Today’s Daily Cup of Joe continues with mid-season report cards.
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 player who does not receive power play ice time and his role on the penalty kill, and Martinook has established himself as a valuable depth forward.
Victor Rask C
His injury setback did not help obviously, but he was north of 20 games since returning without enough offensive production or much of anything else. His three points made for a meager 12-point pace over 82 games. That just is not enough even for a depth forward. If Brind’Amour has it in him to propel players to higher levels, here is where he should be investing time. Rask did kick off the second half of the season with a two assist game, so here is hoping that he can have a better second half like he did to a moderate degree in 2017-18.
Warren Foegele B
Foegele started the 2018-19 season like he was shot out of a cannon. He had a phenomenal preseason which made it nearly impossible for the team to cut him, and then he burst out of the gate in the regular season with three goals and an assist in his first four games. Then he encountered the drought of all scoring droughts and has only eight points at the midway point. He still projects as a capable depth forward, but the luster has come off of his upside a bit. The keys for Foegele include more regularly using his skating and aggressive puck pursuit to more regularly generate transition scoring chances and to finish a bit more (the chances are there). It takes at least one if not both of those things for Foegele to be more than a physical depth forward.
Lucas Wallmark B
Wallmark’s grade is all about the role for which he is graded. If he is graded as a fringe AHL/NHL player who was called into duty due to injuries, he deserves an A for rising to the occasion and proving capable initially taking Rask’s slot and recently and more impressively stepping into Staal’s difficult match up role. If one holds him to a higher standard as a third line NHL center, he gets more of a mixed review. On the positive side of the ledger, Wallmark has proven to be a capable two-way center who is strong in terms of positioning and decision-making and rarely makes big mistakes. The downside for Wallmark like many Canes forwards is that he is light in terms of offensive production. His two goals and seven assists are barely above Kruger’s six points in 48 games in 2017-18 that had him jettisoned because of lack of offense. I actually really like where Wallmark is development-wise right now building a nice base as a two-way player, but grading him based solely on first half results and not potential future upside, his scoring is light given his ice time, power play ice time and role.
Clark Bishop B
If graded as a #13/#14 forward at the ready from the NHL level, Bishop has been fine. He does not bring much offensively, but he is sound defensively and brings pace and an edge with his game. As such, he is capable fourth line forward at the NHL level. The but for him is the same as many other Canes forwards – he just not bring enough offensively with three points in 20 games or a 12-point 82-game pace.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Which of these mid-season grades to you agree and disagree with?
2) Of the players with a “needs to score more” theme, which do you believe are most likely to break out on the score sheet in the second half of the season?