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In Season Talk 2019-20

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9 hours ago, coastal_caniac said:

This season is going to be a battle to make the playoffs for months going forward.  There are 57 games left.  Every team is good.  It's a real thin margin from top to bottom.

 

Folks are demanding trades already.

 

I like our chances.

 

  

 

 

Not sure whether the last is tongue in cheek, coastal but I find it amusing that there's so much talk about trading this guy or that? Wonder how we make all these trades being suggested? I wish there was a magic button to push to light up the non-performers like Nino at this point, and Dzingel, and Staal, and McGinn and most especially Aho, but that's not happening so buckle up and ride this out. I'm positive Waddell is beating the bushes to try to make this team better, but I'm equally sure there are at least 25 others doing the same?

Edited by KJUNKANE

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1 hour ago, top-shelf-1 said:

Except that match would have never happened.

 

If this org (read: Dundon and Waddell) learned anything from the Staal and Ward contracts, it learned that (1) you don't give kids payoff deals, because (2) this market cannot support it, at least not yet. If it were Pittsburgh or Chicago, maybe. (And only maybe--both of those teams' lavish spending is now biting both in the @$$, just like it did LA.) Yeah, they got their Cups... but they have the fan base to sustain them through the down years they are now facing. We don't, and are many, many consecutive years of playoff berths away from being anything like those teams on fiscal side of things.

 

I like a lot of what I read in The Athletic, but as the Sports Illustrated of the internet age, it suffers from the same tone-deafness SI always had, because it has a bunch of large-market sportswriters/"analysts" who only see the big leagues through big-market eyes. You don't get the platform of a national publication if you haven't first worked in a major market (usually for years), and that renders them clueless when it comes to the nuances of trying to sustain a team in smaller/non-traditional markets.

I agree with paragraph one (and mostly #2 too). The Aho deal was a good deal for a future star who still has a low N value of production, and "prove it" to us. The downside is that contracts are very likely to start jumping up in two seasons, but the upside is Aho comes in cheaper and if he falters we have an out. Handing the keys to the kingdom to Staal and Ward (not only huge long deals, but full NTC's) proved to be a cautionary tale indeed.

 

In general I agree on the writing in the Athletic, mostly good, but big market/league focused. IMO Sarah Civ is the exception in a good way. Mostly she is dialed in to the Canes, and has good local insight. Don't always agree, but she will tell it like it is from her perspective being around the team, more than Chip does. Her pieces have some sass and style too. When I first heard of her, I thought she was just a big fan that tweeted a lot. But she is a reporter (used to cover the Bruins), but very Canes-focused. The Athletic also has NHL guys who dive into prospects, something that can be hard to find too. As a Canes fan, I find those worth the price.

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13 minutes ago, AWACSooner said:

Eetu down...Bishop up

I wondered when we'd see Bishop. Eetu had fallen back a bit. NHL is no easy place. 

 

Bishop to me indicates at least two things. One, we are looking for energy and 4th line moxy (Bishop has no goals and 3 assists in 19 games), and man Gauthier must be bumming. He seemed so close in Canes Camp. Gauthier leads the Checkers in goals, but is a bottom dweller in plus/minus. He only has 2 assists too, but that's not really his game. 

 

In general, seems that you just don't get on this team if you don't play both ends of the ice. As it should be. 

 

But I hope Gauthier figures that out...but so far Gibbons, Bishop and Eetu have all beaten him to the call ups. I think Eetu has potential, but Gibbons and Bishop are at best 4th liners. No rush, but need to see our first rounder at some point ideally.

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Speaking of the Athletic. From their Down Goes Brown Column on NHL team's buyer's remorse so far:

 

Third Pairing:

Jake Gardiner, Hurricanes
When Gardiner signed a stunningly cheap deal in Carolina, it felt like a sure thing. He was always better than he was given credit for in Toronto, and now he could go play in a lower pressure market on a team that knew how to use offensive defensemen. At the risk of angering Brian Burke, it was a slam dunk
. But so far he has just one goal (that came in the season’s second game) and has yet to manage so much as a single primary point at 5-on-5. Like, not one. That’s weird.

 

 

On the other side of the coin, Justin Faulk was considered worse on the first pairing of buyer's remorse. Both of these guys can turn it around. I'm betting Gardiner still will.

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OK since at least at the moment I'm not doing Black Friday shopping....so this is a longer stats/analysis post. Don't get a lot of likes on these, but at least I find them somewhat interesting. 

 

Here are some team stats of interest Canes league rank and comment:

 

Goals for per game: #8. This is really pretty good for this team historically and overall. Ironically, #7 is tonight's opponent. But with Haula out, Dzingle and Nino still finding their game and S.H. Staal with one more goal than Joel Edmundson, I'll take #8 all day.

 

Goals against: #10. OK, I'm going to get a tough controversial about this below: it's good and not great. The combo of #8 for and #10 against is very solid. But, the goals against should be better. Read on...

 

Shots against: #1. I knew we took a lot of shots, and had been pretty good in the last few years of limiting them, but #1 in anything is good. 

 

Save %: #22. This is my concern to an extent. I don't have the stat on danger chances given up, and my sense is that we tend to lock down shots until we don't and when we don't we give up some juicy ones. But we still need to be at least mid pack on this stat and we are not. Our style probably prohibits us from being top 10 or better, but #22 is an issue.

 

Blocked shots/Hits: #28 and #27. This probably plays into the above. Those who want more grit and physical and I'd add just gutsy play can rightly point to these stats as areas that need improving and arguably are needed for playoff success. 

 

PIMs: #20. Here's the thing. We can argue that aggressive penalties are not bad. But to also be #27 in hits, suggests that many of our penalties are more of the stick variety, and less acceptable. Also, more PP's make it harder to keep the save % up. 

 

Shots for/Shooting %: #8/#13. Really pretty good. We've always taken a lot of shots, but been at the bottom on %. We can still improve on shooting percentage, but this side of the game is doing pretty well. A couple of notable outliers who could really help if they improved: Sorry to keep picking on them but Nino and Stone Hands. Comparing to last year:

 

Nino: 7.5% vs 13.6%. Nearly half his projected goals. And BTW the three years before his last full Minn year: 13.5, 13.4, 12.4. Even his bad full year in Minn was 11.1. This is major outlier bad for Nino. He will come around.

 

Stone Hands: 6.8 vs career 11.9. Also just over half. He will never be a major finisher, but this is on par for a career worst for a full season. 

 

If those two get going just back to average, it will help on shooting percentage. But even with them in there, it's pretty good for us. On the other hand Haula was at a crazy 24% and Necas is #2 at 16.2, the Svech at 15.9, then Aho and Dzingle.

 

The offense is doing fine. We miss Haula and Nino and Staal (see what I did there?). The D is doing pretty well overall. We lack physicality and don't block a lot of shots. We limit shots, but probably not as great at limiting high danger (guessing), and PP's against, which hurt the save percentage some. 

 

If I were to find areas to improve it would be the grit and hit part, and the goalies need to up it a little. Our style is high risk, so for now mid pack save % will work. But how nice would it be to be near the top just once...

 

Overall things are good though.

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5 hours ago, gocanes0506 said:

@remkin  we tops in the league for HD chances for

 

we are 11th in HD chances against. Which adds to how mediocre the goalies have been

11th best in limiting them? Then I agree, the goalies have not been great. We will end up needing better, especially as the schedule gets harder. Last year and most years just looking at team save % rank and nothing else correlates pretty well with playoffs. I need to go check, but my recollection is very few, if any of the bottom 10 in save % made the playoffs. We are bottom 10 right now.

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1 hour ago, remkin said:

11th best in limiting them? Then I agree, the goalies have not been great. We will end up needing better, especially as the schedule gets harder. Last year and most years just looking at team save % rank and nothing else correlates pretty well with playoffs. I need to go check, but my recollection is very few, if any of the bottom 10 in save % made the playoffs. We are bottom 10 right now.

Yes 11th best for allowing HDCF.  Lowest # being the best in the league.

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Despite a pretty good year so far, there have been issues. The team is inconsistent. I posted a long list of stats previously, so here is a short list. Everything never comes down to three things, but these are the three that are sticking out to me.

 

Three things that are dragging us down:

 

1. Missing a 2C. Funny how the team keeps listing Jordan's line #1. Both Jordan and Wallmark are on pace for 22 points. That is low end 3rd line to high end 4th line. Between them we get a good 3C/4C combo. But Haula out is hurting bad. The way that Nino is playing now, Nino-Staal-Foegel is a passable checking line. But with no 2C we really don't have a second scoring line, let alone a third one. Haula is out for a good while based on Brind'Amour's response after the game last night. Sleek pointed ths out in the GDT, and I agree, this is an issue. We are a different team with a very good 2C like Haula in there.

 

2. Gardiner is the new Faulk. Sorry Faul-o-philes. Sorry to pick on a guy that's moved on, and a guy who had a nice year here last year, but I need to make the point: Gardiner is spitting the bit so far. I still see reason to hope he can settle down, but at the moment he's a bust. Not even really making the PP go the way he was supposed to. Adam Fox or Calvin DeHaan would be far better right now. I don't want to sell low, but we have guys who can fill in if we can move him. I want to see his game turnaround, but how long to wait?

 

3. Mrazek. We have let him out to dry and he's made some big saves, but we supposedly do ok at limiting high danger chances and he is currently the #39 goalie in the NHL in save % (8 games min). Reimer is #28. I've long admitted that I don't know goalies, but I badly wanted Lehner when it came down to him and Mrazek. I get what Petr brought us last year and he's still a crowd favorite, but Lehner is #1 in the league. At some point save % doesn't lie.


It is nearly impossible to make the playoffs with league bottom goaltending. So really, that should probably be #1.

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This is not likely to happen for several reasons, but there may be merit to having a look at Necas as our 2C. Yes, it would be a gamble. Brind'Amour is very protective of who's a center, and especially a rookie. Also, Necas was moved to wing in Charlotte and it's been a good while since he's played center. 

 

But, IMO his game is that of a center. He can range 200 feet due to his speed, and has been defensively responsible for the most part. He is fast and makes plays. And our current contenders are slow and provide very little offense. 

 

Haula is out for a while. We don't have a dynamic center outside of Aho anywhere near ready in the system. We can't put together a second line. The most likely move is to break up our one dynamic line that gets lots of chances almost every night. 

 

I can't see Brind'Amour doing it, but what's a better option? Waiting for Staal or Wallmark to break out? Trading Gardiner for a 60 point 2C? Yeah right. Neither of those is happening. Bring back Justin Williams? 1. He's a winger and 2. Sarah Civ just let out that she doesn't think he's coming back. The upside? If Necas ends up being as good at center as I think he can be, he could be our 1C, let alone 2C. Necas-Aho-Staal-Wallmark and eventually slide Geekie and Suzuki in there could be good for a long time.

 

Probably won't happen, but at this point having a look might be worth it.

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This team needs to make a Gardiner for DeHaan type trade.  Need more grit and physicality on the back end.  That is the main problem.  

 

This team is soft and too easy to play against on both ends of the ice. Too many finesse type players,  Could use more sand paper type players to change up the mix/style a bit.  A player like Ferland who is actually healthy and can stay on the ice would be nice.

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23 hours ago, remkin said:

I'm betting Gardiner still will.

After last night, I'm not so sure. He looks disinterested, and when he gets interested, he's interested just enough to take a penalty. Suffice it to say Nino is no longer the lone inhabitant on my "needs a bag skate" list, and at 2G 4A 6P -2, and with a goose egg in hits in 7 of his 14 games in November, Brock McGinn is about to join them.

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12 minutes ago, top-shelf-1 said:

After last night, I'm not so sure. He looks disinterested, and when he gets interested, he's interested just enough to take a penalty. Suffice it to say Nino is no longer the lone inhabitant on my "needs a bag skate" list, and at 2G 4A 6P -2, and with a goose egg in hits in 7 of his 14 games in November, Brock McGinn is about to join them.

I guess he had a pretty good game a few games ago, but mostly there has not been a lot to look at here and feel good about. I'm just going by his recent year long stats in Toronto. Not much in his recent play would support my bet though. It's a contrarian play and a bit of a hope.

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1 hour ago, remkin said:

3. Mrazek. We have let him out to dry and he's made some big saves, but we supposedly do ok at limiting high danger chances and he is currently the #39 goalie in the NHL in save % (8 games min). Reimer is #28. I've long admitted that I don't know goalies, but I badly wanted Lehner when it came down to him and Mrazek. I get what Petr brought us last year and he's still a crowd favorite, but Lehner is #1 in the league. At some point save % doesn't lie.


It is nearly impossible to make the playoffs with league bottom goaltending. So really, that should probably be #1.

 

So... We love Petr.  I get it.  I like him.  However, last night was a good example of one of his weaknesses.  Rinne made some crazy saves early in the first.  Then, Nashville gets a break out.  Can Petr make the save?  No he cannot.   That was it.  Between Rinne's saves, and Petr's inability to save on the breakaway, the game was over.

 

I get it.  I get it.  The breakaway should not have happened.  However, if Petr makes that save, it is a different game.  He HAS made some BIG saves.  But my gut feel in the last few games is that is fading. 

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29 minutes ago, remkin said:

I guess he had a pretty good game a few games ago, but mostly there has not been a lot to look at here and feel good about. I'm just going by his recent year long stats in Toronto. Not much in his recent play would support my bet though. It's a contrarian play and a bit of a hope.

I agree history says he's got the tools, and I loved that we got him. It's too soon to call it a bust; Dougie stunk it up pretty good until January of last year, and we later learned why. I suspect Gardiner's struggles have more to do with coming off the injury.

 

What doesn't compute is continuing to run him out there if in fact that's the issue, especially in light of our depth on the back end. McKeown would be a head-and-shoulders improvement over the current Jake Gardiner. He must believe, and Roddy must agree, that he will be all the better in the end for having played through it. No other explanation makes sense.

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8 minutes ago, top-shelf-1 said:

What doesn't compute is continuing to run him out there if in fact that's the issue, especially in light of our depth on the back end. McKeown would be a head-and-shoulders improvement over the current Jake Gardiner. He must believe, and Roddy must agree, that he will be all the better in the end for having played through it. No other explanation makes sense.

 

Serious question.  Does money factor into this?  I.E., is the team close to cap?  I'm not just talking cheapness, but rather league cap.

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16 minutes ago, wxray1 said:

 

So... We love Petr.  I get it.  I like him.  However, last night was a good example of one of his weaknesses.  Rinne made some crazy saves early in the first.  Then, Nashville gets a break out.  Can Petr make the save?  No he cannot.   That was it.  Between Rinne's saves, and Petr's inability to save on the breakaway, the game was over.

 

I get it.  I get it.  The breakaway should not have happened.  However, if Petr makes that save, it is a different game.  He HAS made some BIG saves.  But my gut feel in the last few games is that is fading. 

Maybe, and Tripp's constant mantra of "he's a fighter" smacks of an early PR effort to quell the very concern you raise. Mraz does have a history of fading, but (for now) I'm choosing to believe that because he has been down this road before--trying to become the guy, long-term--he has learned from it, and the team is giving him all the support it can to help him get there.

 

The in-game and off-ice regimen required to carry the workload of a #1 is hard to overstate. Games like last night come with the turf, and Petr's next start will tell us a lot about what he has learned during his NHL career. As I've often written here (back in the day, about Cam Ward), what he's trying to do is by far the hardest (and loneliest) transition to make in all of pro sports. I want to believe he's ready. We all do. Here's hoping we're right.

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3 minutes ago, wxray1 said:

Serious question.  Does money factor into this?  I.E., is the team close to cap?  I'm not just talking cheapness, but rather league cap.

If I'm understanding your question, we have about 2.5 million in space (if I'm not mistaken), and bringing up an AHLer, whose contracted NHL pay rate is factored into that (again, if I'm not mistaken), shouldn't have any bearing on it. Even if it did, McKeown, for example, makes just $700k at the NHL level, so it wouldn't put us over.

 

But I defer to the board's cap gurus to check me on all that.

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I've read several Leafs fans weighing in on Gardiner on another board.  They say his back injury last year was pretty severe and suspect that's what's the matter with him.  One wondered if he'd ever be the same again. :o  If that's the problem here's hoping he pulls a "Dougie" the second half of the season.  

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A couple of great points. I would guess that if Gardiner's back is bothering him it would be harder to play through than most finger injuries. It would explain rushed plays and lack of confidence. It would more than explain the deeply minus player we are seeing vs the very strongly positive player of his most recent years in the NHL. Ironic we let DeHaan go over concerns his shoulder might take an extra month. (No I can't seem to step past that one, so sue me!).  But picking up on Top's point, and a bit on wxray's point: if this Gardiner is playing through something we absolutely have better options than that. Let Fleury play. Go to McKeown or even give Priskie a shot, maybe Bean is ready for a look. Or Sellegren. 

 

Gardiner may be trying to play through it without telling anyone, but that's hurting the team. Money? Yes, that we are paying Gardiner to play and be worth his money is to me the money issue. 

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Mrazek is a bigger issue because goal is the position. The Canes have always followed up good goalie years with bad ones. And to me if Tripp is praising a guy as a fighter, he is telling me he's not that good, but he is somewhat able to fight through it. Mrazek has been streaking his entire NHL career. I really really hope he finds his A game, but he's not there now. Reimer is a bit like Ward in a way. A very solid NHL goalie who just wasn't quite as good as was hoped. This could be OK as a back up, but the better the #1 the more inconsistency there we can handle. 

 

We have enough D depth to get by with Gardiner struggling so long as he gets some press box time or rest. But we will not make the playoffs with bottom 10 goaltending.

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9 minutes ago, remkin said:

Mrazek is a bigger issue because goal is the position. The Canes have always followed up good goalie years with bad ones. And to me if Tripp is praising a guy as a fighter, he is telling me he's not that good, but he is somewhat able to fight through it. Mrazek has been streaking his entire NHL career. I really really hope he finds his A game, but he's not there now. Reimer is a bit like Ward in a way. A very solid NHL goalie who just wasn't quite as good as was hoped. This could be OK as a back up, but the better the #1 the more inconsistency there we can handle. 

 

We have enough D depth to get by with Gardiner struggling so long as he gets some press box time or rest. But we will not make the playoffs with bottom 10 goaltending.

I still think Petr plays better than his save percentage. We are good at limiting opponents' shots but breakaways killing us. Does Petr allow softies? Yes, but not many. And I think that is unfair to expect highlights reel saves from him every game.

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1 hour ago, top-shelf-1 said:

Maybe, and Tripp's constant mantra of "he's a fighter" smacks of an early PR effort to quell the very concern you raise. Mraz does have a history of fading, but (for now) I'm choosing to believe that because he has been down this road before--trying to become the guy, long-term--he has learned from it, and the team is giving him all the support it can to help him get there.

 

The in-game and off-ice regimen required to carry the workload of a #1 is hard to overstate. Games like last night come with the turf, and Petr's next start will tell us a lot about what he has learned during his NHL career. As I've often written here (back in the day, about Cam Ward), what he's trying to do is by far the hardest (and loneliest) transition to make in all of pro sports. I want to believe he's ready. We all do. Here's hoping we're right.

Good info, since we were at the game and didn't hear Tripp.

 

I had no benefit of professional commentary and massive replay, but live, the first goal against looked like a combination of confidence and strength on Petr's part.  Stuff that can fade.  Hope not, but.  Confidence: he was backpedling into the crease.  Strength: Grimaldi just outwilled Petr on forcing through his pads.

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1 hour ago, LakeLivin said:

I've read several Leafs fans weighing in on Gardiner on another board.  They say his back injury last year was pretty severe and suspect that's what's the matter with him.  One wondered if he'd ever be the same again. :o  If that's the problem here's hoping he pulls a "Dougie" the second half of the season.  

 

I dove badly into a pool when I was 22 years old.  Kind of hyper-extended my back a bit.

 

I was never, ever the same.  Culminated in surgery a few years ago (30+ years after the event).

 

So, this talk has me concerned.

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