Hot on the heels of a great 2-0-1 start to the 2018-19 NHL season for the Carolina Hurricanes, todays’ Daily Cup of Joe offers first impressions on a first set of Canes newcomers.
Important disclaimer: Three regular season games is a tiny sample size and not enough to draw any kind of final conclusion…hence the title “first impressions”. But especially when also considering preseason and watching the players prior to joining the Hurricanes, I think timing is right for at least a first check in on the newest Hurricanes players.
Of the newly-added players, Jordan Martinook is the player whose first impression most diverges from what I expected.
To be honest, I viewed the trade for Marcus Kruger as just doing the best possible to move on from Marcus Kruger. Both have only 2018-19 on their contracts. Both are fourth-liners who can kill penalties. So while the trade to get someone who at least might fit in the NHL lineup made sense, I figured Martinook for being no more than a physical fourth-liner who ideally gets pushed out of the lineup to #13.
I am not changing his fourth line status based on three games nor am I projecting some massive point total based on his three points in three games, but I do have a different impression of him. Martinook is what I call a 2020 fourth-liner in the sense that he does bring the old school physicality and kill penalties. But he rates higher than I would have expected for skating, skill and smarts. Somewhat like Joakim Nordstrom, he is not a fourth-liner because of limited mobility. He can match NHL pace. And he has shown more puck skills than I initially anticipated. Finally, Martinook has a decent knack for finding open areas of ice in scoring areas.
When I net it out, I can see the potential for Martinook scoring 10 or so goals if he plays with enough skill/playmaking on his line. Maybe more significantly, I think he brings enough offensively that he can be a decent complementary player on a line with the young skill in the Hurricanes lineup.
My original estimation for Martinook was for him to be a serviceable #12/#13 forward who skated in 40-50 games depending on how healthy the Hurricanes were and how well the rookies performed. But I now could see him being a regular and offering higher-end depth scoring (10-12 goals) given his role.
Watch point: Continued offensive production. 12 goals and 25-30 points would be huge for his role.
My expectation for Micheal Ferland when acquired was based on his role with Calgary in 2017-18. In 2017-18 at least until he faded a bit in the second half of the season, Ferland was a solid complementary power forward on a top scoring line. That skill set at least on paper fit well with the Aho/Teravainen combination. For a team that needs more scoring, I would gladly have accepted the 21 goals that he had in 2017-18 even though reports are that he faded down the stretch.
So my impression of Ferland on the way in the door was that of a power forward who played a simple game but also possessed enough speed to hang with a faster line and enough skill to finish around the net.
Through three games, that assessment is basically on target. This might sound odd given his two goals and two assists in only three games, but I am still holding judgement for how well he fits with Aho/Teravainen. For me, he rates as expected or better for matching pace, bringing a power forward element to the line and having finishing ability. But in watching him with Aho/Teravainen, there are times when he has not been on the same page in terms of how to move and advance the puck. At this very early juncture, I have this as a watch point not a conclusive evaluation. It might just be that the three need a little more run time to get on the same page. Or it might be that Aho still adjusting to the center position and Ferland is in that mix.
Regardless, his quick start with two goals and two assists is promising and a tremendous pace obviously. And the way the lineup has shaken out so far such that every line has some bang, grit and intensity on the left side is interesting. It could also make it pretty easy to use the left wings interchangeably if/when the lineup needs a spark.
Watch point: Development of more chemistry/cohesion with Aho/Teravainen.
I received a pretty consistent assessment of Dougie Hamilton from a couple different check ins with knowledgeable hockey people who track the Calgary Flames similar to how I track the Hurricanes. The general consensus was that Hamilton was a top-tier offensive defenseman, a capable or better defensive defenseman and all-around a legitimate top pairing defenseman. The only rap on him was a few too many stick/obstruction penalties, an occasional lackadaisical moment and some question as to whether he looked a bit better than he was from playing with a high-quality partner.
From that and also seeing a decent amount of Hamilton over the years especially when he was still in Boston, my expectation was a little bit of Joni Pitkanen in terms of size, skating and physical ability but with a better shot and maybe someone like a Jay Bouwmeester or Ryan Suter in terms of being a big skating defenseman who was decent or better defensively.
Thus far, that is about on target, but I do have a couple notable things that have jumped out in Hamilton’s game thus far.
First is his shot. Obviously his 17 goals in 2017-18 suggested he could shoot and score, but despite the fact that he has yet to score a goal, I think I underestimated his shot. He does two things really well. First is that he has a sniper forward’s like ability to get the puck on and off his stick in a hurry such that he will occasionally catch goalies still moving and/or not ready. Also, he has a crazy good ability to get pucks on net from different angles and/or when a puck is not in his wheelhouse. That too has the potential to surprise goalies. Shorter version is that at least based on first impression, his shot does look the part of a 17-goal defenseman.
Second is that in Joni Pitkanen fashion, Hamilton has a tendency to wander a bit when his team has the puck in front of him. No doubt this contributes to his scoring, but the downside can be (and has been here and there) getting caught a bit out of position when the game transitions quickly from offense to defense. I think Jaccob Slavin is an interesting partner in that regard. On the positive side, Slavin has the acceleration and speed to chase down a mistake here and there. On the other hand, I would say that Slavin’s greatest strength is attacking/defending the puck in front of him more so than defending situations, passing lanes, etc. (As an aside, I think this has a ton to do with how Slavin mostly excelled as an even strength defender in 2017-18 but was on the ice for nearly every power play goal against.)
Long story short, I think Hamilton is as advertised. Key is for Brind’Amour to figure out how best to deploy him to realize the 15-20 goal capability that he has.
Watch point: His goal scoring. The Hurricanes were light on blue line goal scoring in 2017-18. Hamilton should be a nice boost, but with the change of team situation, I would not take it for granted.
What say you Canes fans?
What are you first impressions of Jordan Martinook, Micheal Ferland and Dougie Hamilton?
I am with you on Martinook. I expected him to pretty much be a plug. He is much more. The guy can skate. His mobility and decent hockey IQ allows him to skate with anyone. Not much creativity there, but he has shown he can bury a puck given the opportunity, unlike the departed Nordstrom. Appears to be a good guy in the room as well.
I’m not sold on Ferland yet. While he may be kind of keeping up with Aho, I don’t see a lot of offensive instincts from the guy. I didn’t see the Columbus game, but for the two home games the issue with that line has been Teravainen. He’s not bringing much. Floating and waiting for Aho and Ferland to do the work. I know Ferland scored last night, but that goal was a howler. Aho is going to need more help than he is getting from these two.
I like Hamilton’s skill set as mentioned, but he hasn’t quite seemed to mesh yet. I expect he will be better once his knowledge of his teammates improves.
I have to disagree with the Martinook assessment, more on the 4th line comments. In terms of the first 3 games, that Wallmark line is an effective, traditional 3rd line. Really, where things seem to be going is there are 4 lines on a club, one line gets little ice-time for whatever reason, like in this case Necas line due to him still learning on the job.
You comments on Ferland I think are correct and I really think the comment on chemistry with the Finns is spot on. There are times when Aho seems to be putting a puck someplace where he expected a forward to be, and no one is there. Of Course, TT is somewhat in this same boat so far, so not all on Ferland. I would wonder how well he could help Necas along, giving Z a spot with the the Finns? Z has better hands than Ferland and I think better understands the Finns game.
Thanks for highlighting the new players from outside the organization. All three have surprised me in different ways.
I agree with Matt that I thought Martinook was just a way to send Kruger to another team. Martinook is a lot more than that. He won a “hardest working player” team award in Arizona. He has brought that to Carolina. He is another leader on a young team. When he is interviewed, he shows passion and joy on being a Hurricane. His skill set is such that he can kill penalties and play a support role for the young players. Great addition.
Ferland has a better shot than I expected. His blast against Columbus was a howitzer. Yesterday he connected as well. Carolina has a lot of very good passers. Ferland is not afraid to finish. He can still lay bone jarring hits as well. I have seen a few players skate away when they see Ferland standing behind TT. As a plus, how many canes in years past would go nose to nose with PK Subban. Glad Ferland wears a Hurricanes jersey.
Hamilton has surprised me with his physicality. Obviously he can score but he has shown some toughness around the net that has been sorely lacking. A forward comes flying in on Mrazek and he gets escorted into the glass by the big guy. That is fun to watch. All three additions are making solid contributions and helping the team play better.
Matt may be on to something with the teams left wings. Ferland, McGinn, Martinook and Foegele are all players who are talented but also a lot harder to play against. Great stuff.
I am the exception in that I am not surprised by Martinook – he may be better than advertised bu the video I found of him after we signed up showed someone special – a physical north/south player with a great touch around the net.
Not commented on is how great a teammate he is – there have been references and mentions made here and there, but from the very beginning of training camp he has been a popular guy with his teammates.
I think what makes Martinook better is how well he meshes with Wallmark and Svech. He plays the “role” of the veteran, physical presence for the two rookies but there is so much more here than playing a role effectively – there is really great chemistry between the three of them and it appears to be getting better in each game. Those guys are going to drive energy with a high scoring potential. I really like that line and RBA has commented on it enough I don’t necessarily see Svech “graduating” to a scoring line in the near future.
With an offensive minded center like Wallmark I will definitely the over (x2?) on your goal estimate for Martinook this season.
Ferland – also as advertised, in many ways. Physical north/south player who can score. So far he has been more of a sniper. I expected him to be playing a more complementary role with Aho and Turbo but I haven’t quite seen the fit there (yet, at least). I agree with apex that Ferland may actually be better on the Necas line – better for Necas and himself – while Z is a better fit for Aho/Turbo. Not sure what it will take for RBA to “see the light”!! 🙂
I admit I haven’t been following Hamilton close enough to have a real opinion of him.
The Martinook/Wallmark/ Svechnikov line has earned a promotion as a whole. They are now the third line due to their play. Exactly as RBA has spoken about earning everything.
Wallmark is winning face offs and playing solid. Martinook is leading and scoring on smart plays. Svech is just scratching the surface of his ability. This line has really clicked.
It’s safe to say the team knew what it had with Staal/Williams and Aho/TT. This new third line is quite a pleasant suprise for the way forward. (Pun intended)
The Necas line is a work in progress. I believe they will get a lot better. They are getting 4th line ice time but definitely not a traditional 4th line. I like the flashes of brilliance with Necas but his learning curve is steep. McGinn is a good fit with Necas but I hope Zykov can be more noticeable as the line continues to grow.
Definitely great start to the season, with some pleasant surprises from the “newbies”! If even one of the goalies continues to make most of the expected saves THEN this team is going to be much better than the past several ones!
Mac should get the next start IMO!
Agreed on Mac starting Tuesday. Its only a couple of games but Mrazek struggled the first game. He did not look sure and had some things get past him. He did get hung out to dry a few times last night but there were also cases where he should have been in better position and stopped a couple. The verdict is out for me right now. Just because we brought Mac in as an injury replacement does not mean he cannot outperform and take over the position.
I had the same opinion as you for Martinook. He is far exceeding my expectations. He is not just physical, he is fast and can score. Our 4th line does not look like a 4th line. RBA said the other night it is more then just skills, it is heart as well that matters. I think we got a fabulous return for Kruger. Martinook is impressive and a keeper.
I was totally impressed with Ferland the first game, even though others were not. Even though he got the last second penalty he is totally engaged. Physical but also total effort. I remember seeing it on his face and we wowed me. A tremendous addition. I am very high on both Martinook and Ferland. Not just because they have scored some goals but because of the effort.
Hamilton is the D I think we expected. Let him wonder a bit. This team is so much more exciting to watch even if they do make some mistakes.
Foegele is the other wow. Just pure energy and effort.
I’m a little surprised that so many people continue to want to see Zykov with Aho and Terevainen. To be honest I think that Terevainen has easily been the worst player on that top line and Ferland has played quite well in his first couple games. I think Zykov on the other hand looked slow and a step behind a lot of the plays. To think that Zykov being slow and out of position playing 11 minutes could now jump to the top line and try and play closer to the 20 that Aho and TT play is crazy in my opinion. Ferland has played some big and key minutes and looked ‘fine’ in them.
We all knew that Ferland wasn’t an ‘ideal’ top 6 winger but on a team that doesn’t have a lot of typical top 6 forwards (at least proven ones) Ferland is a satisfactory option up there. He brings a lot of physicality and a scoring mentality – him and Martinook are shaping up to be quality complementary pieces. Hamilton is a #1 dman so he’s more than a complementary piece I’d like to see his minute load increase.
Martinook and Ferland have both exceeded my expectations, and I am quite happy with Hamilton. I didn’t know much about the first two, only what I read. What most articles fail to capture are the work ethic, character, and heart of the guys. I believe Brind’Amour is part of the brain trust and he is bringing in players that he admires, and in turn, admire him.
This is a good thing.
What I didn’t anticipate is how much fun they would have. As RBA says, why wouldn’t they? The game is supposed to be fun!
The team is doing great–so it is hard to be too critical. However, I am a little surprised that everyone is sanguine about Hamilton. Matt writes about Hamilton’s play: “the downside can be (and has been here and there) getting caught a bit out of position when the game transitions quickly from offense to defense.” That was what led to the only Islanders’ goal in regulation and what led to Kreider’s second goal yesterday that gave the Rangers the lead in the third period. Those plays don’t make Hamilton a huge disappointment, but if they had been Faulk, it would be all gloom and doom. My point is that through three games Hamilton would rank somewhere around 10 for Canes’ players and would be at least the fourth D-man. He needs to be the #1 guy starting soon.
I think most are commenting on Hamilton’s abilities, not necessarily how well he has played. I think he is still feeling his way with the team. His skill set is very nice though.
The difference between Faulk and Hamilton when they cough up the puck is that Hamilton has been doing it a couple games. Faulk has been doing it for a couple seasons.
Martinook for the Rocket Richard! Just kidding. But teams that make the playoffs seem to have that 4th line that can grind the other guys down ,and chip in on the score sheet. I think we have that again.
Hamilton needs to clean up his defensive play a little. I like Ferland’s physicality. And his scoring, that will take some of the pressure off our rookies.