Today’s Daily Cup of Joe is a catch up edition that offers a few notes/comments that have not made it into other posts yet.
The East is hot
My math says that the team sitting in the last playoff spot right now projects to score 101 points. That is high as recent years have hovered near 95 points.
Why force it so much with Elias Lindholm?
Despite being off to a slow start offensively and not really clicking with line mates Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen, Elias Lindholm was recently elevated to the first line. For his similarly decent play that is nevertheless light on offense, Phil Di Giuseppe was demoted to Charlotte. While watching the game, I had a conversation about the entitlement that seems to come with high draft pedigree. Because theoretically his ceiling is so high and his age so young, the Hurricanes seem bound and determined to force Lindholm up the depth chart and higher in the lineup than he deserves. Has Lindholm really been any better than Di Giuseppe, Nestrasil, Stalberg and Nordstrom, all of whom have been scratched this season? I recently wrote about resetting expectations for Elias Lindholm. I also suggested playing Lindholm in the C4 slot and temporarily pusshing Jay McClement out of the lineup. I stand by that assertion not because I want to punish Lindholm but rather simply because it improves the Canes lineup.
Using players to their strengths
Almost nothing is more maddening than watching the Hurricanes recall a skill/scoring type player from Charlotte, put him on a fourth line without any offensive help for 5-10 games and then send the player back to Charlotte because of lack of scoring.
Bill Peters gets the need to give call ups an opportunity to play to their strengths. Peters left McGinn/Ryan intact when moving it from Charlotte to Raleigh and are receiving a decent amount of ice time playing on a third line. In addition, skilled center Derek Ryan is receiving power play ice time, and Brock McGinn is in a key role in the all-important penalty kill that is a strength of the Hurricanes.
Tricky situation in net
The next back-to-back set and logical reinsertion point for Eddie Lack is not until November 26 and 27. That would make about 3 weeks between starts for Lack. On the one hand the games are spaced out nicely right now, and Ward is playing well. On the other hand, it simply is not possible for Ward to play 70+ games. At some point, Peters will have the task of trying to get Lack back into the mix.