The Carolina Hurricanes have more or less all their eggs in one basket, with the majority of their prospects playing for the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL. With the sheer number of prospects Carolina is playing at the professional level, one would expect better results in the AHL. That is not the case however, as the Checkers currently rank 11th in the AHL's Western Conference.
With the lack of high-end talent in their farm system and an urgent need for game changers at the professional level, the Carolina Hurricanes find themselves in a familiar position. The organization made bold moves by putting top prospects Ryan Murphy and Elias Lindholm on their NHL roster to start the 2013-14 season. Now once again, the minor ranks are depleted of high-end talent and the Hurricanes' success relies on several rookies making an immediate impact.
With the Carolina Hurricanes struggling, many expect the team to ship out several veteran players leading up to the trade deadline. That could mean one of two things for the Checkers: 1) several of their high-profile players could see extended time in Raleigh; or 2) the Canes will add some high-level talent that could assist Charlotte in their drive for a Calder Cup.
The good news for Carolina’s prospects is that new coach Kirk Muller has embraced his call-ups, using them in all situations and giving them top minutes, a practice that was rare under his predecessor, Paul Maurice.
The 2011 Finland squad for the 2012 U20 World Junior Championship offers an intriguing blend of experience and youth – with arguably the tournament’s most high profile player, Mikael Granlund, skating in his third World Junior championship.
On the flip side, a trio of youngsters, one 16-year-old forward and two 17-year-old defensemen, are make their debut playing for Finland at this year’s WJC tournament and could be early choices at the 2012 and 2013 NHL Drafts respectively.
Throw in a first-year coach making his debut at the World Junior Championship and an untested, but talented, trio of goaltenders, and the fortunes of Finland are a mystery at this point.