On game days, I usually try to write my Daily Cup of Joe for the next day at lunchtime such that I do not have to write a game recap and a daily post back to back. My schedule today did not permit, so today’s Daily Cup of Joe is on the light side with a few random observations to ponder heading into the weekend.
Where do Canes top forward scorers slot on other teams?
With so much attention given the Hurricanes scoring early in the season, I thought it would be interesting to take a quick look to see where the Hurricanes’ top scorers would slot on average on other teams. With Jordan Staal, Teuvo Teravainen and Justin Williams all pushing up to nearly a point per game pace, I figured the trio would put the Hurricanes logo in the mix for top forwards. But with scoring up, the trio of top scoring Canes slot roughly around 50th in terms of points per game among NHL forwards who have played a decent number of games. That would suggest that the Hurricanes have three players who would slot into roughly a #6 slot at forward scoring-wise based on ranking forwards based on points per game.
Is there scoring upside from the blue line?
With the scoring emphasis rightly placed on the forwards, I think it might be overlooked that there is potentially scoring upside from the defensemen as the season progresses. Noah Hanifin’s goal in Thursday’s game was only the fifth marker on the season through 17 games. Part of that is the fact that the Hurricanes are generally only using one defenseman on the power play which is where a significant portion of blue line scoring comes from. The fact that the power play is struggling is another factor. But I still think there is potential upside from the current pace of only 24-25 goals for the season. Faulk by himself is capable of 15 goals if he gets going, and the rest of the group has enough offensive ability to chip in.
Is the eye test misleading for the fourth line?
We entered the 2017-18 season with the expectation that the Hurricanes fourth line would be improved from 2016-17 and solid defensively. The addition of Josh Jooris and Marcus Kruger provides two veteran checking line forwards with Marcus Kruger as the centerpiece. And watching the 2017-18 season thus far, the fourth line generally gets strong reviews for some of the noticeable things they do including cycling the puck in the offensive zone. And the fourth line has been taking some of the tougher match ups.
So all is good with the fourth line. Right? I keep trying to reconcile what I see as positive with a few of the results. Marcus Kruger, who is the unofficial leader of the fourth line, has some interesting statistics. His five minor penalties taken are second only to Justin Faulk (and tied with Justin Williams). Jooris also has three minor penalties taken too. Kruger, Nordstrom and Jooris are also all minus players which says in a simple, non-fancy way that the Hurricanes are losing when they are on the ice at even strength.
Recognizing that plus/minus is a dicey at best stat without considering context, I would not say that there is anything definitive, but I am watching the fourth line more closely to try to reconcile my eye test with some of the basic numbers.