Hockey is almost here! With NHL commissioner, Gary Bettman’s announcement for a 24- team playoff comes the excitement of playoff hockey. The resume of play isn’t 100% as the players and league continue talks. However, the league has opened up the playoffs to eight other teams. Bubble teams like the Florida Panthers and Arizona Coyotes have a chance to make the playoffs under the modified format. With the expansion of new teams also comes the expansion of rosters as well. The league announced that teams will be allowed to bring 28 skaters and an unlimited amount of goalies with them to the hub cities once play resumes. This allows for some unsung heroes, or Black Aces, to shine and prove their worth. Today we’re going to be looking at the Carolina Hurricanes Black Aces.
Who are the Carolina Hurricanes Black Aces?
The term “Black Ace” was once used negatively. The term originated from Eddie Shore, who would refer to spare players as a “Black Ace.” Shore would say that a team would be in bad shape if they had to use one of their Black Aces in a game. However, recently, it has been used more positively. A team would use a Black Ace to help them overcome the loss of a player or if they thought a different player could be utilized in a way to help the team win. So, who makes up the Carolina Hurricanes Black Aces?
Morgan Geekie may have only had two games in the NHL before the league paused, but he made an instant impression on the team. In those two games, he netted three goals and an assist. In 55 AHL games this season he put up great numbers as well. 20 goals and 22 assists in Raleigh for the Canes’ AHL affiliate. If head coach Rod Brind’Amour were to play the forward next to someone needing a jump start to their play, like Nino Niederreiter, he could boost an already talented forward group.
Clark Bishop played five games this season at the start of December. He only put up one point but he has never been relied on to score a ton in his career. Bishop is a good depth piece the Hurricanes could add to their lineup to put some grit into the bottom-six. He’s a defensive-minded forward that can slot nicely into the Canes fourth-ranked penalty kill if relied upon.
Jake Bean is one of Carolina’s highly touted defensive prospects. The 2016 first-round draft pick only has two games of NHL experience, but his AHL numbers are a sign of his elite game. In 129 AHL games, Bean has notched 92 points. He’s a lot like Dougie Hamilton in that sense, a strong skater who can carry momentum into the offensive zone. He’s had significant power-play minutes in his two professional seasons, leading rookies in the 2018-19 season with 20 power-play points. Bean would be an excellent addition to the Canes top ten power-play unit and surely could help them overcome the Rangers.
24-year-old defenceman Roland McKeown played 10 games for the Hurricanes in 2017-18, picking up three assists. With the Canes defensive depth, he’s been stuck with the Charlotte Checkers since then. He is a smooth-skating, puck-moving defenceman who put up 24 points in 61 games for the Checkers this season. If the Canes need help on the right side of the defence, he could get a look.
Alex Nedeljkovic has been sitting in Carolina’s system for a while. Through four seasons in Charlotte, he owns a 2.49 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage. He had some time towards the end of the season to play in the NHL. In his four-game stint, he went 1-2-1, hosting a .887 save percentage and 3.05 goals-against-average. If James Reimer or Petr Mrazek is to get hurt, the Hurricanes would surely use his assistance.