Training Camp Battles: 3rd Line Right Wing

The other day, we looked at the players competing for the third line left wing spot in camp. Today, we will be moving over to the right wing. What is expected out of this position is similar to the left wing so I'm going to keep the intro short. However, one thing that the Hurricanes probably want out of their right wing is versatility and the ability to play top-six minutes if needed. With Tuomo Ruutu starting the year on the left wing and Jeff Skinner having injury concerns, whoever ends up on the right wing may get bumped up to the second line sometime this year. This is what happened with Patrick Dwyer last year and Chad LaRose the year before.

Dwyer is returning but with LaRose gone, there could be some serious competition for the right wing spot on the third line. After the jump, we will go over which players in camp have the best shot of earning it.

Candidate One: Patrick Dwyer

Age: 30
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 175 lbs.
Career Stats

Why he will make the Hurricanes:

Unless something unexpected happens, Dwyer should make the team. He is one of their best penalty killers and will have a role somewhere on the third or fourth line. He may not have much of an offensive upside but his speed and his strong defensive game makes him a valuable player in the bottom-six and on the penalty killer. Plus, he is capable of being a guy that can tilt the ice in Carolina's favor in the territorial game and has experience playing tough minutes. We saw that two years ago when he was on Brandon Sutter's line and last year when he played on Jordan Staal's wing. Although, the fact that he was on the second line last season was a problem because he does not have the skillset to play a scoring role and is better off on a checking line or a defensive unit. Assuming there are no injuries, this is where Dwyer will probably end up.

Why he will not make the Hurricanes:

I really can't see an instance where Dwyer isn't on the Canes come opening night unless they move Elias Lindholm to right wing and someone like Zac Dalpe or Jared Staal really impresses the coaching staff in training camp. They might try to go with a new approach and use some younger players, but I think Dwyer's roster spot is safe.

Candidate Two: Zac Dalpe

Age: 23
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 195 lbs.
Career Stats

Why he will make the Hurricanes:

Dalpe has made the team out of camp for three years in a row now and should have gotten more than 10 NHL games last season. I'm probably beating a dead horse with this, but Dalpe showed a lot of improvements when he was with the Canes and looked like he belonged in the NHL for the most part. He meshed in nicely on Jordan Staal's line and was one of the best forwards on the team at driving the play, which speaks well of his offensive upside and his ability to do the little things to help Carolina win the possession battle. Dalpe's had his chances in the past and still hasn't made the NHL full time. With so many roster spots open this year, It hink that changes because he has the makings of a decent second or third line winger. If the Canes want someone versatile for this role, Dalpe could be the guy.

Why he will not make the Hurricanes:

The issue with Dalpe has been a combination of staying healthy and being able to produce at the NHL level. Dalpe has only 5 goals and 10 points in 41 games and his all-around game hasn't developed as well as some expected, so he has yet to earn a full-time role in the NHL for that reason. Dalpe isn't that great of a defensive player either and that raises some questions about him being able to play in a non-scoring role effectively. If Dalpe can do what he did last year and win the battle at even strength, then he shouldn't have much of a problem landing a third line role but the coaching staff could feel differently, especially if there is someone else who they see as a better fit.

Candidate Three: Radek Dvorak

Age: 36
Height: 6'2
Weight: 195 lbs.
Career Stats

Why he will make the Hurricanes:

The Hurricanes need to improve their penalty kill and this is Dvorak's specialty. He has been in the league for 16 years and has established a reputation as a solid checking line player, which fits the Hurricanes needs. Dvorak is also a smart player and is capable of providing a decent amount of secondary scoring if he is given the minutes to do so. I could see the team giving Dvorak a contract if the goal is to make the team better defensively.

Why he will not make the Hurricanes:

Dvorak might be a good penalty killer, but he is a black hole at even strength and that could prevent him from being anything more than a fourth liner in the NHL now. During his prime, Dvorak's best asset was his speed and hockey sense. At 36, he isn't that great of a skater anymore and routinely gets stuck playing in his own end because of it. Even though Dvorak is a good defensive player, his inability to get the puck moving in the right direction hurts his overall value because the other team has the puck 80% of the time he is out there. The Hurricanes might be better off looking for a player who can help them in all situations because Dvorak's flaws almost negate his strengths on the PK.

Other players in the running for this spot are Elias Lindholm, Riley Nash and Aaron Palushaj, all of whom I reviewed a few days ago. With so many players in camp, Carolina has a lot of options with their bottom-two lines and it should be interesting to see who eventually wins the job in camp.

 

Quantcast