Forty-two Hurricanes and hopefuls gathered in Cary, North Carolina on September 5th for physicals and photos. From there they flew to Ft. Myers, Florida for the opening of Carolina Hurricanes training camp. Veterans and rookies took the ice at the TECO Arena on September 6th. Twenty-four returning Canes from 1998-1999, three NHL’ers signed over the summer, four players from juniors, two collegiate players, and nine minor leaguers practiced on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday the squad split to play an intrasquad game. The Hurricanes White team defeated the Red 2-1 in overtime. Jaroslav Svoboda and Jeff Heerema scored regulation goals, while Kent Manderville netted the winner during an overtime using the NHL’s new four on four format.
On Saturday the preseason schedule began with the Hurricanes hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning. Canes fans were treated to physical play and a Carolina 2-1 victory. Arturs Irbe played all sixty minutes. Ron Francis, Robert Kron, and Gary Roberts each tallied for the home squad. The following night, Tampa Bay hosted the Hurricanes. This time the Hurricanes came up on the short end of a 2-1 score.
Camp was set to leave Florida after a September 14th game versus the Florida Panthers. However, an uninvited hurricane, Floyd, threatened the state and the game was canceled. Before returning home, the Canes returned Jeff Heerema to Sarnia, Jaroslav Svoboda to Kootenay, and Josef Vasicek to Sault Ste. Marie in the Juniors.
The Carolina Hurricanes hosted twenty-nine players at their rookie camp in Detroit last week. Twelve players were given tryouts. Out of the remaining seventeen, all but one had been drafted by the Canes. The camp, and ensuing rookie tournament, was a chance to get an invitation to the Hurricanes Training camp in Ft. Myers, Florida.
On September 1, the rookies moved to Kitchener, to participate in the Maple Leafs Rookie Tournament. Here the Canes, Leafs, Sabres, and Rangers rookies played in a round robin tournament. The Director of Amateur Scouting for Carolina, Sheldon Ferguson, told The Kitchener Waterloo Record, “The good thing with this tournament is they’re playing against kids their own age, so you get to accurately see how your own guys stackup.”
Game one saw the Leafs youngsters top the Canes 5-3. The Leafs offense poured it on in the third to break a 3-3 tie, before the Canes gave up an empty net goal. Jeff Ulmer, Brett Lysak, and Jaraslav Svoboda notched goals for the Canes. As with most training camp games, play was physical, with Greg Kuznik and Michal Dvorak showing off for the scouts.
David Tanabe, defenseman for the University of Wisconsin Badgers, and their third leading scorer during the 1998-1999 season, has elected to turn pro with the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes chose Tanabe in the first round of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. He was the sixteenth overall pick. The 6’1′ 195 pound nineteen year old, was a true freshman this past season for the Badgers, thus foregoing three years of eligibility. This is the first time the school has lost a true freshman to the pros. Curtis Joseph also left the University of Wisconsin program after only one year.
Tanabe was named to the 1999 WCHA All-rookie team. An excellent skater and passer, he has a hard, accurate shot. The CSB had ranked him twenty-seventh this year. Tanabe will fill the need of an offensive defenseman in the Canes system. It is expected that he will see time with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL and the Cincinnati Cyclones of the IHL this season.
(Note: Since this article was written, David Tanabe has announced that he will forgo his final three years of NCAA eligibility, and may be joining Kootenay of the WHL next season)
Eight of the Carolina Hurricanes prospects have chosen to remain in college. Four centers, three left wingers, and one defenseman are hitting the books and the ice this year. Here is an overview of future Canes who are going to school.
1. Erik Cole. A third round pick in 1998, this sophomore left winger was Clarkson’s leading scorer. A dominating player, whose physical play makes him excellent along the boards. Erik led the nation in 98-99 with six shorthanded goals. At 6’0″ and 185 pounds, he scored 21 goals and 18 assists during the regular season. His junior year holds a legitimate shot at the Hobey Baker Award.
2. David Tanabe. Carolina’s first round pick in 1999, this Wisconsin freshman was named to the WCHA All-rookie Team. He was the Badgers third leading scorer with 10 goals and 12 assists. An excellent skater and passer, the 6’1″, 195 pound Tanabe could have a bright future filling in Carolina’s need for offensive defensemen.
3. Ryan Murphy. A fourth round pick by the Hurricanes in the 1999 draft netted them Bowling Green’s third leading scorer. Murphy had 9 goals and 22 assists for the Falcons. Five of his goals came on the powerplay. This left wing is 6’1″ and 185 pounds, and could develop into a real scoring threat for the Canes.
The top three picks by the Carolina Hurricanes in last months NHL Entry draft were surprised, and not always for the best. David Tanabe, Brett Lysak, and Brad Fast were taken in the first, second, and third rounds, respectively.
Carolina made Tanabe their first pick, 16th overall. The pressing need for an offensive defenseman surpassed the available players ranked higher. The Hurricanes had the worst powerplay in the NHL during the 1998-1999 season. The 11 defensemen who skated for the Canes last season combined for 15 goals in 82 regular season games. Of those 15 goals, only three came on the power play. Tanabe, on the other hand, scored ten goals in 35 games. Three of his goals won games and one came on the powerplay. This came in his freshman year at the University of Wisconsin, where he was the third highest scorer. He has stated that his development is up to the Hurricanes organization and the Minneapolis native will either return to college or sign a contract and go into the Canes system. The combination of his great skating, hard shot, and superior passing caused Carolina to pick him as the third defenseman taken in the draft, when in fact, he was ranked eighth in that category.