So the Stanley Cup Finals are over (congrats, Capitals) and there’s still some time before the draft or the NHL awards. Which means it’s time for another round of success stories for the Carolina Hurricanes’ farm teams, this time all the way down in the ECHL.
Through the Kelly Cup Playoffs, the Florida Everblades dominated their competition, losing just two games in three best-of-seven series before arriving at the finals. It got harder here, of course, as they’ve faced the defending champions, the Colorado Eagles. It’s been a fairly even series, so it came as no surprise to find that the Eagles had forced a game 7 for Saturday night.
After a hard-fought, evenly matched game (the eventual game-winning goal came with only 2:37 left in the third period), the Colorado Eagles ended up repeating and going out on top. (They’re switching to the AHL for the 2018-2019 season.) Nevertheless, getting this far in and of itself is an accomplishment.
Over the regular season, the Everblades won the Brabham Cup for most points in the league. While the majority of these players may never reach the NHL (and if they do, it probably won’t be with the Hurricanes), it’s still good to see that the farm system is doing well. Even if they don’t play for the Hurricanes, these are the players that the Checkers will rely on when the big club starts calling prospects up.
The goalies, however, are a different story. In the minor leagues, goalies are often shuffled back and forth between the AHL and ECHL, and often get a few games in backup in the NHL while they’re still not quite ready.
Take Callum Booth for example, who is probably the most interesting goalie prospect the Canes have in the system right now. Drafted 93rd overall in 2015, Booth had been ranked second on the list of available goalies in North America behind Mackenzie Blackwood. He hasn’t played a game in the NHL yet, but that’s not surprising – goalies take a while to develop. However, his numbers in the minors show a lot of potential. In his first season as a pro, Booth posted a .911 SV%, second in the ECHL for goalies, and a .941 over four games with the Charlotte Checkers. Before that, Booth had the best SV% in the QMJHL and backstopped the Saint John Sea Dogs to the league championship and a berth in the Memorial Cup.
(A fun fact: Scott Darling played a game with the Everblades back in 2011-2012. Make of that what you will.)
At the end of the day, it’s just nice to know that at least some team associated with the Hurricanes organization is finding success. Maybe it’ll trickle up to the Canes themselves.
- GM Don Waddell has all but confirmed that, if the Canes keep the second overall pick (which they look likely to do), they’ll draft Andrei Svechnikov. Is this (finally) the start of the turnaround? Time will tell.
- Trade bait: Jeff Skinner, Noah Hanifin, and to a lesser extent Justin Faulk. I’m not a fan of fanning the flames on trade rumors (ha), but it’s hard to see a world where Skinner is still a Hurricane come October. The asking price, currently? A first-round draft pick and a prospect. No word on the quality of said prospect, however.