Brind'Amour will 'go with whoever is ready' in Hurricanes' lineup
Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind'Amour will have some tough decisions to make about his lineup if play resumes.
When the season was paused March 12, the Hurricanes had a handful of injuries - namely within their defensive group. Blue-liners Dougie Hamilton, Sami Vatanen, and Brett Pesce were all on the shelf, and now all three have a chance to return.
"There's going to be definitely a feeling-out process to see how everyone meshes, but those are pretty good options to be thrown into your team," Brind'Amour said, according to NHL.com's Dan Rosen.
He added, "If everybody is healthy then we have extras, so I think it's going to be a question of, really, how do they look by the time this camp is done? It's not like you get too long of a warmup period. When we start, every game counts, so we've got to go with whoever is ready."
Hamilton suffered a fractured fibula in January and is now expected to be ready for training camp. Vatanen - who was acquired at the trade deadline to fill the gap on the blue line - hasn't suited up in a game for the Hurricanes but is also expected to be available.
Meanwhile, Pesce - who had surgery in March - was expected to miss four-to-six months, but Brind'Amour now says that he's a "long shot" to return.
The coach noted that part of the difficulty in making lineup decisions is because he doesn't know how players have been training since the season was paused.
"It's not like we just picked up where we left off," Brind'Amour said. "I know guys are telling me they're doing OK, but I don't know how much training they're doing and where they're going to be at when we get started."
Training camps for all teams are expected to begin July 10.