The Carolina Hurricanes have had the best start through six games in franchise history so far this season with a record of 5-1-0. How have the “New Guys” contributed to such a successful start?
Don Waddell seems to have made some more magical moves for the Carolina Hurricanes over the summer. This past offseason, Waddell acquired forwards Erik Haula and Ryan Dzingel and Defenseman Jake Gardiner all through free agency.
Defender Joel Edmunson and Goalie James Reimer were both brought in through separate trades. Top Canes prospect Martin Necas was also brought up to the NHL squad through the first 6 games.
With all the new faces, the Canes are currently tied for first place in the entire league and have beat quality opponents during their winning streak. So the question remains, how much of the success so far can be attributed to the new players?
Let’s take a look.
Erik Haula has been an amazing get for the Carolina Hurricanes. In just 6 games, Haula has scored 5 goals including 2 power play goals. Haula’s 2 power play goals leads the team through 6 games. Haula has seemed to help the Canes revamp the power play and they now rank 6th in the NHL in power play goals so far this season.
To put the power play unit in comparison to last year, the Canes ranked just 19th in goals scored with 44 goals and a 17.8 % success rate. I know it has just been 6 games however, Haula has seemed to bring new life to the Canes power play and has provided the Canes a new and reliable scoring option.
Not only has Haula been scoring often, he is also doing it at an extremely effective rate. Haula has converted 27.8% of his goals, which also leads the team.
One of Haula’s 5 goals can be seen below:
Ryan Dzingel has been another player for the Canes that has played exceptionally well. Dzingel has had 2 goals and 3 assists through 5 games. One of Ryans goals was a power play goal and the other was a game winner.
Dzingel has also played extremely well with fellow free agent signing Erik Haula. Both players have proved to be a competent Power Play 1, scoring 3 goals between the two on the power play. Dzingel and Haula also play with tremendous speed which is evident every time the two step on the ice.
If Dzingel and Haula can keep up their chemistry and goal scoring, expect the Canes to remain as one of the top teams in the league.
I think forward Martin Necas has surprised a lot of people on his play. Necas didn’t have a spectacular preseason, however he’s 7th on the team with 4 points (1 Goal and 3 Assists) so far.
The former 12th overall pick has picked up where he left off last season. Necas produced 52 points last season with 16 goals and 36 assists while also adding 13 points during the Checkers Calder cup playoff run. If Necas can remain consistent on what has been a deadly line of Haula, Dzingel and Necas himself, then expect the young Czech forward’s stellar play to continue.
The Jake Gardiner signing turned a lot of heads this summer. With the Canes already having a stacked blue line, many wondered why the organization would sign yet another defenseman. That question was answered quickly when Justin Faulk was traded away to the Blues.
With Justin Faulk being traded, that enabled Gardiner, an offensive defenseman to shine. In six games with the Canes, Gardiner has produced 2 points (one heck of an overtime winning goal and 1 assist). Gardiner’s overtime winning goal can be seen below:
Gardiner has been a steady presence for the Canes so far and will likely get shifted to the second defensive pairing once he’s fully healthy. Just 2 seasons ago, Gardiner produced 52 points for the Maple leafs and something tells me we can expect another season of big production from number 57.
When the Canes first traded Justin Faulk for Joel Edmunson and Dominik Bokk, I was a little bit skeptical that the Canes didn’t get enough in return for such a highly touted player in Faulk but boy was I wrong. Edmunson is the type of tough and gritty player that the Canes desperately needed.
Not only does Edmunson hit the opponent (second on the team in hits with 11) but he also sacrifices his body to block shots as he is second on the team in blocked shots with 13. Edmunson is a big guy that has paired really well with fellow defensive defenseman Brett Pesce. Edmunson has helped the Canes form a formidable second defenseman line that seemingly shuts down the opponents.
Edmunson has also been tremendous on the penalty kill, however the rest of the Canes are going to need to help him. Through 6 games, the Canes have the most penalties in the NHL with 27 and have allowed 6 goals. If the penalty kill is going to get any better, the Canes are going to have to stay out of the penalty box and get Edmunson some help on the penalty kill as he can’t do it all by himself.
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I think James Reimer was an excellent addition to the goalie group this summer. In Reimer’s 3 starts he’s had a .933 save percentage to go along with a 2.65 goals against average and a 2-1 record. Reimer has already faced 119 shots, and the fact that he has only let in 8 goals is amazing.
The Canes arguably have one of the best blue lines in the league but having Reimer back in net should give the Canes all the confidence in the world. Reimer has already made some spectacular saves and continues to put me in awe each game I have watched him play.
Ultimately the moves made this offseason by Don Waddell look to be paying off as each new player has played big roles in the Canes success so far. The Canes return to action tomorrow night against the Los Angels Kings at 10:30 EST so be sure to check in to see the new guys!
CC Readers: Who do you think has made the greatest impact for the Canes out of all the new players?