On Friday, the Hurricanes announced that the team had signed forward Ryan Dzingel to a two-year contract for $3.375 million per year.

I will add details to my initial thoughts/comments on Twitter from Friday morning.


Good signing in terms of price vs. value vs. risk

At the simplest level, the signing is a solid non-flashy signing. In Ryan Dzingel, the Hurricanes added a proven middle 6 forward who is coming off a strong season with 26 goals and 56 points. A bit like Erik Haula, Dzingel is another capable forward who at a minimum is above the third line replacement level offensively. Also like Haula (if he recovers to 100 percent after leg injury), Dzingel is another player who is a perfect fit for Brind’Amour’s style that emphasizes pace, pressure and forechecking. Dzingel can fly and naturally plays and aggressive style of hockey. He naturally slots at left wing but could also play on the right side if needed.

On a financial level, one has to like this deal. He adds another player with two-term and a reasonable $3.4 million that is the going rate for good third-line forwards in today’s NHL. Dzingel offers upside from a third-line salary as evidenced by his 2018-19 offensive production. The two-year term pegs the risk at an absolute minimum. And the lack of any no-trade/no-movement clauses maximizes flexibility going forward.


Another component for building a second scoring line

Pretty much the entirety of last summer, I harped on the need to add a player capable of being a driver or offensive catalyst for a second scoring line. I started there again at the beginning of the current off-season. With Jordan Staal’s strength being that of an elite match up center who is light on playmaking and raw offensive ability, the next level for the Hurricanes offensively would require another scoring line. The challenge is that the ideal fix would require obtaining a bona fide first or second line scoring center. Those are incredibly rare and generally only available by venturing into the risky deep end of the free agent pool.

The Hurricanes, smartly in my opinion, passed on the high stakes bidding wars and instead have made smaller step-wise efforts toward bolstering scoring a bit. In their last full seasons (2018-19 for Dzingel and 2017-18 for Haula) have scored enough to slot third and fourth on the 2018-19 Hurricanes behind only Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen. Exactly where each slots and what he will score in 2019-20 is unknown obviously, but the Hurricanes have added two players capable of filling roles on a capable second scoring line and have done so without breaking the bank or taking on significant contract risk.


Ryan Dzingel’s contract

I touched on it above, but a key part of liking this signing is the financials. As noted, $3.4 million is basically a baseline salary for a capable and proven third line forward. Dzingel likely did benefit some from playing alongside Matt Duchene in both Ottawa and Columbus, but even if he takes a step down production-wise, he still ends up being fairly priced. So a down year nets a fair return for the salary. Something even close to Dzingel’s 2018-19 production is a discount. That makes for a really nice risk versus reward combination especially given the limited two year term.


An early guess for slotting Dzingel

At a basic level, Dzingel could be viewed as a replacement for Micheal Ferland at left wing. Dzingel plays an aggressive style that fits the forecheck but will not replace Ferland’s presence, physical danger and policeman when necessary contributions. But he does bring the same ability to match pace on an uptempo scoring line and finish at a high enough rate to make a scoring line productive.

Head Coach Rod Brind’Amour now has a decent mix of players who are all capable of slotting in the top 9 forwards. My best early guess is that Dzingel will land on the left side of fellow newcomer Erik Haula with the aim of creating a second scoring line. But especially in preseason, I would also see Dzingel getting a look next to Aho to see if he finds chemistry there and looks capable of being a finisher on that line.


By Monday if not sooner, I will follow up with a second level of thoughts/impacts on how the signing of Ryan Dzingel affects the 2019-20 Carolina Hurricanes.


Go Canes!

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