We're very lucky to have Bob Wage from Canes Country helping out as our Hurricanes expert today. The Canes have a few potential openings up front and some young up-and-coming talent nearly ready for the show. It will be very interesting to hear Bob's take on who will win these scoring line roles... especially the ones with Eric Staal.
We asked Bob seven fantasy questions related to the Hurricanes... below are his answers.
If you're interested in FHS' breakout picks and fantasy take on the Canes check out our draft kit which includes The Breakout Bible, the Fantasy Scouting Report (with SuperStats included) and our Fantasy Prospect Database.
BY BOB WAGE FROM CANES COUNTRY
Q1) Hurricanes Breakout of the Year?
Tuomo Ruutu. Last season, Ruutu had the best point production of his career, (19+38=57). He also was second in the league in hits, which is fantastic for those of you who are in fantasy leagues which include that stat. The back story? Ruutu was moved to center in the middle of last season and loved returning to the position he played in his younger days. The Canes expect to do the same this season and he is supposed to have Jeff Skinner as one of his wingers again, so his point total should only go up. Last but not least, he's in the final year of his contract, which provides even more motivation. I expect another career season out of Ruutu.
Q2) Darkhorse Breakout on the Hurricanes?
Alexei Ponikarovsky. Carolina coach Paul Maurice said recently that he will be giving "Poni" every opportunity to play on the first line with Eric Staal. While last season was a major disappointment, look for the big winger to rebound this season while playing for his former coach and on a line with a perennial point a game player. I expect at least a 20G - 20A season out of him.
Q3) League-Wide Breakout of the Year?
Taylor Hall had a slow start last year, but I think he could explode this season with some big numbers.
Q4) Player likely to Breakdown on the Hurricanes?
This is a tough one. Not sure I can choose anyone as "likely" to break down, but Tomas Kaberle is probably a high risk to take early in a fantasy draft. He might return to his days in Toronto and be a high point producer, but then again if he has a tough time adjusting in Carolina, he might disappoint.
Q5) Best Fantasy Prospect on Carolina?
Zac Dalpe is a young forward to keep an eye on. It is very possible that he could end up on a top six position and he has the speed and shot to score 20 this season.
Q6) How do you see the Carolina Goalie Situation playing out this year?
As always, Cam Ward will get the bulk of the work. With Brian Boucher now as his backup, he won't play in 70 plus games like last season, but he could get close. The Canes usually allow a lot of shots on goal so even if Ward's win/loss record is not good, he's a gem to pick up in fantasy because the number of his saves is usually high.
Q7) How do you see the two scoring lines shaking out in Carolina? Is Anthony Stewart really an option?
In my opinion, I think Stewart will end up being a solid third liner, although he might be given a shot at a higher line. Here is how I see the two scoring lines:
Ponikarovsky - Staal - Dalpe
Jokinen - Ruutu - Skinner
Thanks to Bob for the insight. Great stuff. If you have any Canes related questions fire them off in the comments and we (or hopefully Bob) will try to answer them.