Growing up together: Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce

Growing up together: Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce

When required to put forward his opening face-off lineup first, the go-to for Coach Bill Peters is usually to ice Jordan Staal’s checking line along with the top defense pairing basically either chasing the other team’s best line off the ice for the first 45 seconds or forcing them to play against the Canes best. On Saturday, the Staal line started as did the sophomore pairing of Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce. Pairings and pecking order are subject to change multiple times over the course of a long NHL season, but I think it is fair to call the Slavin/Pesce pairing the team’s best right now. Veterans Justin Faulk and Ron Hainsey started slow and have since been reunited. I detailed Faulk’s struggles in the first 2 games HERE. And Ron Hainsey was too often in the middle of the mess detailed in my game recap for the loss to the Flyers on Saturday.   The 2 sides of Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce Defense Brett Pesce and Jaccob Slavin are the Hurricanes 2 best blue liners right now in terms of that all-important ‘defense’ part of being a defenseman. Through 5 games, I think Brett Pesce is the team’s best at defending in his own end and the volume of small but important decisions each shift in terms of positioning and decision-making. He is light years ahead of anything reasonable in terms of being sound in his own end. And I would rate Jaccob Slavin as the team’s best in terms of defending off the rush. His ability to take away space in the neutral zone and step up...
7 D in 7 Days: Brett Pesce – Ahead of schedule

7 D in 7 Days: Brett Pesce – Ahead of schedule

Sometime after James Wisniewski was felled by a season-ending knee injury, I was accused (rightfully I guess) of having a man crush on Brett Pesce. Before his NHL debut, I had already: Raved about his play in a top 4 slot in preseason game #5 against a mostly NHL Pens lineup in this post on October 1. In an eerie foreshadowing of things to come, I actually gave Pesce the Wisniewksi slot in the event of an opening there (Wisniewski was out with minor injury at the time) when I said: He was easily the story of the game for me.  I said on Twitter that if the Canes had to play a regular season game tomorrow and James Wisniewski was still out injured, I would seriously consider just going with Liles/Pesce again.  Vaulted him up to #2 overall amongst the young Canes defense prospects behind only Noah Hanifin in this October 9 post. In that post I said: I think you could make a decent argument that out of the entire bunch in this post, he would be the safest/soundest player to drop into the lineup if you had a single must-win game. He is still very early in his NHL tenure, but I think that statement still holds true. Started into full rant mode in this post aiming to give Brett Pesce a shot in Wisniewski’s slot on October 9 a few hours before it was officially announced that Wisniewski would be out long-term. In that post I reasoned: The sample size is too small to really project anything, but the way I think of it is...