Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers a quick assessment of how Head Coach Rod Brind’Amour has divided up ice time through 10 games.
After a few years where the goalie starts were split something closer to 60/40 in more of a new NHL 1A/1B arrangement, Brind’Amour has much more decidedly used Frederik Andersen as the #1 and Antti Raanta as the #2 with Raanta starting only one of the first ten games.
With Andersen at 32 years old and the Hurricanes hoping for a long season that lasts deep into the playoffs, I would expect Brind’Amour to start allocating more starts to Raanta (or possibly Lyons depending on how long Raanta is out for) now that the team is off to a good start.
On the blue line
The starting point for allocating ice time on defense is exactly as expected with Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce leading the way at 23:09 and 21:09 of ice time per game respectively. Past that though, the ice time is maybe a bit more balanced than one might expect. Brady Skjei clocks in at 19:52 per game, Ethan Bear at 18:32 per game and Tony DeAngelo at 17:41 per game. The order is as expected with Skjei and Bear in the top four, but DeAngelo’s ice time being that high is a testament to Brind’Amour using him a bit more than might be expected from a third pairing defenseman. That matches with DeAngelo’s generally strong play early in the season, especially in terms of contributing offensively. Ian Cole is a bit lower at 14:40 per game but not at all in the range in #6 defensemen that the coach does not trust. Winning helps a bit in terms of balancing ice time, but with Brind’Amour giving different players different special teams roles, the ice time should continue to be reasonably balanced.
Up front, the story is again one of balance. Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen lead all forward with ice time but only at 19:09 and 18:32 of ice time respectively. After that, the rest of the top 9 forwards all come in between 14 and 17 minutes of ice time except for Jesperi Kotkaniemi who is a bit lower at 12:48. Evenly distributed ice time for forwards would be about 15 minutes per game, so the Hurricanes are very balanced in terms of distributing forward ice time. That shows up in the fourth line ice time too with Derek Stepan at 11:26, Jordan Martinook at 10:48 and Steven Lorentz at 9:48. Winning and the reduced pressure both late inside games and just in general helps, but I would expect the forward ice time to continue to be pretty balanced.
Things that stand out
When checking ice time for all of the players, the couple that jumped out at me were Tony DeAngelo, Jordan Staal, Jesperi Kotkaniemi and the fourth line. As noted above, DeAngelo’s ice time is more like top four minutes despite the fact that he is playing in the bottom pairing. After years during which the team probably leaned on Jordan Staal too much, his 17:26 of ice time if probably perfect to get the best out of him both during the regular season and the playoffs. As a top nine forward who gets some power play ice time, Kotkaniemi’s 12:48 of ice time is low among the top nine forwards. Finally, as noted above, the greater than 10 minutes of ice time for two of the three fourth-line regulars shows Brind’Amour’s willingness/confidence to use all four lines.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Which, if any, players’ ice time surprises?
2) How do you see ice time changing for the skaters as the season progresses?
3) What are your thoughts on allocating goalie starts 9 to 1 for more of an old NHL #1 and #2 split? Do you think this will continue?
1. None of the ice time surprises me. One that I note is KK’s time. I have seen all the games this season and I am concerned that KK is fading into obscurity. He seems to be contributing nothing at this point and needs to pick up his performance. He has gone from playing with Aho and Teravainen on the 1st line to playing 4th line minutes with Stepan and Lorentz.
2. Other than KK possibly losing more time, I see no changes or reason to change allocated times.
3. Freddie will play until Brindy feels he has a qualified #2. Otherwise, look for #2 to play only in back-to-back situations IMO. Note: Lyon could surprise and earn some extra starts. If Raanta returns, look for him to get more starts (30% of the time).