Here is a small collection of random thoughts that have not made it into other posts yet:
1-Is it time to try Jeff Skinner with Eric Staal?
Historically, I have not been a fan of this combination, and it generally has not worked for extended periods of time when tried. But 2 things on that. First, little else seems to be working to generate goals, so at some point you have to try plan B, C, D and maybe this is E. Second, the thing that might be different from when I hated this previously is that Jeff Skinner is playing a higher level of 2-way hockey, so just maybe he can handle shifts against the other teams’ best. Part of me thinks this is just a sign of how desperate the Canes are for offense.
2-Is Jaccob Slaving playing on the right side (his off side) out of design and future planning or just out of short-term necessity?
Slavin, who is a left shot, is playing on the rights side of a first D pairing with Trevor Carrick in Charlotte. It might be hard to get a straight answer, but I would be curious to hear why this is. Is it that Francis and/or Morris wanted to pair up the 2 best young defenders in Charlotte which necessitated this? Is it that Slavin has a history of playing his off side and is comfortable or even more comfortable there? Or is that for some reason Francis has him as a right D in his long-term hopes/plans? I think it is especially odd with Pesce’s emergence. Faulk is 1 right side D who is not going anywhere. Pesce is quickly playing his way into the mix long-term. Then there is Murphy. Meanwhile on the left side, there really is only Hanifin with NHL experience of the young group. Who knows how this all shakes out in a couple years, but right now odds would say that the Canes have more openings to fill on Slavin’s natural left side.
3-Why are the Canes are taking the most lumps at even strength with the most experienced defensemen on the ice?
Hainsey is minus 15, Faulk is minus 12 and Liles is minus 9. Is it bad luck? Is it just that they are playing the most minutes? Is it just that plus/minus is a horrible statistic? Or is there something more to this? The Canes are actually plus 1 (8 power play goals, 7 shorthanded goals allowed) on special teams, so they are losing hockey games largely with this trio on the ice.
4-When does Derek Ryan get his shot?
When Francis signed him as a 28-year old ‘prospect’, he had to figure that there was at least a chance (not a certainty) that he could be NHL ready real soon. With his skill set being of the scoring variety and the Canes struggling to score, I have to think his time is coming soon. The only player who might logically be ahead of him is Di Giuseppe who is playing on his line and also putting up points.