Here are a few quick hitters of players and situations trending up and trending down currently.
Cam Ward – He has played ‘good enough’ or better in 3 consecutive starts and has helped the Canes earn points in 3 consecutive road starts.
Elias Lindholm – Call it baby steps, but he has been in the middle of a couple scoring plays in recent games. Last Saturday, he a heady pass to feed Ron Hainsey skating into an opening for the shorthanded goal, and on Tuesday he helped win a puck on the boards and was the screen when Dahlbeck scored on what seemed like a harmless shot.
The Jordan Staal line – After a couple false starts, Nordstrom/Staal/Nestrasil played well on Tuesday in New Jersey. With a run of 5 home games, Bill Peters would like nothing more than to go back to the formula of sending Jordan Staal’s line after opponents’ top line knowing he will at least break even in the match up most nights.
Slavin/Pesce – As the 2016-17 season progresses, this duo is increasingly looking like it is ready to play regular minutes as top 4 defensemen at the age of 22 years old for Jaccob Slavin and 21 years old for Brett Pesce. (He turns 22 on November 15.)
The penalty kill – In 2015-16, the Hurricanes penalty kill actually started slowly and then built from there to become 1 of the best in the NHL. Steve Smith has the group out of the gate fast in 2016-17 at fifth out of 30 NHL teams thus far at 87.9 percent.
The power play – After a fast start, the power play has been scoreless and mostly lifeless in recent games. It only gets harder minus Justin Faulk which puts the pressure on Rod Brind’Amour to figure out how to jump start it.
Lee Stempniak – He has not been bad, but he has also not been as noticeably as he was when he burst out of the starting gate with 4 goals and 2 assists in the first 5 games. He has not registered a single scoring point in the 7 games since then.
Ryan Murphy – After what I thought was a decent first game after a long layoff, Murphy had a tough game defensively on Sunday. Even with another opening created by Justin Faulk’s injury, Murphy was scratched in favor of reinserting Klas Dahlbeck and Jakub Nackladal.
Eddie Lack – The season is still young and things can change as it rolls on, but hopes that a summer to reset mentally and a fresh start would see a much-improved Eddie Lack have not been supported by his early play in 2016-17.
Teuvo Teravainen – Again, it is still much too early to make a final call, but thus far in the 2016-17 season Teuvo Teravainen has looked much more like the player the Blackhawks were willing to let go than the top 6 forward that Ron Francis hoped he was getting.