There are still 20 days until the Carolina Hurricanes officially hit the ice for their first regular season contest, but Thursday marked the long awaited opening day of training camp.
While lineups and plans are certainly going to change, whether it be before the first preseason game on Tuesday or prior to opening night against Ottawa, there were still many important takeaways from Thursday morning in Raleigh.
Canes’ Blue Line Depth is Impressive
To anyone who follows hockey, specifically the Carolina Hurricanes, this is about of obvious of a statement as there is.
Yet, going from seeing names on a roster to actually seeing guys hit the ice and compete, is when the reality of that actually set in.
In the first session, Carolina trotted out four defensive pairings on the ice. Jaccob Slavin/Brent Burns, Brady Skjei/Brett Pesce, Dmitry Orlov/Tony DeAngelo, and Dylan Coghlan/Jalen Chatfield all hit the ice on the blue line for the Hurricanes.
Not to mention, free agent signee Caleb Jones was in the second session for Carolina, truly highlighting the logjam on defense.
There is absolutely nothing set in stone as far as pairings go for the Hurricanes’ defense and it might not even look remotely close to this on opening night, but if there is any way that Dmitry Orlov is a third-line defenseman at any point this season, it truly is a testament to how deep the roster is on the blue line.
Kochetkov Is Still Kochetkov and Don’t Forget About Him
With Pyotr Kochetkov signing a four-year, $8 million contract in November of last year, many people questioned Carolina bringing back both Freddie Andersen and Antti Raanta in free agency.
What was the point of signing your young goaltender prospect if they were going to go with two veterans in net once again?
That’s certainly a good question, but it doesn’t seem as if the offseason moves have impacted Kochetkov.
In fact, he was back to his old tricks today, performing his (not really) famous diving poke check on the first day of camp.
After turning 24 this summer, Kochetkov for all intents and purposes appears to be the goalie of the future for Carolina, but when will the future become the present?
Andersen is signed through the 2024-2025 season, while Raanta is currently on just a one year deal.
Injuries have plagued the two netminders in recent history and without the luxury of an AHL squad for many prospects, Kochetkov could see himself, at the very least, find his spot as the Hurricanes’ backup goaltender.
After all, he logged 24 games during the 2022-2023 regular season, the least all of three netminders, and still led the way with four shutouts.
Andrei Svechnikov Is Making Progress
I’ll save the 23-year old’s comments for another time, or piece, but just over six months after tearing his ACL inside PNC Arena, Andrei Svechnikov was ready for the first day of training camp.
Donning a yellow non-contact jersey, Svechnikov was the first Hurricane to hit the ice this morning, working towards his official return.
There are no secret revelations or groundbreaking news from today’s session, but he did appear to have his normal acceleration and speed.
He led Group 2, a subset of the first session and not the entire second session, in their Bag Skate, providing some optimism for his return.
There certainly is no point in rushing back, especially at 23 with a long season ahead, but Svechnikov appears to be on the right track and inching toward an official return to the ice.