The Carolina Hurricanes still have 46 players on the training camp roster, but that can happen when the head coach has been at camp all of two days and playing catchup.
Bill Peters put in his second day of practice Sunday at PNC Arena, then jumped on a plane — with the 46 players — for a three-game, preseason road trip.
“This is a real important stretch for everybody,” Peters said. “We play three games in four days and get a good look at everybody in different situations, and that’s where you’ve got to evaluate players.”
The Canes (2-0-1 preseason) were to play the Minnesota Wild on Sunday and had a lineup with few of the regulars. The Wild, in turn, were to have an NHL-heavy lineup that will include former Canes captain Eric Staal, centering Zach Parise and Charlie Coyle. Former Canes forward Zac Dalpe also will play for the Wild.
Minnesota planned to start goalie Devan Dubnyk. The Canes will start Michael Leighton and split the game with Alex Nedeljkovic.
“We’re going to roll four lines and I’m going to make sure everybody gets good ice time, hopefully a minimum of 13 minutes,” Peters said. “I’m not going to try and match up at all. I’m going to roll and evaluate our guys.”
That includes forward Raffi Torres, in camp on a PTO. Torres will get a second game, having played Friday against Tampa Bay, and will be on a line with Jay McClement and Viktor Stalberg.
Defenseman Jaccob Slavin and Noah Hanifin will play but not as a pairing. Slavin will work with Ryan Murphy and Hanifin with Matt Tennyson.
Defenseman Brett Pesce was not at Sunday practice but will travel with the team, Peters said.
Serving as an asisstant coach for Canada in the Woorld Cup, Peters did not get back into Raleigh until Friday and was at his first practice Saturday. Still in camp were defenseman Jake Bean and forward Julien Gauthier, the Canes’ first-round draft picks this year.
“I want to see them play, I want to see them when they’re in some adversity in a game, see how they react against NHL players,” he said.
After Sunday’s game, the Canes will continue to Marquette, Mich., and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, for games Tuesday and Wednesday.
Peters made it back in time Friday for the Canes’ overtime loss to Tampa Bay. He said he will watch the game video of the first two preseason games on the flight to Minnesota and then Monday.
“It’s an important time of the year,” Peters said. “If you’re going to make our team you’ve got to come out and take somebody’s job, earn a job. We’re not going to hand it over to you.”