Carolina Hurricanes odds and ends

Carolina Hurricanes odds and ends

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe collects a few items not yet covered in other posts.   What to do with Jordan Staal when he returns? With the Hurricanes playing well and winning seven out of their last eight games, Jordan Staal suddenly is not being missed. If Staal returns while the Hurricanes are still red hot, is it possible that he actually slides into the healthy scratch slot, so the team does not lose its rhythm? While I do think that is possible and generally like ‘if it ain’t broke (sic), don’t fix it’, I still think Staal is an upgrade and would go back into the lineup immediately. Especially with ice time pretty balanced right now except for the top line, I think simplest would be to swap Staal for Rask, and at least initially the modest ice time would be fine too.   Understanding Micheal Ferland as a complementary third for Aho’s line Early in the season, Aho’s line was clicking with Ferland on the left side and leading the team in goal scoring. A layoff due to injury and an odd delay by Brind’Amour in returning Ferland to Aho’s line broke the run, but a recent return of Ferland to that line has seen a massive scoring surge. At a basic level, Ferland is a power forward who can put the puck in the net. That fits reasonably well on any line. But I think a deeper dive on Ferland’s skill set yields a couple other subtle but significant parts of his skill set. First and foremost, I think key to Ferland meshing well with Aho...
Carolina Hurricanes unsung heroes

Carolina Hurricanes unsung heroes

Every hockey team has its fan favorites, leaders and superstars that mostly deservedly garner the majority of the headlines and attention. But in hockey maybe more than any other sport, every player plays a significant role. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe identifies a few unsung heroes on the Carolina Hurricanes.   Trevor van Riemsdyk Van Riemsdyk is that extra after the list of five top 4 defensemen that the Hurricanes currently have in their lineup. De Haan and Hamilton are the newest defensemen, and Hamilton also receives attention for his offensive ability which has been on display recently. Faulk is a multi-time All-Star and also has an offensive streak. Slavin and maybe to a lesser degree Pesce receive attention for their roles in the top 4. Then there is Trevor van Riemsdyk who is mostly off the radar as a third pairing defenseman in terms of press coverage. But his run of boosting line mates is interesting. When Haydn Fleury broke into the NHL playing his first games at the NHL level, van Riemsdyk was the steadying presence that helped his acclimation go well. Then when Hanifin stumbled a bit and was maybe in over his head in a top 4 role early in 2017-18, van Riemsdyk was Hanifin’s partner when he slipped to the bottom pairing, got his feet under him and surged offensively in the middle part of the season. Now in 2018-19, van Riemsdyk maybe not coincidentally has been Hamilton’s partner when he finally put things together and burst out offensively. When a defenseman consistently boosts the level of play of his partner, I think it...
Considering the Dougie Hamilton trade rumors

Considering the Dougie Hamilton trade rumors

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe considers the rumors making the rounds that the Carolina Hurricanes could trade Dougie Hamilton.   The background It is no secret that the Hurricanes are overstocked on the blue line, especially the right side. Right now, the team has five defensemen who would qualify as top 4 defensemen both in terms of salary and also filling that role at the NHL level. As of today, Dougie Hamilton is a top 4 defenseman playing in a third pairing role below Justin Faulk, Calvin de Haan, Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce. In addition, Trevor van Riemsdyk is a proven third pairing defenseman. When one does the math, the team has four right shot defensemen in its lineup, the extra top 4 defenseman is also a right shot. On top of the current lineup situation, the Hurricanes also have the rights to Adam Fox. Fox is a right shot, offensive defense prospect who was obtained in the summer trade with Calgary. He is currently tearing up the NCAA and by many estimates could be read to jump into the NHL if he signs a contract. If he is in fact signed, he could quickly make the Canes five deep on the right side of the blue line. All of that suggests that the Hurricanes could afford to trade a right shot defenseman. On the offensive side of the ledger, the Canes forward group is heavy on youth and a bit light on proven scoring talent. The team has struggled intermittently this season in terms of scoring and even with the recent winning streak still ranks 27th in...
Carolina Hurricanes first half report cards (Forwards Pt2)

Carolina Hurricanes first half report cards (Forwards Pt2)

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe continues with mid-season report cards. Part 1 had the goalies and defensemen. Part 2 had the first group of forwards. Today’s part 3 hands out grades for the remaining forwards.   Brock McGinn B- The headline for Brock McGinn’s season thus far has been his drop off in scoring. After notching 16 goals in 2017-18 and leading the league in clanging the post, McGinn figured at minimum to provide good depth scoring if not more. So his three goals and eleven points at the midway point are a disappointment. But if you put the scoring to the side, I think McGinn’s game has been pretty similar to last season. He still brings effort and physicality on a consistent basis, and he has played a regular role in the team’s rising penalty kill. He is just a scoring burst away from being on track to do what would have been reasonably expected from him in 2018-19.   Jordan Martinook A When acquired, I had Martinook (incorrectly) pegged as a #12/#13 forward who would ideally be pushed out of the lineup by youth. Now half of a season into his Hurricanes tenure, I see him much differently. Most significantly, Martinook more than any other player except possibly Justin Williams has a feel for the team and its level of play and knows when a jolt is needed. Whenever the team is down and possibly on the fence between timid self-doubt and aggressive determination, Martinook is a player who rises up and sets a tone. Add to that his 18-goal pace which is a lot for a...
Carolina Hurricanes first half report cards (Forwards Pt1)

Carolina Hurricanes first half report cards (Forwards Pt1)

Yesterday’s Daily Cup of Joe had mid-season report cards for the Carolina Hurricanes goalies and defensemen. You can find that HERE if you missed it. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe continues with the first of two groups of forwards. Important to note is that players are graded based on their expected role. So players expected to play on the top two lines like Aho, Staal and Teravainen are held to a higher standard than depth forwards like Martinook and Wallmark.   Sebastian Aho A Aho entered the 2018-19 season looking to successfully transition to the center position and also take another step forward offensively. Through half of the season, he has excelled in both regards. He is on target for 90 points which would be a significant step up from the 65 that he tallied last season. And his transition to the center position has largely been a non-event. By no means has he been perfect defensively in the new role, but by no means has he looked to be in over his head. As a top 30 scorer in the entire league, Aho maybe has one more small step up to join the truly elite if he has not already.   Teuvo Teravainen B+ I find Teravainen as one of the most difficult Canes to grade at the midway point of the season. He is on target for 20 goals and 68 points. The goals would be down three and the points up four from his 2017-18 season. His plus 14, five power play goals (tied) and three shorthanded points (tied) all lead the team. And one of...
Carolina Hurricanes first half report cards (Goalies and defensemen)

Carolina Hurricanes first half report cards (Goalies and defensemen)

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a shot at grading the Hurricanes for the first half of the 2018-19 season starting with the goalies and defensemen. Important to note is that players are graded based on their expected role. So top 4 defensemen like Slavin and Hamilton are held to a higher standard than third pairing defensemen like Fleury and van Riemsdyk.   Goalies Curtis McElhinney A He was not even on the opening day roster and was added only as an injury fill in when Darling was out to start the season. Three months later he is among the NHL’s leaders at second in Goals Against Average and tied or seventh in Save Percentage. His 9-5-1 record projects to a whopping 104 points if projected over an 82-game season. There is nothing more one could ask from McElhinney’s first half season in a Hurricanes uniform. Petr Mrazek B- Mrazek’s season through 41 games has been a bit more up and down. He started slowly but has been mostly better of late. His .900 Save Percentage is not great, but he has been better than that in most of his recent outings. Even with the ups and downs he has been at least an adequate backup. The burning question with Mrazek is whether his rising level of play is a trend that will continue of just a blip over the course of a long season. Scott Darling It just did not work from the beginning. After a better summer conditioning/training-wise and a decent preseason, Darling was about to enter the 2018-19 season with as much steam as possible given...