Through 29 games in the 2019-20 season, the Carolina Hurricanes rank 13th out of 31 teams in terms of goal scoring. Sitting at slightly above average, it would be unfair to call the situation dire, the recent trend in terms of scoring has not been positive. Not counting and empty-netter, the Hurricanes have mustered only eight goals in the last six games and have been shut out twice. The loss of Erik Haula has had an impact as has a couple scorers not hitting stride yet. And reaching the point in the season when good teams tighten things up a bit, the Hurricanes could benefit from finding more offense.
Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers three paths to more scoring.
1) Underperformers finding a higher gear
There is a decent amount of untapped potential in the current lineup. After scoring 14 goals in 36 games with the Hurricanes in 2018-19, Nino Niederreiter has only three goals through 29 games. Ryan Dzingel who scored 26 goals last season has only five so far. There is also potential upside even from depth players like Brock McGinn, Jordan Martinook and Lucas Wallmark who have only six goals between them. There seem to be enough sources that perhaps a scoring boost occurs simply from a few players finding a higher gear.
Are some of these players just do to find the net more? Can Brind’Amour’s line tinkering find chemistry to boosts scoring?
2) The forecheck dialing up
The catalyst for much of the Canes scoring in 2018-19 was not so much players, pretty plays or playmaking. Rather, the ignition switch for the offense on many nights was a relentless forecheck that rolled across four lines, overwhelmed opponents in their own end and generated a healthy amount of scoring chances across all four lines. The Hurricanes greatest success early in the 2019-20 seemed to be more a result of opportunistic and skilled scoring rather than from the forecheck.
Can the 2019-20 Hurricanes find a higher gear forechecking-wise? Or is this just a different team with different skill sets and strengths?
3) Don Waddell taking action
The offseason saw the Hurricanes lose two proven scorers in Micheal Ferland and Justin Williams but replace them with Ryan Dzingel and Erik Haula. The team also added Martin Necas from the AHL ranks. But with Haula’s injury and uncertain future, the team might just be short on offensive fire power especially of the playmaking variety from the center position. If the team slots down the middle as Sebastian Aho, Jordan Staal, Lucas Wallmark and another depth player or AHLer, one could argue that the team really only has one center who leans offense and could provide a boost for line mates. I view the other three slots as scoring lite relative to their slot. I continue to think that Martin Necas is ultimately the next scoring center, but that move is likely in the future. So that being the case, perhaps the team adds from outside.
Can Don Waddell pull off another trade and add offensive fire power ideally in the form of a top 9 center who maybe leans offense? Or does the salary cap situation make it too difficult to broker such a deal?
What say you Canes fans?
1) To what degree do you think the Hurricanes have a scoring problem?
2) Of the three potential paths to more scoring, which do you think is mostly likely viable?
3) Do you have other potential sources of more scoring?