Originally written September 06, 2013 on Shutdown Line:
Another new face will be at training camp, as it was announced that the Hurricanes invited veteran forward Radek Dvorak to their training camp which begins in another week or so. Dvorak has played for seven different NHL clubs over 16 seasons and was most recently with the Anaheim Ducks. He was brought in after the trade deadline and contributed nicely with four goals in nine games. However, he failed to crack the lineup for any of their seven playoff games. Now 36 years old, Dvorak has seen most of his skills dwindle in recent seasons. He was once a quick, effective checking line player who could get you at least 10 goals and 30+ points in a year but it's been awhile since has been able to do that. Dvorak's speed is mostly gone and he has struggled to get the puck moving in the right direction at even strength becuase of it. The one thing Dvorak can still do adequately is kill penalties and that is likely why he received an invite to the Canes training camp. The Hurricanes penalty kill is in desperate need of an upgrade and adding Dvorak could certainly help that if he makes the team. Despite his brutal numbers at even strength, Dvorak has been a decent penalty killer in recent seasons and might earn a spot on opening night if he outplays some of the younger guys. Between the Staal brothers, Semin, Dwyer, Nash, Bowman and Lindholm, the Hurricanes have enough forwards who can kill penalties so I don't think adding another is going to have much of an impact, especially if it's a fringe guy like Dvorak. There's nothing wrong with adding more depth, but it will end up not meaning much if Dvorak continues to be a black hole at even strength and he takes a roster spot away from a younger player with more upside. The Hurricanes bottom-six is basically wide open right now so whoever has the best team will make the camp and many of them are at the age where the Canes need to find out if they are ready for the NHL. I see those players as more attractive options than Dvorak because youknow what you're going to get with him while the younger players have the potential to do more. This is pretty much the same thing I said when the team signed Anthony Stewart two summers ago and Stephane Yelle two years before that. If Dvorak were a better player at even strength then this would be a different story, but he has been pretty brutal in that regard for the last few years. He is still a good defensive player and a decent penalty killer, but his inability to turn that into offense and move the puck up really hinders him from being anything more than a fourth liner at the NHL level. Josh Lile from the Stars blog Defending Big D had this to say about him following Dvorak's 2011-12 season (his last full year in the NHL): The bad is that he and his linemates weren't particularly good at the role they were given. That isn't his fault, but they were railroaded on a semi-nightly basis. Over 60 even strength minutes Dvorak's shot differential was -5. It doesn't take long for that to add up to a massive deficit especially when playing in a checking role.. If you look at his Behind the Net player card I linked to earlier, you'll see that Dvorak was used in a tough, checking line role with the Stars and he was destroyed territorially. His ability to control possession at even strength was actually last among regular Dallas forwards that year and his performance in other years hasn't been much better. Carolina isn't going to use him in a tough-minute role since they have Jordan Staal's line taking care of those minutes, but Dvorak is probably just a fourth liner and the Hurricanes have enough guys who can play that kind of role right now. Someone like Bowman or Nash should be able to do the same thing as Dvorak without being a liability at even strength. That said, this just a camp tryout and could end up being nothing in a few weeks.
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