Oct 24, 2013; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Carolina Hurricanes forward Nathan Gerbe (14) against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Hurricanes 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Hurricanes 2013-14 Grades: Bottom Six

Feb 25, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; Carolina Hurricanes center Manny Malhotra (22) waits for the face-off against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

This is the first in a four-part series grading the Carolina Hurricanes players and there 2013-14 seasons. Today we’ll grade the Hurricanes’ bottom six players. There will be seven graded in total.

Drayson Bowman
Stats: 70GP – 4g – 8a – 12p
Grade: C-

Bowman finally stayed a full season with the Hurricanes and nailed down a roster spot on the fourth line this season, but beyond that, there’s not too much to point out as a success. He played fine defensively and had a few games where he jumped to the top line, but he wasn’t a bottom-six scorer the team needed. Bowman wasn’t a liability, but he wasn’t a stand-out either.

Radek Dvorak
Stats: 60GP – 4g – 5a – 9p
Grade: C

Brought in as a training camp invite, Dvorak was signed to be a veteran presence in the bottom six, but didn’t do too much more. He looked good at the start of the season, but slowed down and was a healthy scratch often. However, he wasn’t expected to do too much, garnering the ‘C’ average grade. Dvorak said he may consider another season, but the Hurricanes shouldn’t be interested.

Patrick Dwyer
Stats: 75GP – 8g – 14a – 22p
Grade: B-

Dwyer actually played most of the season on the second line, where he doesn’t belong. Unfortunately, this is the second year in a row where that has happened. But he did show more offense than has been evident in the past. If he’s used in the right role, he can be a big asset to the bottom six, but right now he’s just a cog in the mix that had the best season of his career so far.

Nathan Gerbe
Stats: 81GP – 16g – 15a – 31p
Grade: B+

After being bought out by the Buffalo Sabes, Gerbe was brought in at the league minimum and I didn’t even expect him to make the roster. Instead, he had a great season and has made his mark as an NHLer again. I didn’t give him an ‘A’ grade because there were stretches where he would disappear, which I understand may be a little rough. However, Gerbe was the best bang-for-buck player on the team.

Elias Lindholm
Stats: 58GP – 9g – 12a – 21p
Grade: C+

Lindholm came in amid plenty of excitement after being drafted with the fifth overall pick. He didn’t adjust that easily and spent time with the Checkers and played for Sweden at the World Juniors, but the promise he showed at the end of the season, earns him a higher grade than what could have been. Don’t fret Canes fans, Lindholm will be a good one.

Manny Malhotra
Stats: 69GP – 7g – 6a – 13p
Grade: B-

Perhaps the feel-good story of the year, Malhotra earned a spot after playing about a month with the Checkers and brought a face-off and penalty kill presence to the team that wasn’t matched by anybody. However, like Dwyer, when he was playing on the third line, it was too much responsibility. I’m not going to say Malhotra should be back next season, but he’ll always have a soft spot in my heart.

Riley Nash
Stats: 73GP – 10g – 14a – 24p
Grade: C+

This was a tough season for Nash, who lost his regular spot to Malhotra and played different positions all season. He didn’t show much of anything besides a defensive presence until the end of the season when he was put on the powerplay. Him and Andrei Loktionov had some great chemistry and Nash should be proud of the season he had in a trying year.

Next up is the top six forwards, which will be posted on Friday.

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Tags: Carolina Hurricanes Nathan Gerbe Patrick Dwyer

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