With a bunch of personnel changeover with injuries, AHL call ups and trades, today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a shot at playing Rod Brind’Amour for building out the lineup.
I would not make rash decisions on Nedeljkovic based on a single start, but I would get Anton Forsberg into the net for one of the back-to-back games this weekend. Right now, the goal is to find a hot goalie that the team can ride for a little while until Reimer or Mrazek return. I think Brind’Amour needs to give Forsberg a chance to be that guy.That the team disappointingly failed to play sound hockey early to help Alex Nedeljkovic ease into his first NHL start of the season does completely exempt him for the results on Tuesday. Yes, he was put in a bad spot a few too many times, but decent or better NHL goalies need to do more than stop the easy ones. Nedeljkovic allowed four goals on only 16 shots and had another leak through him and into the net luckily be waived off as the net was knocked off.
One of the challenges right now is that the Canes have five left shot defensemen out of six. That drives my thoughts on how to optimize the defense in a few ways.
I do not like Haydn Fleury playing with a defenseman on his off side, especially one who strength is not advancing the puck. One of the continued limitations of Fleury’s game is his lack of patience and/or ability to move the puck with possession. He too regularly makes quick decisions to get rid of the puck in a way that at least avoids the bad kind of turnover. But he too often reverses the puck predictably and early to his partner such that the puck arrives with pressure. That can be tough anyway, but when the partner is also trying to receive and advance the puck on his off side, it can be tough. I like Fleury with van Riemsdyk. Alternatively, I would prefer to see Fleury on his off side versus his partner.
I would strongly consider trying Jaccob Slavin on his off side for three reasons. First, I think he is in a rhythm right now such that there is a good chance he will just keep rolling forward without a hiccup. Second, he regularly played on his off side in college and actually preferred it when he arrived in the Hurricanes organization. Third, I was not enamored with the play of either Brady Skjei or Joel Edmundson on their off side on Tuesday. Especially in the case of Skjei, I think it is asking a lot to adjust to a new team and system and then at the same time play on the off side. Slavin has not really played on his right side since arriving at the NHL level, but I would at least give it a look to see if it can help balance things.
I really liked newcomer Vincent Trocheck with Martin Necas on Tuesday. The two meshed nicely as two player forcing pace and attacking and seemed to be on the same page moving the puck to each other. And if that works, I generally like the idea of Nino Niederreiter as a complementary receive/finish scorer to complete the line. But I would watch closely how Niederreiter works on that line. The other player with greater goal scoring potential is Ryan Dzingel. If Niederreiter does not benefit and produce on that line, I would consider giving Dzingel a shot. As I said on Twitter, the Holy Grail for Trocheck is add some production but equally importantly to generate chances and boost the scoring of his line mates such that the team gets a multiplier effect.
Given the trades on Monday that saw two centers depart but only one come back, there really is not much else for options, but I like Jordan Martinook much better as wing than a center. In that role, he can fly around a bit which is a good fit for his physical play, whereas in a center role he has a bit more read/react responsibility and can lose some physicality from that. With the current roster, Martinook seems locked into that slot, but if an injury forces a recall, I would prefer to slot the call up into the C4 slot and to move Martinook back to wing.
What say you Canes fans?
1) If you were Rod Brind’Amour, what would you do in goal for the back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday?
2) What would you do with the defense pairings?
3) What would you do with the forward lines?