Quite often I and others too evaluate players in the here and now. And at some point most players plateau and just are what they are until they go in the other direction with age. But especially with the NHL becoming younger by the year, many players become regulars at such a young age that they still have significant room for growth.
Today’s Daily Cup of Joe compares the version 2.0 of a few Canes players to an older 1.0 version.
Teuvo Teravainen was actually the genesis for this subject. The current version of Teravainen is dramatically different and better than the original 21-year old version of Teravainen obtained by the Hurricanes in the trade with Chicago some years ago. The skill and offensive capability was there with Teravainen from the very beginning, but I think Teravainen is worlds better in two regards. First, v1.0 of Teravainen was streaky at a level that was high even for a typical NHL scorer. He had outbursts of multi-point games but then also stretches of multiple games with nothing on the score sheet. In addition, he was prone to lapses defensively such that we was capable when focused but too often not. Fast forward to today and the 25-year old version of Teravainen, and he is a much more consistent and well-rounded player. Even the lesser night version of Teravainen is not a liability because he has grown to be a solid two-way forward even on nights when the offense does not come. In addition, Teravainen shows much better knack for chipping in more even during slower stretches. I think at the most basic level, Teravainen matured in terms of maintaining focus and intensity level on a game by game basis over a long season. That nets points here and there on the nights it is not easy, and it also keeps Teravainen on top of his game defensively even during offensive lulls that are inevitable over a long 82-game season.
Version 1.0 of Brock McGinn was true to his brand as a physical forechecker. He ran and hit everyone he could get to. The result was a consistent effort in terms of finishing checks, but the unrefined version often lacked judgment for when/how to be positionally sound and make good situational decisions. The result was a v1.0 version that too regularly was out of position and because of it on the ice for too many goals against. Fast forward to today and the physical forechecking element is still part of McGinn’s game, but he has become better in terms of positional play and decision-making versus just being a heat seeking missile regardless of situation. The result is that he is now an option for a checking wing playing against other teams’ best like he did on Staal’s line versus the Panthers versus only being limited to a limited fourth line role.
I touched on this recently in another article, but it fits well here too. V1.0 of Brett Pesce was mature well beyond his years at defending without the puck. That core is what helped Pesce stick at the NHL level with limited professional experience and also what makes him a tremendous defensive defenseman. But v1.0 of Pesce was somewhat limited skill-wise and maybe just more so comfort-level safe in terms of handling the puck. He worked well with veteran John-Michael Liles who was incredibly good at offering puck support and outlet for a young defenseman. The result was Pesce being proficient at making simple, low-risk plays with the puck on his stick such that he was largely a non-factor offensively but also not prone to costly mistakes. Fast forward to today, and Brett Pesce has made significant strides in terms of his ability receiving and moving the puck. He is much more patient and comfortable with the puck on his stick and assertive moving the puck forward versus safer lateral plays that defer sideways to his partner.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Do you agree with my v1.0 and v2.0 assessments of Teuvo Teravainen, Brock McGinn and Brett Pesce?
2) Who has v1.0 and v2.0 assessments for other current Canes players?