New Management in Raleigh By Alex Wyatt (Hurricanes) On Saturday 5th August 2023 / 5:19pm
The Carolina Hurricanes have hired a new General Manager, Alex Wyatt, to take the helm of the franchise and build on their recent success.
Despite the swap at the helm, Carolina made the playoffs last year, has a roster filled with solid talent who've all performed admirably. There was no need to open up the flood gates, tear down to the studs, shave the landing strip, or any other typically used euphemism for a scorched earth rebuild when Wyatt was handed the keys. He knows the previous man in his position well, and had nothing but compliments for him as he cleaned out the remaining possessions in the GM office.
“I know Saqib well, we’ve managed against each other for years. I’m a little surprised there were only four goalies in the pro ranks, to be honest, but I knew we’d be set there for sure when I came in. I sent him a note of congratulations on Facebook messenger, three separate discord channels and in the comment section of a trade offer. He hasn’t responded yet but it’s only been about twelve weeks.”
Despite the good head start in Carolina, there was work to be done in Chicago and beyond.
“My first order of business was to tackle the prospect pipeline. I had our scouts send me a report on our prospects and the average age of a player was 35 and most of them worked at Best Buy now. I thought that was strange because the Wolves (Carolina’s AHL affiliate) had 14 openings on an 18 man roster.”
Wyatt certainly got to work, making 18 picks in total in the entry draft, making most of his picks on shoddy cell phone reception, while dodging sneers from his wife and children for what they deemed ‘ruining the camping trip’.
“You have to have priorities,” Wyatt said in regards to his draft weekend decisions. “My wife was concerned that the light from my cellphone was going to attract wolves, and given we were in the fifth round of the draft at that time, I told her that was precisely what I was trying to do.”
A snippet of his selections from the entry draft.
A Russian winger with a knack for filling the net, Yurov bounced around all three levels of the Russian hockey system, performing decently at each one. Given the KHL’s penchant for playing promising young talent approximately thirteen seconds a night, his performance thus far bodes well.
An overager, and former forward, Dionicio was drafted as a defensemen. His underlying play driving metrics are off the charts, to the point a micro stats dork that the Canes’ scouting staff outsource 99% of their decision making tk said he received his highest score ever. Look for Dionicio to spend the vast majority of his career in the ECHL now.
Thornton was already an overager, and passed through another league’s draft once again. Despite being top five in U20 scoring for defensemen in the WHL, ahead of the likes of Denton Mateychuk and in the company of Stan Svozil and Lukas Dragicevic, apparently only the Carolina staff can see the talent he provides. That, or he’s been blackballed by Avalanche GM, Jordan Wolfman.
A defensively responsible forward with a high motor, Carolina’s scouts have a feeling his offensive upside should pair well enough to see him eventually rate well enough to provide bottom six depth at the NHL level.
Another high motor forward who should be ready to send opposing players into the third row of the PNC Arena in a few years’ time.
A violent penalty killer who was near the tops in PIMs in the OHL, while also boasting the top plus minus on a solid squad, the London Knights. He should feature in a bottom six role for Carolina eventually, before being cut to free agency after his ELC expires, then getting a $17 million dollar signing bonus on a $750k contract as a 76 rated player.
The goal for Wyatt is clear, having taken over a team that was already set up well for NHL level success, it will be ensuring to maintain that talent with cap management and adding depth. Secondly, it will require being mindful that the team doesn’t lose focus on developing talent to fill gaps and continue to move forward on its goal of one day bringing the cup home to Raleigh.
The fans, the players, management, and even the poor souls who get paid $14 an hour to fish the used condoms out of the urinals at PNC between periods, can’t wait for hockey to begin again soon.