Carolina Hurricanes: How can we get Warren Foegele going?

RALEIGH, NC - OCTOBER 09: Carolina Hurricanes Left Wing Warren Foegele (13) skates after a puck during a game between the Vancouver Canucks and the Carolina Hurricanes at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC on October 9, 2018. Carolina defeated Vancouver 5 - 3. (Photo by Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC - OCTOBER 09: Carolina Hurricanes Left Wing Warren Foegele (13) skates after a puck during a game between the Vancouver Canucks and the Carolina Hurricanes at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC on October 9, 2018. Carolina defeated Vancouver 5 - 3. (Photo by Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

After a blistering start to the season, Warren Foegele has struggled to produce the offense that he threatened to in the early going. Here, we take a look at why he’s struggling, and how we can get him back to his scoring best.

Warren Foegele has long been touted as a potential scorer in the NHL. Described by various media outlets as a power forward, a playmaker and a scoring grinder, he came into this season fresh off a very successful 2017/18 campaign in which he posted two goals and an assist in three games with the Carolina Hurricanes, and 28-18-46 with the Charlotte Checkers in the AHL.

Foegele opened the season on fire, like the rest of the team. He scored five points in the team’s first seven games, including two goals and an assist in the 8-5 win over the New York Rangers. He was a regular feature in the team’s top six and was garnering good coverage across the league while appearing set for bigger and better things. Sadly, he has now gone an incredible 19 games without a point; he is a minus 9 in that time, has taken just 25 shots, and played a season-low 8:41 in last night’s loss in Los Angeles.

How can we get Warren Foegele back to his scoring best?

Why was he so effective to begin the season?

Believe it or not, but Foegele managed to put up those early season numbers while playing alongside Justin Williams and Jordan Staal. In 78 games between them this season, the trio has scored a total of 12 goals. Those kind of numbers show how badly the season has gone for all three players. But while both Williams and Staal average more than two and a half minutes PER GAME on the Canes’ powerplay, Foegele averages a mere 5 seconds. Two of these players have been given season-long opportunities to score, and one has not. Warren Foegele needs to be given some of that powerplay time, because neither Williams nor Staal are using it – Williams has just one powerplay goal all season, and Staal has zero. Could Warren Foegele do better than that?

Confideence is the other factor in Foegele’s early-season performance. After a brief spell in Raleigh towards the end of the 2017/18 season, he made the Carolina Hurricanes team out of camp and had the confidence of his coach, a team winning games, and that previous experience to call on. However, almost as soon as the goals stopped coming, he was demoted. Compared to other struggling players on this team, he was given an exceptionally raw deal.

His three goals this season saw him put a bullet of a shot past Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom from the right circle, then score twice against Alexander Georgiev with two shots from in tight. All three were from Justin Williams feeds.

How is it justifiable that he’s now getting less than 10 minutes of ice time, mainly on the Canes’ plodding fourth line? Considering how difficult the rest of the team is finding scoring? Let’s not forget, this is how Warren Foegele started his Canes career:

Why has he stopped scoring?

The shootout win over San Jose on Oct 26 saw Foegele record his season-high TOI, 20:56, which marked his third consecutive scoreless game. Since then, Rod Brind’Amour has demoted him to secure offense from elsewhere in the lineup, and has recently been using Foegele on the PK, with some degree of success. But Warren Foegele is meant to be a scorer, and few of those are able to score goals while playing 1:43 per game on the PK.

A key factor behind Foegele’s lack of scoring has been his shooting. He took 19 shots over the first six games of the season, but has taken only 25 in 19 games since. With his ice-time decreasing, his quality of linemate decreasing, and most importantly his confidence falling off a cliff, it’s clear that he isn’t going to see an immediate spark. If he’s going to break this astonishing funk, he’s going to have to grind it out and perhaps say a few prayers to whoever the patron saint of lucky puck bounces is.

What options are there?

There are two solutions: move him up into the top six, or send him down to Charlotte to boost his confidence. This is a guy who scored 30 goals across the NHL and AHL last season. He is still young at 22, and has been a proven and consistent scorer throughout his career. He needs a re-evaluation of where he is right now, and where the Canes want him to be. He can’t score the goals we know he can if he’s stuck playing the PK and getting less than 10 minutes a night.

When I first started drafting this piece, twelve games ago, I wrote that the last thing Foegele needs is to be demoted to the Checkers, as his development reached its height in Charlotte last season and he can achieve no more in the AHL. Since then, he’s gone on to set that very unwanted 19-game pointless streak, and his confidence really does appear to be shattered. It may well be that while his overall development ought to continue in the NHL, as he has the skillset to be a very good player in this league, he would be better served at this time by being sent down to Charlotte to regain his scoring touch.

That’s all Warren Foegele really needs. A touch of confidence, a dash of luck, and a fortuitous bounce here or there. With either a spell in the Canes’ top six or in Charlotte to get his offensive juices flowing, we’ll soon see him back to his very best. He’s a big part of this team’s future, and the Canes should do what’s best for the player and the team.

A confident Warren Foegele would be a huge boost to this team and let’s face it – this Carolina Hurricanes team is struggling to score goals, and it has a known goal scorer stuck on its fourth line. It’s time to give him the opportunity he needs.

The solution

Let’s see a top six of Teravainen-Aho-Ferland / Foegele-Rask-Svechnikov. Put Staal at 3C with Martinook and Williams and let Lucas Wallmark carry McGinn and PDG. Mix up the PP and give Warren Foegele his chance. There’s never been a better time.

Next. The case for acquiring Wayne Simmonds. dark

Question for CC readers:

How would YOU get Warren Foegele going again?