For anyone catching up, a menu of previous player (and also coaching and GM) report cards can be found at the bottom of the article.
Matt Tennyson’s starting point for the 2016-17 season
Matt Tennyson was signed to a one-year, two-way contract on July 7, 2016. When signed he figured to compete with Ryan Murphy as a right shot defenseman for the third pairing slot next to Noah Hanifin. Tennyson was coming off an injury-shortened 2015-16 season that saw him log 29 games at the NHL level with the San Jose Sharks and another 5 games with their AHL affiliate. With 60 NHL games total, he figured to be a serviceable depth defenseman for the Hurricanes in heading into the 2016-17 season.
Matt Tennyson’s 2016-17 season with the Carolina Hurricanes
Tennyson’s 2016-17 campaign started slowly. He was surprisingly part of an early round of cuts and training with the Checkers before the final cuts were even made. Along the way, Francis tried again to add depth in the form of waiver wire pick ups Klas Dahlbeck and Jakub Nakladal.
Tennyson got his feet under him, built his game with a bunch of ice time in the AHL and fairly quickly received another chance when neither Nakladal or Dahlbeck played particularly well in a third pairing with Noah Hanifin that struggled early in the season. Tennyson’s recall and insertion into the lineup coincided with a Hurricanes’ winning streak in mid-November, and Tennyson temporarily seized the #6 slot on the blue line next to Noah Hanifin. He stayed in that role and deserves credit for his role in stabilizing the third pairing. Tennyson played his best hockey upon his initial recall and later bounced in and out of the lineup until the Ron Hainsey trade and later a Ryan Murphy injury opened a slot for him. Tennyson finished the season with 0 goals and 6 assists in 45 games at the NHL level. He was serviceable as a depth defenseman at times but never really significantly more than that.
Grading Matt Tennyson
Graded as: Third pairing defenseman.
Grade: C. Tennyson’s demotion to the AHL ina fairly early cut was a poor start. Tennyson did temporarily help solidify the third pairing after being recalled in mid-November. That run of good hockey did not carry through the end of the season, and Tennyson ultimately found himself in and out of the lineup. In the end, Tennyson only served the role for which he is being graded for only a short stretch.
Looking forward to 2017-18
As noted in yesterday’s article, Tennyson’s chances to return to the Hurricanes took a significant hit when Francis re-signed Klas Dahlbeck to be meet the experience requirement for a defenseman to be exposed to the expansion draft. With 4 defenseman locked in right now, Klas Dahlbeck and Ryan Murphy both capable of filling a #6 or #7 type of role, I see Tennyson potential role only as a #8 or #9 type defenseman who slots as a veteran at the AHL level. As an unrestricted free agent, Tennyson will have the opportunity to seek a better situation. Because of that, the best bet is that Tennyson will not return. If he did, it would need to be on a two-way contract that sees him start the season at the AHL level.
What say you Canes fans?
Of the three players (Klas Dahlbeck, Matt Tennyson, Ryan Murphy) who spent the most time in the third pairing slot next to Noah Hanifin, which, if any, do you think could fill that role for 2017-18 especially if another young defenseman is the partner?
Would you consider re-signing Matt Tennyson if he will take a two-way contract? Or is it better to reclaim his contract slot and try something different?
Previous report card articles