Canes system notes — Scoring, special teams and balance

Canes system notes — Scoring, special teams and balance

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers a short collection of different notes.   Feast or famine scoring-wise In recent times, the Hurricanes have had a weird run of scoring in bunches a few times but also struggling regularly too. The team has now been shut out three times in the past seven games. At the other end of the spectrum the Canes have posted six goals twice. I think a significant factor in the ups and downs is the general lack of depth scoring. As I have written about recently, minus Erik Haula the Canes centerman lean defense over offense. I think the result is that there just are not a ton of grade A scoring chances to go around for the Wings on the lower lines. The substitute which is also impacted by Haula’s departure from the lineup can often be scoring ugly goals by crashing the crease. Regardless, the path to more scoring consistency is likely rooted in being two or three lines deep in terms of scoring.   Special teams One growing positive as the season has progressed has been the Hurricanes special teams play. Early on, the power play was a mixed bag with the second unit producing but virtually nothing from the first unit. Even with Erik Haula out of the lineup the power play has become more dynamic with movement on the flanks and has consistently produced scoring chances as a result. In addition, the penalty kill that was up and down early in the season has also rounded into form. Heading into Thursday’s game, the Hurricanes were sixth in the NHL in...
Crystal balling the Carolina Hurricanes blue line

Crystal balling the Carolina Hurricanes blue line

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe steps away from the here and now and takes a shot at projecting the Carolina Hurricanes blue line a couple years into the future.   The core — Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce I think the two mainstays for the blue line are Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce. Both are in their prime at 25 years old, are established and proven top 4 defensemen and are signed long-term to bargain contracts. Whenever either’s name pops up in some outlandish trade rumor note the source so you can discount it in the future and move on. Both Pesce and Slavin are destined to be half of the Hurricanes top 4 on defense for a long time.   Decisions, decisions — Dougie Hamilton, Joel Edmundson, Trevor van Riemsdyk Without any sure things in the system right now, the Hurricanes ideally need to keep at least one if not two current players to fill out the top 4. The team has three defensemen whose contracts expire soon. Both Joel Edmundson and Trevor van Riemsdyk are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents this summer. Dougie Hamilton is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2020-21 season. With budget as a consideration, the team will need to decide which of these three players to commit to long-term and which part ways with especially if the price is not right. Dougie Hamilton is the king pin in sorting out the group past Slavin and Pesce. On the one hand he is thriving right now, especially offensively. On the other hand, management has shown a propensity under Tom Dundon to...
Considering help from outside: Part 1–Assessing the situation

Considering help from outside: Part 1–Assessing the situation

Nearing the midway point of the 2019-20 season, the trade market that has been pretty quiet so far should start seeing some business. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe starts to look at the possibility of the Hurricanes adding help from outside the organization by assessing the current situation.   In a good place – no urgency An important starting point for considering the trade market for the Hurricanes is recognizing that there is no desperation or even urgency to do anything. Tuesday’s win pushed the Hurricanes to 19-11-1 and up above Pittsburgh into fourth place in the Metropolitan Division which is good for the first wild card slot. The margin for error is fairly small, but the Hurricanes are in a good place right now. In addition, the current three-game winning streak has the Hurricanes rising not falling right now. As such, there is no reason the Hurricanes need to do anything. Riding the current roster deeper into the season is a viable option and not one that necessarily discounts the team’s chances to return to the playoffs.   Limited cap room – potentially only one bullet available With the Hurricanes up against the salary cap this season, the team does not have a ton of room to add players if there is not a corresponding decrease in salary. As such, the team might only have one bullet to add a single player and still stay cap compliant. As such, one school of thought would be to keep that one bullet available in case injuries create a bigger need later.   The Justin Williams situation The other thing still...
Checking the standings at the 30-game mark

Checking the standings at the 30-game mark

All of a sudden the Carolina Hurricanes 2019-20 season is 30 games deep and quickly approaching the midway point that will be reached just after the calendar flips against the Capitals on January 3. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a quick look at where the Hurricanes are through 30 games.   Pace and trajectory The Hurricanes 37 points in 30 games projects to a pace of 101 points. Historically, 95-96 points has been good enough to win the final wild card slot, but lately that number seems to be pushing upward. The trajectory is also positive if one considers a fairly short history. The team has won two straight and also nine out of thirteen.   Place in the standings The Hurricanes currently sit in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Adjusted for games played (using points above .500), the Hurricanes currently have a three point lead over the New York Rangers who sit in the ninth spot.   Looking up Despite being fifth in the Metropolitan Division, the third spot and avoiding Boston and Washington in the first round is easily within reach. The #3 Flyers are up only two points on the Hurricanes and the #4 Penguins are up only one point. So a win or two coupled with Flyers and Penguins losses could see the Hurricanes move up two places in the standings.   Compared to 2018-19 At this point last season, the Hurricanes were 13-11-4. So the current record is seven points better. In addition, the team was in the midst of a December slide that would finish with a...
Random Canes notes — Teuvo Teravainen, Brett Pesce and Martin Necas

Random Canes notes — Teuvo Teravainen, Brett Pesce and Martin Necas

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers a short collection of random Canes notes.   Teuvo Teravainen Right now, Teuvo Teravainen has a pretty strong claim to being the team’s most underrated player. I think most engaged Canes appreciate Teravainen for the most part, but he still seems to rank a bit below the star level. Sebastian Aho established himself as the team’s young offensive leader at 20 years old in 2018-19. Andrei Svechnikov is in the process of doing the same at 19 years old in 2019-20. Dougie Hamilton is scoring at a scorching pace from the back end. And though still a work in progress, Martin Necas has a chance to become the next scorer to break through before being old enough to legally buy an alcoholic beverage. Meanwhile, Teuvo Teravainen finished second on the team in scoring in 2018-19 and quietly sits in the same place so far for 2019-20. Per my evaluation, Teravainen has been the team’s best player on an improved power play. So many of the Hurricanes power play goals have been a direct result of pretty passes from Teravainen that made for easy finishes. In addition, Teravainen has evolved to become a complete two-way player such that I think his game is easily the most mature in that area for the group of players mentioned above. Though I do think the younger players’ ceiling is a tiny bit higher than Teravainen’s offensively, he might actually be the best of the group so far in 2019-20 based on including his two-way play.   Brett Pesce The defensive yin to Teuvo Teravainen’s yang is Brett...
Three paths to more offense

Three paths to more offense

Through 29 games in the 2019-20 season, the Carolina Hurricanes rank 13th out of 31 teams in terms of goal scoring. Sitting at slightly above average, it would be unfair to call the situation dire, the recent trend in terms of scoring has not been positive. Not counting and empty-netter, the Hurricanes have mustered only eight goals in the last six games and have been shut out twice. The loss of Erik Haula has had an impact as has a couple scorers not hitting stride yet. And reaching the point in the season when good teams tighten things up a bit, the Hurricanes could benefit from finding more offense. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers three paths to more scoring.   1) Underperformers finding a higher gear There is a decent amount of untapped potential in the current lineup. After scoring 14 goals in 36 games with the Hurricanes in 2018-19, Nino Niederreiter has only three goals through 29 games. Ryan Dzingel who scored 26 goals last season has only five so far. There is also potential upside even from depth players like Brock McGinn, Jordan Martinook and Lucas Wallmark who have only six goals between them. There seem to be enough sources that perhaps a scoring boost occurs simply from a few players finding a higher gear. Are some of these players just do to find the net more? Can Brind’Amour’s line tinkering find chemistry to boosts scoring?   2) The forecheck dialing up The catalyst for much of the Canes scoring in 2018-19 was not so much players, pretty plays or playmaking. Rather, the ignition switch for...