Carolina Hurricanes: Slavin’s 2019-20 Season Outlook


Entering his fifth NHL season, what can we expect to see from the Carolina Hurricanes number one defenseman, Jaccob Slavin?

In 2012, the Carolina Hurricanes sent forward Alexei Ponikarovsky to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for defenseman Joe Sova and a fourth round draft selection. With the Devils going all the way to the Stanley Cup finals, that pick would end up being 120st overall, just two shy from the fifth round. With that pick, the Hurricanes scouting staff did an excellent job of finding a late round gem in Jaccob Slavin.

Ever since he made his NHL debut on November 20th, 2015 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Slavin has established himself as an elite number one shut-down defenseman for the Carolina Hurricanes. Now entering his fifth professional season, what can we expect to see from the 25 year old blueliner?

In the first year of his seven year $37,100,000 contract extension, Slavin appeared in all 82 regular season games. Finishing the 2018-19 season with 31 points, 23 assists and eight goals, tying a career high, he proved once again that his impact on the ice goes far beyond his point totals.

Averaging 23:02 TOI last season, Slavin played a majority of his shifts against other team’s top lines. Whether he was paired with Brett Pesce or Dougie Hamilton, Jaccob provided stability every time he stepped foot on the ice. His consistent play and calming demeanor often resulted in head coach Rod Brind’Amour relying on him in all situations.

In 309 career games, Slavin has amassed 115 points, 23 goals and 92 assists, while being a plus 25 with 22:36 TOI. In the playoffs Jaccob saw an increase in both time on ice and production, assisting on 11 goals in 15 games with a TOI average of 26:10. These numbers, although skewed due to a small sample size, illustrate that Slavin is capable of providing more offense from the backend than what we’ve seen thus far.

Looking ahead to next season, it isn’t out of the question that we’ll see Jaccob set new career highs in goals, assists and points. With eight currently his highest single season goal total, in both 2017-18 and 2018-19, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see Slavin score 10-12 goals next season. With a current career high 29 assists and 34 points, both set back in 2016-17, we could easily see 30+ assists and around 40 points from Jaccob in 2019-20.

Although points are nice, the most important thing we’ll see from Slavin is his play in the defensive zone. There’s been numerous occasions where he has bailed out the team and saved a goal because of either his effort on the back-check or timely plays he makes with his stick.

This high level of play has slowly started to garner attention around the league, resulting in a 16th place finish in the Norris Trophy voting this past season. Just on the verge of entering his prime, it is likely that Slavin will continue to climb up the ranks of the NHL’s elite defenseman.

Should Justin Williams decide to hang up his skates, he should also be in consideration for the captaincy, or at the very least, be named a full time alternate. His maturity has been very evident since he first put on a Hurricane’s jersey and it makes sense that it has translated to his play on the ice.

With all things considered, Jaccob Slavin is undoubtedly a key piece for this franchise, both now and for the foreseeable future. Making $5,300,000 per year through the 2024-25 season his contract is among the biggest bargains around the league and will only get better as time goes on, especially with the deals given out today. The Carolina Hurricanes are certainly lucky to have him both on and off the ice.

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What are you looking to see from Slavin in 2019-20?