The Carolina Hurricanes’ Defense is a Budding Juggernaut

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Carolina Hurricanes defensemen Jaccob Slavin and Dougie Hamilton

RALEIGH, NC – APRIL 15: Jaccob Slavin #74 of the Carolina Hurricanes chats with teammate Dougie Hamilton #19 before a faceoff in Game Three of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Washington Capitals during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 15, 2019 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Top Pairing

Note: stats are currently through 10/11 game versus the Islanders.

*Denotes team leader

Jaccob Slavin

  • ATOI: 22:44
  • Goals: 2
  • Assists: 2
  • Points: 4
  • +/-: 2
  • Blocked Shots: 12
  • Hits: 10

Dougie Hamilton

  • ATOI: 23:05*
  • Goals: 3
  • Assists: 4
  • Points: 7
  • +/-: 5
  • Blocked Shots: 8
  • Hits: 2

Jaccob Slavin is continuing his ascent as an elite defenseman.  Early on, he ranks second on the team in blocked shots and is tied for second in hits.  Slavin has also continued to build on the offensive aspect of his game, adding timely goal-scoring while maintaining his high level of defensive awareness.

A great example of this was seen against New York when he pinned an Islander forward against the boards.  Slavin read the offensive player’s positioning and used his left skate to prevent the forward from getting the puck to a teammate.  Instead, the Carolina Hurricanes were able to clear the puck and diffuse the attack before it could get started.

The best display of his offense came in overtime against Tampa Bay.  Slavin, lingering at center ice, jumped in on a 2-on-1 with Jordan Staal before one-timing a terrific pass from the captain past Curtis McElhinney, giving the Hurricanes their third win of the season.

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The 2018-19 season started slowly for Dougie Hamilton.  A lingering injury and the early adjustments to a new team kept the offensive-minded rearguard from hitting his full potential.  As the Hurricanes began their ascent in the standings, Hamilton’s play picked up dramatically, a trend that has carried into the new season.

Leading the defense with 7 points, Hamilton has shown the poise and skill befitting his first-round pick status.  Not only has he been popping in goals with regularity, but his passing and vision have contributed to the Hurricanes’ power play being rejuvenated.  He has demonstrated great patience and precision with the puck, best evidenced by the pass he made to Teuvo Teravainen against the Islanders:

The combination of Slavin and Hamilton gives the Carolina Hurricanes a top pairing with the size, speed, two-way acumen, and skill necessary to thrive in today’s NHL.  Slavin’s offensive game is blossoming, complimenting his rock-solid defensive play while Hamilton, who has always possessed an offensive gift, is ironing out the defensive deficiencies that have shown up in the past.  This pairing has the ability to be devastating, shutting down the opposition while generating chances for the Hurricanes.

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