Defenseman Brett Carson may soon force Canes coach Paul Maurice to make a tougher-than-expected decision.
In four games since being called up from the Albany River Rats, Carson has been solid on the back end, Maurice noted. He averaged 22 minutes of ice time in his two NHL games. With Tim Gleason and Dennis Seidenberg returning from injury last week, Carson got 10:33 of ice time against the New York Rangers and 11:47 Tuesday against Montreal, with 4:33 on the power play.
While defenseman Casey Borer, Bryan Rodney and Tim Conboy have been reassigned to Albany, Carson remains. But defenseman Frantisek Kaberle has been activated off injured reserve and Niclas Wallin and Anton Babchuk soon should be back from injuries. What to do then with Carson?
"That's a really good question because where does the addition end?" Maurice said. "He's played well. But I still haven't seen Frankie (Kaberle) play and I saw Anton briefly before his elbow went out.
"So I don't have a base knowledge of the other guys other than watching them on TV. But you want to give everybody an opportunity to kind of reinvent themselves. That's why coaches get fired. ... It gives players a chance to kind of do it over.
"So I would like to see those guys before I say Carson's taking anybody's job. But he's played well."
Odds are Carson, 23, will be back in Albany with Borer, Conboy and Rodney. But he's making the most of his opportunity.