The Charlotte Checkers, minor league affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes, kicked off hockey's return to Raleigh with a 3-1 victory over Norfolk at PNC Arena Sunday afternoon. The record-breaking crowd of 10,256 watched, essentially, an audition session for many of the 'Canes youngest rising stars.
Now, however, Raleigh's focus shifts to a training camp expected to open within the week. High-profile newcomers Alexander Semin and Jordan Staal will arrive to face lofty expectations and an unexpected hole in the top six—Tuomo Ruutu's recently-announced hip surgery will keep him out for most, if not all, of the upcoming season.
A number of prospects showcased in Sunday's AHL contest will also feel the spotlight in a rushed training camp; forwards Zac Dalpe, Zach Boychuk, Drayson Bowman and Jerome Samson along with defensemen Bobby Sanguinetti, Marc-Andre Gragnani and Ryan Murphy should all contend for a scarce few NHL jobs.
Full projections for the 'Canes opening day training camp, along with player-by-player statistical projections for the shortened season, lay on the coming slides.