When I look at the basic stats page and start projecting scoring totals for the Canes, my initial impression is that the forward scoring real light. Justin Faulk leads the team in scoring and then the forwards who usually lead the charge slot underneath him. There is now a cluster of 5 players (Eric Staal, Kris Versteeg, Jordan Staal, Jeff Skinner, Victor Rask) who all have either 30 or 31 points which projects to about 45-46 points over the course of an 82-game season. I guess the positive is that the scoring is balanced, but the downside is that the Canes are currently tracking toward having their top forward scorer notch only 45 points when the norm is more like 70-80.

Against this backdrop, I took a quick tour through the same stats pages for the leading teams in the Eastern Conference to see if the Canes are as light as it feels for me at first glance:

Forwards at or above 30 points: 5
Total points for top 5 forwards: 152

And here is a quick comparison from the top teams in the Eastern Conference:

Forwards at or above 30 points: 6
Total points for top 5 forwards: 173

Tampa Bay
Forwards at or above 30 points: 2
Total points for top 5 forwards: 160

Forwards at or above 30 points: 6
Total points for top 5 forwards: 238

New York Rangers
Forwards at or above: 3
Total points for top 5 forwards: 162

My expectation upon starting this exercise was that the Hurricanes needed to get much more production from their top forwards. The team is currently 23rd in the league in scoring, so that would make sense. And relative to the Washington Capitals, who can stake a claim to being the best team in the league, that is true.

But when you look at the other 4 top teams from the Eastern Conference, the results are actually surprising. The Hurricanes top forward scorers actually stack up okay against the Lightning, Panthers and Rangers. The Canes balance of 5 scorers at or above 30 points beats the Lightning and Rangers and is only 1 less than the Panthers. And in terms of total scoring from the top 5 forwards, the Canes are lower but not by a huge margin at 152 points versus 160 (Lightning), 162 (Rangers) and 173 (Panthers).

I think the upshot in today’s NHL that is at least considering drastic measures like increasing the size of the nets having a batch of 50ish-point scorers without any of the old NHL 100 or even 80-point scorers at least has the possibility to yield winning results. And though projecting top scorers on the Carolina Hurricanes at less than 50 points feels real low, maybe it is not as far off from the norm as expected compared to years past.


Go Canes!



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