5 Things the Carolina Hurricanes Should be Thankful For

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Riley Nash

Nov 16, 2014; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes forward Riley Nash (20) skates with the puck against the San Jose Sharks at PNC Arena. The San Jose Sharks defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps being Carolina’s best all-around player this year, Riley Nash has been putting up a career season in the red and white.

Nash leads the club in assists (11) and points (15) through 20 games in a far advanced role compared to last year.

The Jordan Staal injury left a massive hole in the middle of the lineup that was, ultimately, left up for grabs. Riley Nash stepped in and played better than anyone could have possibly expected and has seen his average ice time go from 12:40 to 18:07 from last year to this year.

He has been a far-above average second line center for the Hurricanes since the beginning of the year, while being a main fixture both on the powerplay and penalty kill.

Nash has centered Carolina’s best forward line in November with Nathan Gerbe and Elias Lindholm to his left and right.

Riley Nash is a player that gives 100% every shift, and his willingness to get to the dirty areas of the ice has helped him put up points at such a high rate. He is on pace to tally 62 points this season. Coming anywhere close to that would be a big step in Nash’s career.