Red/White Scrimmage #2, and Case For/Against Part One

A few thoughts off the top of my head:

  • Justin Faulk and Leigh Salters battle during the second Red/White scrimmage of Charlotte Checkers Training Camp (Photo – J. Propst)

    It’s great to have Drayson Bowman back with the Checkers.  As always, he will be a huge asset to the team.

  • So many impressed me during the scrimmage today. Chris Terry was absolutely on fire, skating with this incredible level of energy.
  • Jared Staal’s offseason training with his big brothers seems to have paid off.  This is a make or break year for him, and it seems he’s really making the effort for it to be a successful season.  His skating has improved, and he seems much more alert and physical, which is something he seemed to lack at times.
  • Chris Terry deserved the first star honors during today’s Charlotte Checkers red/white scrimmage. (Photo – J. Propst)

    I enjoyed watching camp invite Leigh Salters today.  He did an outstanding job keeping up with guys like Justin Faulk, which is definitely a chore in a fast paces scrimmage like the one they had today.

  • Dan Ellis is probably the best decision the organization made as a PTO signing.  He’s been stellar in camp, and doesn’t look at all phased by the two major surgeries he had last season.  He’s in top form, and will be a huge asset to the team.
  • And last but not least, the Checkers made what I think is a significant and AWESOME announcement yesterday.  They have partnered with ESPN 730, and EVERY game this season will be available online and on a mobile app through TuneIn Radio.  Why is this good news?  Now, I can guarantee that I can hear games on my iPhone and iPad, something that previously wasn’t always a guarantee, and it cements my decision to cancel AHL Live this year.  The AHL Live product is hands down, the biggest waste of money I have ever spent on a hockey related product or service (this coming from the owner of a lot of dumb  hockey jerseys and a closet full of tshirts for teams I don’t even follow.)  Even the ECHL decided it wasn’t a worthwhile partner this year and switched to a provider called America One.  The problem with AHL live is it’s overpriced and inconsistent.  More often than not, the feed looks like someone is using a dial-up connection to stream it with, the audio crapped out all the time, and I usually ended up giving up on following the games visually.  So the fact my iPad can not help me follow the Checkers is a huge bonus, because AHL Live doesn’t support anything but a flash.  So after two years with AHL Live/Neulion, I’m going all audio all the time with ESPN 730!
  • For a few more photos from today’s Red/White scrimmage, they are posted on the Chasing Checkers facebook page.

Now… the Case For/Case Against

With well over 30 players in camp, analyzing all of them is going to take some time, and I’m still not sure I’m going to write about each player, because let’s be honest, there are a number of guys who are pretty much locks to make the AHL squad out of camp.  I’ve broken my analysis into three sections, and started with the easiest one (because there are only four), and that’s the goaltenders.

So of the four Checkers goalies (two under contract with Carolina, one on a PTO with Charlotte, and the third on a two-way AHL deal with Charlotte), who stays with the Checkers, and who goes to Florida?

Dan Ellis

The Case For:

  • Experience.  Ellis has spent the past five years of his career in the NHL, spending time as a starter and back-up.  Prior to that, he spent four years in the AHL and three years in the NCAA with the University of Nebraska – Omaha.
  • As a rookie with Nashville, Ellis led all goaltenders with a .924 SV% and helped lead the team to the playoffs.
The Case Against:

  • Ellis is on a PTO with the Checkers, so his spot is not guaranteed.
  • Ellis had two surgeries last season and missed 42 games as a result.  He seems fully recovered from these, however groin tears (and sports hernias) are more significant for goaltenders.


Rob Madore

The Case For:

  • Madore is a young goaltender with a bright future, who shares the record books from his University with NHL Stanley Cup winner Tim Thomas.
  • He has four years of NCAA hockey experience at a great Division I school, and the end of a season in the ECHL, including a brief playoff run with the South Carolina Stingrays.
The Case Against:

  • Experience.  It’s hard to compare a dozen or so ECHL games at the professional level with guys like Ellis and Peters who have extensive experience at the NHL and AHL levels.  Regardless, Madore is a great asset to have in the Checkers arsenal should the need arise!



John Muse

The Case For:

  • TWO NCAA Championships
  • One 2012  Kelly Cup Championship with the Florida Everblades
  • In 15 games with Charlotte last season, Muse posted a 10-3-2-2 record.  He had a 1.81 GAA and .941 SV%.
  • Muse is an incredible goaltender, and all of the above is exactly why the Hurricanes signed an undrafted player to a one-year NHL contract.
The Case Against:

  • Experience.  Plain and simple, Muse is still inexperienced at the AHL level, especially when put up against two  (Ellis and Peters) who each have extensive NHL experience­e.
  • Despite having a stellar rookie year, the Checkers signed Dan Ellis to a PTO, which potentially moved Muse down the rankings to the number three netminder at the AHL level.


Justin Peters

The Case For:

  • Peters has been in the Hurricanes system his entire professional career.  He was drafted early in the second round in 2004.
  • This summer, the Hurricanes signed Peters to a two-year contract extension as a UFA.  As the only Hurricanes netminder under contract beyond this season (other than Cam Ward, of course) many believe that Peters can return to Raleigh as the backup.
  • The Hurricanes have invested a lot of development time in Peters, and clearly see him as a goalie with a bright future in the organization.
The Case Against:

  • In six professional seasons with the Hurricanes, he still hasn’t really “stuck” at the NHL level.  In 2010-11, he spent the entire season as Cam Ward’s backup with in Raleigh, but struggled in this role.
  • Last season, Peters returned to Charlotte and was ultimately the number one goaltender, but had a losing record between the pipes (10-13-2-2).



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