Scoring was a problem last year for the Carolina Hurricanes and the defense certainly did not help in that regard. The 12 defensemen that dressed for the Canes last year, totaled only 80 points and that was with a more mobile, offensive blue line.
It looked like the problem would arise again this season when the team learned Joni Pitkanen would be out for the season, but instead the defense has made a big contribution to the offense with the seven defensemen that have played this year recording 14 total points, or about 18 percent of the total from the 2012-13 season in only seven games.
The defense has helped the Canes instill depth scoring that just wasn’t there last year and the d-men have also scored some big goals themselves.
Last night, Ron Hainsey scored the tying goal against the Blackhawks that would later force overtime and earn the team a point against the defending champs.
And Jay Harrison scored a goal against the Flyers that would help the Hurricanes beat a team that had their number in previous seasons by a score of 2-1.
But, if there’s one problem the defense has had in the offensive zone, it’s scoring goals. Harrison and Hainsey are the only two to have scored goals on the blue-line.
Possessing an offensive threat on the back end is crucial in the NHL today. The Blackhawks, who won the Stanley Cup last year, have Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Nick Leddy, who all can score on defense.
Hopefully for the Canes, Faulk, Sekera and Murphy can turn into those type of offensive, yet responsible in their own zone, defensemen over the next few seasons.
If the Hurricanes continue to get contribution from the defense, scoring will become easier and improve the team’s chances of making the playoffs down the road.