Carolina Hurricanes: Checking In At the 10-Game Mark

The Carolina Hurricanes are now 10-games into the 2021 NHL season, having dropped a 3-2 decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Let’s take a look at how things are shaking out for the team.

Offense

As of this afternoon, the Carolina Hurricanes have scored 34 goals, putting them at 3.4 goals per game, ahead of last year’s 3.19. To give a little more perspective, the 2018-19 squad—the first Hurricanes team to reach the postseason in a decade—scored at a rate of 2.99 goals per game. Thankfully, the core of this team continues to progress.

Andrei Svechnikov has been continuing his ascent and has regularly been the team’s best player. If things continue at their current pace—and all bets are off this season—the third-year phenom would finish with 34 goals and 56 points, a point-per-game click.

Vincent Trocheck has proven to be a perfect fit in Carolina. Despite missing the Hurricanes’ last game, Trocheck, erm, checks in with 6 goals and 9 points. He’s also won 57% of the face-offs he’s taken, dished out 19 hits, and been a valuable power play contributor.

Sebastian Aho has been quietly productive, tallying 9 points. The Finn has been somewhat snakebitten as his goal total (2) has been impeded by opposing goalposts. Still, he’s contributing at just about the pace expected of him.

Now, there’s no way that I’m not going to mention Jordan Staal. The captain has been a force early on this season, using his sizable frame to create space, win puck battles, and generally make life miserable for the opposition. His offensive output (2g; 7a) matches that of Aho despite the fact that Staal has dressed in only 8 games.

Nino Niederreiter has 5 goals so far and is showing signs of a bounce-back following a disappointing 2019-20 campaign. Brock McGinn has picked up 4 goals and has been a menace all over the ice. It’ll be interesting to see what GM Don Waddell does with the feisty winger, who is set to become a UFA at season’s end.

Oddly enough, the Hurricanes had no goals scored by a defenseman until both Dougie Hamilton and Brett Pesce found the back of the net in a 6-5 victory over Columbus on February 7. Hamilton leads the blueline in scoring with 8 points (1g; 7a).

The biggest concern lies with Teuvo Teravainen, who sits with just 2 assists in 7 games. Health concerns are certainly a possibility following his stay on the COVID Protocol List and his performance is not at the level we’re accustomed to. Hopefully, he gets back to his old self—in health and play—sooner than later.

The power play is clicking along at 23.5%, good enough for 10th place in the league. That said, the Hurricanes have again had more than their fair share of miserable efforts mixed in with some absolute brilliance. Having Teravainen at 100% certainly wouldn’t hurt anything here.

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