Another Hurricanes player will be taking his talents to Europe as it was announced yesterday that defenseman Jamie McBain has signed with the Lahti Pelicans of Finland’s SM-Liiga. McBain will not be in Finland for too long, though as he said that he only plays to stay there about a week to play in a few games in order to stay fresh for the upcoming season, whenever that happens. It seems that McBain is a bit more optimistic that the NHL season will begin relatively soon since he isn’t planning to stay in Finland for an extended period of time, but that’s probably more of a gut feeling than anything.
The Lahti Pelicans (or just Pelicans as they are referred to) are currently the third lowest ranked team in the SM-Liiga with a record of 7-9-0, and do not appear to have much NHL talent playing on their squad right now. The only regular NHL-er on their roster right now is San Jose Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi and the rest of their roster either consists of guys who were mostly known as fringe NHL-ers for the most part. Among them are Angelo Esposito, who was one of the players the Penguins sent to the Trashers in the Marian Hossa trade, Ilkka Pikkarainen, former New Jersey Devil and Carolina’s second round pick from 2003, Danny Richmond.
The Pelicans appear to have some offensive problems right now because aside from their leading scorer, Radek Smolenak (10-8-10 in 19 GP), they don’t have too many players that are producing at a high level. With SM-Liiga being stronger than usual this year, not having a lot of offense will lead to problems down the road and this appears to be the case for the Pelicans. We know that McBain can provide a decent amount of offense from the blue-line, so here’s hoping that he can help out while he is there. Even if he isn’t there for a long time, he should play significant minutes there given what the rest of their blue-line looks like.
McBain’s stint with the Pelicans probably won’t be long and it will mainly just serve as a way for him to stay in playing shape until the lockout is over, but keeping in touch with what Carolina players are up to during this down time is never a bad thing. We’ll have more updates on McBain and the progress of his stint in Finland relatively soon.