Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers up four sets of two that I like in the lineup.
Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen
The two clearly have chemistry and both have a decent balance of shoot versus pass, and what is not to like about the 66-point scorng pace that each registered during the first half of the year? Given the options currently available, Jordan Staal seems to work as a centerman despite the fact that scoring is not his greatest strength. The theory is that his ability to drive possession into the offensive zone puts the ball on the tee for Aho and Teravainen, but part of me wonders if Aho and Teravainen could reach another level higher if they ever get the opportunity to play with an offense-leaning center. Regardless, the duo works.
Victor Rask and Justin Williams
I wrote a long article focused on this duo and how it might help the Hurricanes revamp their forward lineup to include more youth and scoring upside. I thought that Rask and Williams both looked solid against a tough match up in the Lightning on Tuesday. The Hurricanes do not really have any spares right now, but at some point I would like to see Rask/Williams play with more of a playmaking wing (either Aho or Teravainen could fit the bill) to see if the line could also boost its scoring with the right third line mate.
Noah Hanifin and Trevor van Riemsdyk
The more I watch Trevor van Riemsdyk in a Hurricanes uniform, the more I think he was underrated in terms of defensive ability on the way in. He just continues to play steady hockey defensively while also being capable in terms of managing and moving the puck. I think this stability has been a vital ingredient in Hanifin’s progress offensively in 2017-18. Hanifin managed a burst of better play to close out the 2016-17 season, but otherwise the season was very much one of growing pains. The revolving door of mostly sub-par play next to him could not have helped. Fast forward to the 2017-18 season, and I am very content to leave Hanifin and van Riemsdyk together. The pairing works fine defensively, and more significantly it has helped fuel growth in Hanifin’s game.
Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce
Playing Slavin and Pesce together does make it harder to balance out the defense pairings and not have any weak links, especially on the road. But I still pairing them makes the most sense. It makes for a capable top pairing. Because of how rapidly they rose up the depth chart, I think people underestimate how much both players are still growing. Slavin in particular has had more rough patches in 2017-18. As they both continue to develop and find an even higher gear, I think both are best served leveraging the chemistry and support that the other can provide.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Of the four duos offered, which do you like most and why?
2) Are there any other sets of two that you really like?
3) Are there any sets of two that you do not particularly like?