From the first 5 games of the 2015-16 here is…
What I like
Eric Staal — He was not great on Saturday in Washington, D.C., but otherwise I have been happy with his game. He has been strong playing behind the end line and has created some offense from there. He has also steered clear of picking up frustration penalties (has only 1 minor penalty) despite enough cause for frustration.
Justin Faulk — As a player who has started slow multiple times, I like his start. I actually think his defensive game has room for improvement, but he has not at all been terrible in that regard. In addition, he has 2 goals and 2 assists through 5 games and maybe most simply but very importantly, he is skating and playing aggressively which is a telltale sign when he is going well.
Noah Hanifin — He is making his share of mistakes, but I still am happy that he looks capable of learning at the NHL level. As I said earlier this week, the thing I am most pleased with is his ability to defend. He is not the run of the mill young ‘skating defenseman’ who skates well forward but cannot actually defend yet.
Kris Versteeg — He is bringing the playmaking that the Canes desperately need and will only do more if he can find a groove and chemistry for an extended run with scoring-capable line mates.
Brock McGinn — What’s not to like about his NHL debut? Also worth noting is how he plays. He seeks contact. He engages in puck battles whenever possible. He blocks shots.
What I don’t like
Eddie Lack — I do not like the fact that he has only played 1 game thus far. The team in front of him in his lone start did not help him any, but he did look to be fighting the puck a bit and struggled with rebound control. Even still, I would rather see a 50/50 split on starts until a goalie earns more. I guess you can make a case that Peters was right to start Ward on Saturday by virtue of the fact that he played well, but I would rather have seen Lack get back in.
The constant line shuffling — If you go back through my DCoJ, you can find enough on this topic.
Elias Lindholm — His game is just too quiet other than his 1 pretty goal.
Michal Jordan — He is struggling on his off side. I am on record as wanting to see Brett Pesce get a game by game look in that slot next to Liles.
Jordan Staal — He has been better the past couple games at least defensively, and I like the JStaal/Nestrasil combination for playing a puck possession game in the offensive zone. And his scoring is legitimately going to be limited by his line mates. But at the end of the day, 0 points in 5 games is obviously not going to cut it for a second line center if the Canes are going to be consistently competitive.