The Carolina Hurricanes put up five goals yesterday on the Philadelphia Flyers, winning their second straight and climbing within just a single goal of 100 on the season. They are one of only two teams (along with the Los Angeles Kings, who sit at 94) without 100 goals this year, a result of some very inconsistent play from their forward group. One player who prior to this season was lauded for his consistency at both ends of the rink is Jordan Staal, who unfortunately was placed back on injured reserve today with an upper-body injury. The former Carolina captain had missed time with a concussion in December before returning for just two games prior to the Christmas break and hasn’t suited up since.
In his place, the team has recalled minor league forward Greg McKegg under emergency conditions to give them an extra body up front. More importantly though, Haydn Fleury has been sent back to the AHL. The young defenseman has also been out with a concussion, missing the team’s last nine games. His assignment likely means that he’s ready to get back into game action, and the team will give him the chance to prepare in the minor leagues.
Fleury, 22, has played just ten games for the Hurricanes this season and finds himself fighting for a spot on one of the most crowded blue lines in the NHL. Despite the Hurricanes’ unimpressive 17-17-5 record, they still have an enviable group of defensemen that includes Jaccob Slavin, Dougie Hamilton, Calvin de Haan, Brett Pesce, Justin Faulk and Trevor van Riemsdyk. That’s not even mentioning the other young options like Jake Bean and Roland McKeown who are pushing for spots, giving Fleury more than enough competition to endure even without factoring in a head injury.
If the Hurricanes ever do consider trading one of their prized defensemen, there is no shortage of players ready to seize the opportunity and show they are full-time NHL players. Fleury will have to wait for that chance with the others in the minor leagues for now.