Hurricanes Midseason Grades- Forwards
Carolina is about to play their 41st game of the season, which means we’re damn near halfway through the 2016-17 campaign. You know what that means (probably b/c the headline gives it away too): midseason report card time! I’ll run down the forwards here, and cover the defense and goaltending next time. Please know that since I don’t understand analytics well at all, I’m not even going to scratch the surface of them here, lest Cane_alytics mock me relentlessly. Feel free to let me know how much you agree or disagree with any of this in the comments or over on the ol’ Twitter machine.
First alphabetically, and maybe first in your hearts already, young Seabass has made quite the impression in his first 41 NHL games. He won’t turn 20 until July, he only weighs 172 pounds, and he already has 23 scoring points to his name. He’s adjusted remarkably well to smaller ice surfaces, wins a shocking amount of puck battles for a man of his size, and has one hell of a shot.
He obviously has a lot of room to grow, but at this point, it’s hard to call his season anything but a tremendous success.
I’m not going to sit here and write about anything he’s done on the ice when Bryan is battling something far more important than hockey. It’s fantastic to hear that he’s skating again, and I wish him and his family nothing but the best, regardless of if he ever plays another NHL game.
Phil Di Giuseppe
After posting 17 points in 41 games last season, PDG entered this season with some expectations. I’m gonna go crazy and say we expected 20 goals from the dude, but I think I wasn’t alone in thinking he could fit in nicely on the third line and continue to chip in points here and there while playing a reasonable two-way game. Yeah, that didn’t so much as happen. His hands were more often used to punch than they were score goals. With a lack of productivity, PDG was sent down to Charlotte to work on his game. Hell, he’s still only 23, so I’m not worried.
Frk that guy.
This is a tough one for me. On one hand, what do I expect from him? Answer: a 50-point player. What have we seen? A guy who seems to be battling confidence issues, hesitates to shoot, defers too often, and loses way too many puck battles for a guy who’s 6’1″ and around 200 pounds. I’m still holding out hope that he can become the player we want him to be, but I’m not betting on it.
Jay “Pure Snipe” McClement
Judging a player like McClement on his points is futile, since he’s supposed to be more defensive minded. Now that we’ve all stopped laughing, he’s not doing that all that well. He’s won less than 50% of his faceoffs, and hasn’t done at even strength much other than be there all season. He has, however, contributed to an outstanding penalty kill.
OUR CLIENT Brock McGinn
Based on the fact that I love how he plays and he joined us for a podcast, I want to give him a higher grade. He’s maintained a physical component to his game, and been a real menace on the PK in his 24 games a Hurricane this year. However, I have to balance that with his one goal and four assists.
Recovery from an ass cast can’t be easy, so I’m taking that into account here. Mr. Girl Scout Cookie matched McGinn’s offensive output exactly, which isn’t what I’d call ideal. However, Nesty has bounced all around the Bill Peters’ Blend-O-Matic and was never really thought to be a point producer. He’s been fine.
After a successful season alongside Jordan Staal, I didn’t really know what to expect from the man who’s never been spotted in the same room as Tilda Swinton. Would he continue the shutdown role with Jordan, or would he play on a lower line where, let’s face it, he’s probably better suited? Turns out the latter was the case, and he’s been one part of the most occasionally explosive 4th line we’ve had in a while. If only those occasions were more frequent…
Started the season with an eight-game point streak and is still on pace for his first 50-point season. Miss me with your jinx comments. He’s been streaky, he’s played smart, he’s seeing increased ice time this year, and he’s sporting an “A” on his sweater half the time. He’s also been one of the best three forwards on the team this year.
Welcome aboard, young fella. Yeah, he has one assist, but what matters most is that his name is an anagram for “Titty Era.” Credit and or blame for that goes to Cane_Alytics.
What a difference a week or so makes. If you think Victor Rask is streaky, get a load of this guy. He’s posted three goals in as many games to break a seven-game scoreless streak. Before those seven games, Ryan scored three goals and five assists over a four-game stretch. So yeah, he’s not so much with the consistency. I think he’s been more good than bad, and even when not scoring, he has pretty damn good vision. Sorry, JC, “McDreamy” isn’t a thing.
Oh Lil’ Baby Skinner, how you’ve turned into an all-around fantastic hockey player. He’s backchecking, stick lifting, creating turnovers, drawing penalties, and leading the team in scoring while rocking an “A” on home sweaters. Skinner is on pace for another 60-point season while shooting slightly below his career average. Finally, he’s unquestionably been the Canes best forward this season and would be an all-star if New Jersey had one defenseman worth a damn.
It’s a question as old as time: how do we judge Jordan Staal? Should we base it on points since he’s getting paid $6 million a year? Should we look at his possession, defense, and faceoff abilities, regardless of salary? There’s no right answer, but I think we can, or at least should, agree that Jordan Staal is good for this team. Sure, he’s not scoring like I think he should (see: multiple missed breakaways on the same PK against Boston), but he does so many other things so well.
The other half of Rask n Stempy, a pair which lit the NHL ablaze in the first ten games. Much like he’s bounced around the league during his career, Stempniak has played with seemingly everyone on the Canes in his first season in town. As one would expect from that, his play has been inconsistent. My take: he does a lot of things well, but almost nothing really well. Despite that impression of him, he’s fifth on the team in points, and adds a veteran voice to a really young team.
Teuvo “TORSO TONGUEPUNCH” Teravainen
Full disclosure: I love being able to write that Turbo is on our team. He’s young, talented as hell, and really clicking on a line with Aho. After an inconsistent start to the season, Torsion Tommy has been a regular point producer regardless of who’s been the third man on his line. Turtle Tickler is fourth on the team in points, and is only 22 years old.