The Canes reduced their roster to 24 players Saturday, assigning forward Patrick Brown to the Charlotte Checkers (AHL), and Canes coach Bill Peters said the team may go into the regular season with a full 23-man roster.
Brown, who played collegiately at Boston College and was the BC captain, signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Canes in April. A physical, energetic player, he quickly caught the eye of Canes coaches and management in the prospects conditioning camp, the Traverse City rookie tournament and then in training camp.
"Brownie is versatile because he can play the left side, he can play in the middle," Peters said. "He's a smart player in all three zones. I don't want to pigeonhole him as a top six, bottom six, checking line center, power forward. I don't know what he's going to be but I know he needs to play a lot and probably the best place for that is Charlotte."
Brown, 22, said it was beneficial for him to be in training camp the past two weeks, noting, "I learned how high the bar is set in the NHL."
The Canes play their seventh and final preseason game Sunday in Washington against the Capitals. Forward Chris Terry and defenseman John-Michael Liles will be in the lineup, Peters said, after both were extras Friday for the Canes' 5-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres at PNC Arena. A decision still is to made on defenseman Brett Bellemore playing.
"We did some good things," Peters said of the victory over the Sabres. "We threw a few wrinkles at the guys on the bench and they handled it well. … Last night wasn't so much by design. It was necessity."
The Canes played with a shortened bench after forward Chad LaRose drew a game misconduct and boarding major for his hit on the Sabres' Josh Gorges just 3:28 into the game. But the minutes were spread evenly among the forwards -- Jiri Tlusty topped the forwards with 19:55 of ice time and each forward played 13 or more minutes.
Peters said he did not like dressing seven defensemen in games, and that LaRose’s situation underscored that kind of decision-making.
"Let's say you do it last night and (LaRose) goes out, then you're down to 10 (forwards)," he said. "I'm not a fan of it and your top four (defensemen) usually play primary minutes anyway. I think you spread it too thin."
Peters said the plan still was for LaRose to play against the Caps as Pat Dwyer continues to be sidelined with a lower-body injury. Peters said Terry could be on a line with Zach Boychuk -- who turned 25 Saturday -- and Jay McClement.
Anton Khudobin will go the full game in net, Peters said. It will be the third preseason game for Khudobin.
Cam Ward stopped 19 of 20 shots against the Sabres, allowing only a power-play goal to Jake McCabe after the Canes had built a 4-0 lead.