One of the things I most looked forward to for the start of the regular season was seeing where Rod Brind’Amour’s head was with regard to lineup and also player usage/deployment.
Following on a few comments in my recap for Thursday’s 2-1 overtime loss, today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes an early look at the blue line and its current and projected usage.
On Thursday, the Hurricanes went with Jaccob Slavin/Dougie Hamilton, Calvin de Haan/Justin Faulk and Brett Pesce/Trevor van Riemsdyk with Haydn Fleury as the extra.
Quick thoughts on the current pairings
I am on record as preferring to keep Slavin and Pese together. Behind that, I figured de Haan/Hamilton for a second pairing, and then Faulk with either Fleury or van Riemsdyk. That said, I am open-mindedly watching the current group.
From watching Dougie Hamilton for a couple weeks now, he is a puck carrier who could pair with a pure stay-home type. Pesce could qualify but he is a right shot and therefore not a fit. De Haan is another whose tendency is to sit behind the play as s guard.
I hope Brind’Amour keeps Fleury in the mix, as I thought he had a strong preseason.
Thursday ice time and deployment
Justin Faulk led the team with 21:24 of ice time and also with 3:59 of power play ice time.
Dougie Hamilton was oddly fourth in ice time among the blue liners and logged only 0:25 of power play ice time not really having a regular place on either power play unit.
Brind’Amour showed a preference for using Pesce/van Riemsdyk with Staal’s line, so this could turn out to be just like from a couple years ago when Peters built a maxed out group of five for match ups at home and then had to separate them on the road for balance.
The conspiracy theory
Is it possible that the Hurricanes are up to a couple things at once on defense?
If the Hurricanes do in fact prefer to trade Justin Faulk, then ideal would be to boost him up as much as possible to increase trade value?
Certainly, there are other potentially simpler explanations, but I think this possibility is interesting.
First, the team has paired Faulk with de Haan who could make a case for being the soundest support defenseman available. Then Faulk is logging major minutes on the power play which has the potential to boost his scoring. Finally, Brind’Amour seemed to steer most of the harder minutes to van Riemsdyk/Pesce.
If you wanted to devise the perfect situation for Faulk to thrive and boost his play and trade value I think the current lineup and usage are pretty much on target.
I have to believe we are trying to boost Faulk’s trade appeal with the amount of usage. Which I understand but bothers me too.
Dougie, at least from reports, was frustrated with his lack of PP1 inclusion at Calgary and eventually led to issues there. We aren’t using him on the PP at all. Do we really want to start Dougie down a path of frustration too? You cant argue that Hamilton isn’t better than Faulk so Faulk isn’t deserving.
He didn’t look good. Are we trying to appeal to Toronto as they need a RHD that can handle big minutes (their right side of the defense is pretty awful). The scouts that were at the game last night don’t jump out at me as big trade partners.
Interesting conspiracy theory. Hamilton should be on the PP, period. I liked it when both Hamilton and Faulk were on the PP together. That could get Faulk the PP time if the conspiracy theory is real.
I did not really think Faulk was bad last night. I was watching him and he made some pretty good plays.
Our best guys for defensive D are Pesce, de Haan and TVR. Pair them up with the offensive D. I question Slavin/Hamilton. Both great but give them a defensively oriented partner. Fleury needs to be rotated in also.