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 and Teravainen is the fact that Ferland is the type of player whose game does not require him to have the puck. In fact, he is most product playing without the puck and just receiving to finish. This skill set is somewhat unique among scoring forwards. Many are most productive making plays with the puck on their stick. This is certainly true for Aho and is also largely true for Teravainen. So adding a third forward who is at his best playing with the puck on his stick could be a bit of a mismatch.
Second is that Ferland rates highly for receive/finish ability. Yes, Ferland is a power forward who can go to the net and create havoc and/or score goals from the crease area. But equally significantly and what separates him from McGinn and other players who can bring a physical forechecking element, Ferland has proven to have the sniper type skills to convert shooting opportunities to goals.
Has Andrei Svechnikov hit the rookie wall?
Ironically, Svechnikov’s fortunes have been a bit of a reverse of the team in total lately. In December, he had a short burst of scoring and a period where he seemed on the brink of breaking out in the second half of the season. But the scoring surge never really materialized, and Svechnikov is off to a slow start in January. In seven games, he has yet to pick up a goal or an assist, and maybe more significantly, what has been most noticeable about his game has been his propensity to pick up poor decision stick infraction type penalties. Right now, Svechnikov has more penalty minutes (12), than shots on goal (11) for January. One has to wonder if perhaps he has hit the proverbial wall in his first season in the NHL as an 18-year old.
What say you Canes fans?
1) What would you do with Jordan Staal when he returns if the Hurricanes are still red hot?
2) What do you see as Micheal Ferland’s strengths that make him such a good fit for Aho/Teravainen?
3) Have you noticed Andrei Svechnikov being quiet in a bad way of late except when he shows he is in the game by picking up a penalty?
4) Who has other topics that have been on their mind that are worth debate?