason.
Hurricanes notch 5-2 road win at Florida
Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour decided to go with younger prospects and players fighting for roster spots Thursday in the Canes’ second preseason game.
The Florida Panthers, in turn, went more of a more veteran lineup that included former Canes captain Eric Staal.
Not this night. The Canes scored twice on the power play and added another goal shorthanded in notching a 5-2 victory.
“Obviously with our lineup we were missing some pretty big pieces,” Brind’Amour said after the game. “But the guys who were in there really competed hard. I know it’s just a preseason game, but that’s the only way you’d have a chance to win against a team like that.
“I thought overall it was just a great effort, which is what you want to see this time of year when you’re tying to build something, and with new guys.”
One of the Canes veterans Wednesday was goalie Antti Raanta. In net for the first time since a Game 7 playoff loss to the New York Rangers, he had several quality stops among his 20 saves in the first two periods before being replaced by Zach Sawchenko in the third.
The Canes topped Tampa Bay 5-1 on Tuesday in their preseason opener at PNC Arena with many of their regulars playing against a young Lightning lineup, and with a predictable result. Carolina scored three times on the power play and rolled to an easy win.
Asked Thursday morning if that might be the case in the Canes’ second game, that their prospects might be overmatched against Florida’s older lineup on the road, Brind’Amour said: ”If it doesn’t, if it works in our favor, then someone is playing well, someone’s standing out.”
Two of the Canes’ young forwards scored — Justin Robidas at even strength and Vasily Ponomarev on the power play.
Their goals in the second period came after Stefan Noesen had given the Canes a 1-0 lead with a power-goal goal and Derek Stepan had scored shorthanded to make it 2-0 in the first.
Defenseman Dylan Coghlan, who had three assists in the first preseason game, assisted on Noesen’s goal, again unloading a big shot from the point. He also blocked a game-high five shots.
Jack Drury tipped in the rebound of a Calvin de Haan shot past goalie Sergei Bobrovsky in the third to push the Canes’ lead to 5-1.
Sam Bennett scored for the Panthers in the second as Gustav Forsling and Eetu Luostarinen, two former Canes, had assists. Defenseman Brandon Montour scored in the third for Florida against Sawchenko.
Canes defenseman Ethan Bear and the Panthers’ Matthew Tkachuk mixed it up briefly in the third,
The Hurricanes and Panthers will play again Saturday in a 1 p.m. game at PNC Arena. Defensemen Brent Burns and Jaccob Slavin, who sat out the first two preseason games, should get their first game action.