First, please let me take a minute to wish everyone in the Hurricanes hockey community a happy holiday season. I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday season filled with presents from The Eye and also a couple Canes wins before the start of the new year.
Today’s Daily Cup of Joe includes a few random notes and comments that have not made it into another post yet:
I have gradually grown to appreciate how Joakim Nordstrom seems to play about 20 pounds above his actual size. He is officially listed as 6 foot 1 and 189 pounds but through some combination of wiry strength, balance, agility and simple willingness to give and receive contact, he plays much bigger than that. There is the occasional play where he runs into something bigger than him and gets knocked flat on his butt, but even in those cases he hops up no worse for wear and gets right back into the play.
Content with the lineup
Being healthy right now helps, but I am surprised to say that I am actually content with the current lineup despite the fact that the Hurricanes are again on the outside looking in on the playoff chase as we approach the end of December. While I do think the team could benefit from 1 more scoring forward, the current group continues to be competitive. I am not convinced that 1 player not from the crazy expensive range would make that much of a difference. I will instead stick to my recent mantra which is that the next leg up for the Hurricanes must come from second defense pairing of Ron Hainsey and Justin Faulk finding a higher gear. Without that, it is too easy on the road for opponents to pick and exploit match ups.
That said, if a Colorado Avalanche shake up makes 25-year old proven NHL scorer Matt Duchene available for some bag of mostly futures, I am still all in (per ranting on Twitter a couple weeks back). If Francis gets a chance to add a good young scorer who is already proven at the NHL level, I hope he takes it even if the cost is a little bit high.
Matt Tennyson continues to be a key contributor to the Canes improving fortunes. Tennyson himself has been good himself and equally importantly has found chemistry and provided a more stable situation for Noah Hanifin. I am calling mid-February for a contract extension for Tennyson. Basically, my bet is that once he hits 40 games, Ron Francis will make the move to re-sign him to meet the requirement for the expansion draft of exposing a defenseman with 40 games of 2016-17 NHL experience (or 70 games over the previous 2 years). By about mid-February, Tennyson will qualify.