One week in the Muller era has gone by and the Hurricanes do not have a win to show for it. This isn’t the start that anyone wanted to get off to but rebuilding is going to take time and the Canes are a long way from being competitive, or at least they are this season. The Hurricanes had some ups and downs this week despite going 0-3 but the one troubling thing is that the team played worse at even strength than they have in recent weeks. They controlled only 45% of the chances when playing five-on-five and 48.9% overall. Shots are a little better (48.6% at EV) but they were still outplayed in two out of three games this week. They had a good chance at getting at least two points this week since they outplayed the Panthers and were one goal away from OT against the Penguins but didn’t do enough in the end.
We’ll take a closer look after the jump
If you’ve been following this blog then you should know what this is. If not, then I’ll remind you again that it’s a graph showing who has been getting the toughest assignments on the team. Still not much has changed here only Tomas Kaberle’s assignments have gotten even easier than before. Faulk’s assignments are also getting slightly easier but he still not being protected nearly as much as Joslin/Kaberle have. The guys taking the toughest assignments (top left of the graph) has remained constant this season but notice one newer face there. That one would be Joni Pitkanen who has been forced to take over Joe Corvo’s role from last season in playing against tough competition without the help of easier zone starts. We have Kaberle to thank for that. Staal has been getting protected, somewhat. He’s playing against tough competition but getting slightly easier zone starts. With how much of a workload Sutter & Dwyer are taking on the third line, you would think that would open up some softer ice-time for Staal. I’m not saying that we should give him or anyone the Sedin treatment but Muller should look into a way to open up the ice for him a little because he’s been generating offense (but getting no bounces) even when he’s playing against other team’s top lines.
Joni Pitkanen – His three assists this week were nice but was even better was having him be +4 in scoring chances and +8 in corsi despite playing some of the tougher minutes on the team. Even better than that was having him on ice for five of Carolina’s goals (they had six all week) and only two of the opponent’s. Not bad for your first week back from injury.
Jeff Skinner – He scored a goal and was a +4 in scoring chances. The first line with him, Staal and Ruutu has been the most consistent of the past couple of weeks and have looked like a legitamate threat at times. The problem with having them on the same line is it kills the team’s forward depth, but I’ll be damned if these three don’t produce if they’re on.
Eric Staal – Ended up being a +1 in scoring chances thanks to being double shifted against Pittsburgh but he had three points and was a key part of that first line. I’m convinced that he’s regaining his form.
Jamie McBain – Played in one game but he scored two goals. Let’s never scratched him again, please.
Brian Boucher – Still in search of his first win, Boosh played well enough to get a quality start against Pittsburgh stopping 37 out of 40 shots. That’s a good enough performance for me with how the goaltending’s been lately.
Tomas Kaberle – -6 ins coring chances, -9 in corsi, recorded no points and was on ice for two opposing goals and zero of Carolina’s. I haven’t “jumped ship” on him, per se. I just can’t keep defending someone who is playing horrible.
Andreas Nodl – I know that he needs time to learn the system and yadda yadda but Nodl still hasn’t been on ice for a Carolina scoring chance yet. C’mon son.
Chad LaRose – What happened to him this week? He failed to get on the scoresheet at all, was -9 in chances (worst on the team) and wasn’t even on ice for a Carolina goal. After being so consistent for the entire season, this was really disappointing to see from him.
Bryan Allen – Speaking of disappointing, Allen fits into that category too. He saw his minutes get cut down after being on ice for three even strength goals against the Rangers and ended the week being on ice for eight total. He only finished -1 in scoring chances but he was leading the team in PDO before this week…that’s obviously changed now.
Tim Brent – He’s with Nodl in the “I haven’t been on ice for a Carolina scoring chance” category. Wonder if that’s why he was scratched on Saturday because he hasn’t exactly been playing well at even strength.
Cam Ward – .868 save percentage for the week. Ugh.
Patrick Dwyer & Brandon Sutter: Still playing tough minutes as evidenced by the graph above and they were .500 or better in scoring chances this week. Dwyer even recorded an assist on McBain’s second powerplay tally last Saturday. Dwyer wasn’t on ice for an opposing goal either and Sutter was only on ice for one at even strength. These two didn’t score a lot but they were playing their roles effectively.
Tuomo Ruutu: Led the team in scoring chances with a +6 but couldn’t put one in the back of the net. I think he’ll have an offensive outbreak soon if he keeps this up, though.
Derek Joslin: Mixed bag but it was mostly negative after I think about it. He scored a goal but was on ice for five of the opponent’s. He had six shots on goal but was a -6 in corsi with sheltered minutes. To cap it off, he was -5 in scoring chances.
Anthony Stewart: He’s a hard worker and I love how he stood up for Skinner against the Rangers but it’s going to be hard to constantly roster a guy who is only on ice for one scoring chance a week and doesn’t do much otherwise.
Jiri Tlusty & Alexei Ponikarovsky: These two were able to drive possession well but not many of their entries into the zone resulted in scoring chances. It’s good to have guys like this on the team but I’m hoping for they can create some more dangerous chances. Tlusty did score this week, though.
Tim Gleason: -4 in scoring chances but a +14 in corsi despite facing tough competition. I’ll take it.
Justin Faulk: Played with Gleason most of the week and had a similar line to him. Was a -5 in scoring chances but even in corsi. He is really getting killed in terms of scoring chances this year, though which is why I want to see his workload decrease a little bit.
Jussi Jokinen: Recorded an assist but is still struggling to prevent chances. It’s been the same story ever since he got injured.