Check out also Canes and Coffee’s Canes March Madness that will feature a series of brackets on the team’s 2018-19 season. Vote on which roster moves were most significant in building the current lineup.
Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers a short list of Canes things that I like better now than I did initially (not in any particular order).
1) Brock McGinn
When McGinn first broke into the NHL, I was skeptical that he would ever be more than a fringe NHL/AHL player. He does not possess high-end scoring type of skill, and he is a bit undersized for the rugged brand of hockey that he plays. Furthermore, in his first run of NHL hockey, McGinn mostly played on a struggling fourth line with Jay McClement that did not make anyone look good. Based on his somewhat low ceiling offensively, challenge with his style of play at the NHL level and his play on a struggling line, I just did not see a regular NHLer in McGinn.
Fast forward to today, and I would readily admit that my initial assessment was wrong. McGinn’s ceiling is still likely that of a depth forward. And I think a good and deep version of the Canes ideally pushes McGinn to a regular role on the fourth line. But I think McGinn brings enough to be a good version of an NHL depth forward. Though he maybe will not score enough to play on a higher line, he does finish enough to provide good fourth line scoring. Aside from that, his every single shift motor brings consistent energy to the lineup and can be a spark plug when the team needs it. And he has matured as an NHL level penalty killer. When one puts it all together, McGinn has become a good NHL depth player.
2) Teuvo Teravainen away from Sebastian Aho
Up until very recently, I think it was fair to say that Teuvo Teravainen had yet to establish himself as a going concern as a top 6 scoring forward when playing away from Sebastian Aho. That is not to say that there was evidence that it was not possible for Teravainen to thrive on his own. That was just to say that he had yet to do it. In his last year with the Blackhawks, Teravainen scored 35 points in 78 games. In his first season with the Hurricanes in 2016-17, he posted a similar 42 points in 81 games. Those are not horrible numbers, but especially given the healthy helping of power play ice time with the Hurricanes, those totals qualify only as depth scoring and are not significantly above replacement level. What struck me about Teravainen’s first season with the Hurricanes was his inability to do much of anything in between scoring bursts. Teravainen actually had enough hot streaks to post better scoring numbers, but he was so incredibly quiet in between the productive outbursts that his scoring ceiling seemed very limited. But that changed in 2017-18 when Teravainen played with Aho. His 64 points last season suggested that at a minimum he could be a complementary player for Aho. And that is how the 2018-19 season started as well. But the recent move that put Williams and Niederreiter with Aho and slotted Teravainen as a playmaking wing next to Staal. The sample size is still a bit small, but the early results have been favorable. Teravainen has made Staal and the other wing (mostly Ferland with some variation) better offensively by generating scoring chances from his office near the boards and the top of the right face-off circle. Teravainen’s latest step in his maturation as a player is a significant one in terms of building out the Canes lineup. The team is still a bit short on sheer playmaking skill down the middle. Jordan Staal really does not possess that skill set. At least the first year version of Lucas Wallmark looks a bit like Staal in that he is sound defensively but light on generating scoring chances for his line mates. And Greg McKegg has performed admirably since being elevated to the NHL level, but also is not a pure NHL playmaker. When one adds it up, the result is that the current Hurricanes lineup is a bit underpowered into terms of generating offense from the center position. Being able to play Teravainen away from Aho in somewhat of a Ray Whitney-like playmaking wing role has played a significant role in providing more balanced scoring. Though I would expect Aho and Teravainen to be reunited intermittently in trying to keep things fresh and find winning combinations, the potential to split the two for balance adds significant flexibility to the lineup.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Who else has Canes things that they did not particularly like initially but like better now?
2) What are your thoughts on where McGinn fits into the roster as the team becomes deeper? Is he a core depth player? Or is he just a serviceable depth forward who could be easily replaced?
3) Minus a second true playmaking center, what are your thoughts on the prospects of Teravainen being able to be a puck distibuting catalyst for a second scoring line?