The Hurricanes Should Never use Eleven Forwards and Seven Defensemen Again

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 05: Head Coach of the Carolina Hurricanes Rod Brind'Amour watches a play develop on the ice against the Philadelphia Flyers in the first period on November 5, 2019 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 05: Head Coach of the Carolina Hurricanes Rod Brind'Amour watches a play develop on the ice against the Philadelphia Flyers in the first period on November 5, 2019 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Carolina Hurricanes, down another forward again, went into another game with only eleven forwards and seven defenders. Once again it was a mistake.

The Carolina Hurricanes need to figure out what they are going to do about their offense. They have the talent, they have the speed, and they have the coaching. What they do not have is the numbers. So recently they have been opting to go with only 11 forwards whenever another forward needs to step back from the roster due to injuries.

Early in the season Jordan Martinook needed surgery on an ab muscle that has taken him out of commission for several weeks. After they initially called up first Julien Gauthier then Brian Gibbons for two games each, the Hurricanes decided to roll with eleven forwards and seven defenders with the return of Trevor van Riemsdyk to the roster off of Injury Reserve.

The results left a lot to be desired. The game in Anaheim against the Ducks was a loss of 4-2. While Haydn Fleury got his first NHL goal in that game, the rest of the offense felt lackluster. The next game in Columbus against the Blue Jackets had a bit more offense to it, but they still couldn’t muster goals when they needed it falling 4-3 in overtime.

Compare that to both the previous four games that featured Gauthier and Gibbons. The Hurricanes went 2-2-0 with a shutout during that time, but never felt like they couldn’t score. The four games after that with gibbons a mainstay on the fourth line went better with a 3-1-0 record and yet another shutout. Even the loss to the Devils felt more on puck luck than scoring ability.

When Erik Haula was too hurt to travel with the team to Philadelphia last night, they once again refused to call up another forward and opted to go with seven defenders. The results this time were even worse falling to the Flyers 4-1.

Takeaways from loss to Flyers. light. Related Story

The Hurricanes are now 0-2-1 when going with the extra defender, compared to 9-3-0 when going with a full contingent of forwards. The reasoning behind it isn’t complicated. Even with the full contingent of 12 forwards the Carolina Hurricanes are still one good player away from being a true competitive team on offense. Take one away and you are left with an offensively handicapped roster.

Right now Warren Foegele is currently playing on the first line (or second line depending on who you ask) with Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov. No offense to Foegele, but he simply isn’t a top six player. The Hurricanes are missing that ingredient to their offense. Taking away another player on the forward line to double slot another is not a solution of any real type.

Now before you try to place any blame on Rod Brind’Amour, understand that he can only create a roster of the players he currently has. Right now he only has eleven healthy forwards and seven defenders. Perhaps its time to start carrying an extra forward? Or maybe its time to at the very least recall a player from Charlotte as an emergency recall. That is on Don Waddell.

Now I understand that there is hesitation when it comes to calling up a player from Charlotte on an emergency recall compared to just playing the guy you have right there on the bench. But the rules exist for a reason and need to be used for exactly this situation.  Article 13 Sections 5 and 12 of the CBA is very clear on this matter:

"13.5 Waiver Expiration. The rights granted under this Article to Loan a Player(s) who is otherwise required to clear Regular Waivers to a minor league club expire for any Player(s) who, after clearing Regular Waivers:(i) is not Loaned to a minor league club, or is Recalled from a minor league club (except on emergency Recall) and remains on an NHL roster for thirty (30) days (cumulative) or plays ten (10) NHL Games (cumulative),or(ii) is Recalled from a minor league club on emergency Recall and plays in ten (10) NHL Games (cumulative) while on emergency Recall. For purposes of clarity, games played while on regular Recall shall not count towards the ten (10) NHL Games in this subsection (ii).13.12 Transfers To/From Minors.(m) Emergency Recall.(i) A Player on Loan to a club of any league affiliated with the League may be Recalled from such Loan under emergency conditions at any time for the duration of the emergency only following which he must be returned promptly to the club from which he was Recalled.(ii) Emergency conditions shall be established when the playing strength of the Loaning Club, by reason of incapacitating injury or illness or by League suspension to its Players is reduced below the level of two (2) goalkeepers, six (6) defensemen and twelve (12) forwards. Proof of the existence of the emergency conditions including the incapacity shall be furnished to the Commissioner of the League upon request made by him.(iii) For the purpose of establishing the existence of emergency conditions at any time, to support the Recall of a Player for participation in any Playoff Game, it shall be deemed that the Player(s) on Loan following 3:00 p.m. New York time of the fortieth (40th) day immediately preceding the last day of the Regular Season are continuing on Loan for the remainder of the season notwithstanding that the Loaned club(s) may have been eliminated from further play for the season."

Why Don Waddell would not take advantage of this and at the least call up Julien Gauthier is beyond me. The man has proven before that there is method behind his madness. But even he cannot argue the results. Something needs to change.

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Perhaps the answer lies in a trade. We have already mentioned more than a few trade possibilities for this team. Would they send a defender the other way? Who would it be? Van Riemsdyk will be a UFA this summer, should he be moved? What about Joel Edmundson who will also be a UFS as well? Perhaps its time to call Justin Williams and tell him to put on his supersuit?

Whatever the answer is, it needs to happen soon. The one thing that I am more than certain of is this: if the Carolina Hurricanes want to be competitive this year and keep up with the winning ways of their Metro Division rivals, they should never go with eleven forwards and seven defenders ever again.

Question for CC Readers: How should the Carolina Hurricanes solve their 11/7 problem?

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