Trending positive and trending negative for the Carolina Hurricanes

Trending positive and trending negative for the Carolina Hurricanes

With a solid 6-2 record overall but also two losses in the last three games, today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a quick look at a couple positive and a couple negative trends.   Trending positive 1) Dougie Hamilton Despite being a defenseman, Dougie Hamilton is easily one of the team’s most dangerous offensive players right now. In Wednesday’s loss he had three or four decent scoring chances in the first period alone. His fourth forward mentality is a significant boost to the offense, and my assessment is that when Hamilton’s offense thrives it tends to get him fully engaged and also impact his defensive play. He continues to trend positive.   2) Petr Mrazek It is a short trend of only one game, but Mrazek played easily his best game of the season on Tuesday night. With Reimer being okay not great in his past couple starts which were both losses, timing for Mrazek to get hot might be perfect. The Hurricanes have four neatly spaced out games before the next back-to-back set to start October. If Mrazek can build off of Tuesday’s stellar outing, there is a good chance he will play right through that run.   3) Avoiding losing streaks One of the key factors in the Hurricanes rise up the standings during the second half of the 2018-19 season was the team’s ability to avoid losing streaks. The 2019-20 Hurricanes have only had to try to rebound after a loss once so far this season, but they did so successfully. Friday represents a chance to keep the positive momentum in terms of that streak and...
First impressions on the new additions — James Reimer, Joel Edmundson, Jake Gardiner, Ryan Dzingel and Erik Haula

First impressions on the new additions — James Reimer, Joel Edmundson, Jake Gardiner, Ryan Dzingel and Erik Haula

Seven games is obviously not enough to make any final judgments, but with those games and also preseason, it is enough for first impressions on the new players. That is the subject of today’s Daily Cup of Joe.   James Reimer The crux of the trade for James Reimer is that the Hurricanes could unload Scott Darling’s contract and get a player who at least theoretically could contribute and/or possibly be traded later. The move made sense on a financial level even if Reimer did not work out. But the deal did also have upside if Reimer rebounded. Though his 2018-19 campaign was not great, he was only a couple years removed from being a capable 1A/1B type goalie. First impressions on Reimer are definitely positive. The team is 2-1 in Reimer starts, and more significantly he played a sizable role in both of the wins. Mrazek may have evened things up a bit with his shutout on Tuesday, but prior to that I think it was fair to say that Reimer was the better of the two goalies. He held the fort in the second half of the game against the Capitals while the team rebounded. And he was stellar in the win over Florida that saw the team in front of him play one good period and then take the rest of the night off to the tune of a shooting gallery that Reimer survived. At a minimum, he seems to be settling in as a competent backup which in itself is a win.   Joel Edmundson My assessment after seven games is that I underappreciated what...
Trying to get the top line going

Trying to get the top line going

In yesterday’s Daily Cup of Joe, I listed some crazy stats resulting from the Hurricanes 5-1 start. The most improbable of them all might well be the team’s ability to go 5-1 with virtually nothing for scoring from a few of the team’s top offensive players. In six games Sebastian Aho has zero assists and a lone empty net goal to his credit on the score sheet. Nino Niederreiter has a few assists but is without a goal. Teuvo Teravainen is actually off to a strong start offensively with two goals and four assists in six games, but all four of assists are on the power play. The Hurricanes’ ability to win without production from its top line is a strong testament to the depth of the team at forward and maybe even more so how incredibly good the defense has been in contributing offense. But winning without help from Aho’s line will not be sustainable over the course of the full season. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe explores options to try to jump start Sebastian Aho and the first line that he leads.   Patience The current trio of Teravainen, Aho and Niederreiter have produced before and the Aho/Niederreiter duo that is sputtering right now was among the team’s best during the winter surge last year. In addition, there have been signs of life of late. Niederreiter’s volume of scoring chances has been higher recently which suggests he could break through and also that Aho is generating some offense even if the results are sparse. And in terms of trying to give Aho and Niederreiter all of the support...
Crazy numbers from the Hurricanes 5-1 start

Crazy numbers from the Hurricanes 5-1 start

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe compiles a short list of crazy stats from the Hurricanes 5-1 start.   A potentially dire situation as relates to goal scoring and winning As of right now, Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov and Nino Niederreiter have exactly zero goals not counting empty-netters. Had you told me that would be the case through six games, I would probably have hoped the team would somehow have squeaked out a 2-3-1 mark on the back of strong defense and goaltending. But because of the massive production from the blue line and depth scoring, all is well offensively despite a few top players starting slow at least in terms of goal scoring. It really is unfathomable where the team is in the standings right now considering the lack of goals from key players.   Jaccob Slavin as our third best defenseman? The defense in total has been the team’s greatest strength, so there is not really a single negative story to tell here. But for fun, if I wanted to rank the Canes defensemen through six games, Dougie Hamilton wins the top spot for his elite scoring forward-like prowess offensively. And though I recognize the potential for debate here, I think I would put Pesce second by virtue of his incredible defensive play. So despite also getting off to a strong start, I think it is actually possible to say that Jaccob Slavin is the team’s third best defenseman so far despite also getting off to a strong start.   Blue line scoring! As noted above, the engine that is driving the Hurricanes’ train right now is the...
Quick thoughts on Andrei Svechnikov through four games of the 2019-20 season

Quick thoughts on Andrei Svechnikov through four games of the 2019-20 season

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe has quick thoughts on Andrei Svechnikov version 2.0 through four games in his sophomore season. In my book, Andrei Svechnikov’s 2018-19 season was a mixed bag at least measured against the high expectations of being the first forward taken in the 2018 NHL Draft. His 20 goals were a decent milestone for an 18-year old rookie, and he showed enough of an offensive tool bag to validate the high expectations placed on him. But on the downside, his rookie season was not one of taking the NHL by storm. He was never really a factor in the Calder Trophy race that many expected him to win. His 37 points were modest. And areas of his game proved to be raw as one might expect. But despite the good but not great rookie season, Svechnikov exited the 2018-19 season with all of his upside intact and high hopes for his second season. By no means is four games enough to make any kind of declarative assessment of Svechnikov’s second season, but I thought it would be interesting to offer early thoughts on his 2019-20 campaign through four games.   Andrei Svechnikov with Jordan Staal Before the season started, I was not high on a Jordan Staal/Andrei Svechnikov combination. My reasoning was twofold. First, I thought Staal’s lack of playmaking ability would fail to maximize Svechnikov’s goal scoring ability. Second, I did not like the idea of forcing Staal’s match up line responsibilities on a young Svechnikov who was still a work in progress defensively exiting the 2018-19 season. But through four games, the duo has...
Julien Gauthier recalled by the Carolina Hurricanes

Julien Gauthier recalled by the Carolina Hurricanes

On Wednesday, it was announced that Julien Gauthier was recalled from the AHL. While it is possible that he is just an extra because one of the 12 forwards already on the roster is dinged up, but I think more likely he is set to get the NHL chance that he earned with a strong preseason. With the Hurricanes off to a 4-0 start, one might ask what Gauthier could possibly do to improve the team. But even with the red hot start, a team should never be content, especially in early October. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe considers what could make sense for Julien Gauthier’s NHL debut and audition.   What Julien Gauthier brings He is obviously unproven at the NHL level, but if he can make the transition to the NHL level, Julien Gauthier brings a rare ‘today’s NHL’ power forward skill set. At 6 foot 4 and 226 pounds, Gauthier can be a physical force. In a modern NHL where decent speed between the blue lines is table stakes to be able to play, pretty much any team can use another big body who can match pace and score goals like an old school power forward. Julien Gauthier has the potential to be exactly that and showed signs in preseason that he just might be ready to do so at the NHL level.   His preseason Gauthier won/earned this NHL audition with his strong preseason play. There is an odd mismatch between his level of score sheet production and level of play, but he was easily among the team’s best forwards during the preseason. I am...