The Carolina Hurricanes’ new first line of Svechnikov, Aho, and Teravainen has been magnificent. They should be inseparable given their production as of late.
It almost felt as if, ever since the day that Andrei Svechnikov was drafted 2nd overall by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2018, that he was destined to play alongside Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen on the Hurricanes’ top line.
The fans called for it. When the team has struggled to score, fans have practically begged for it. We’d been teased with it at times. The Canes media even pleaded for it at times. Finally, the Canes’ faithful got their wish.
After a pathetic effort in Ottawa on November 9th (that I was in attendance for, unfortunately), Rod Brind’Amour decided to shake things up. That’s when the 3 young stars – arguably the Hurricanes’ most potent offensive players – formed a line that has been absolutely on fire since they got to work.
In the 5 games since they’ve been united as the top unit, their stat lines are as follows:
Svechnikov: 3 goals, 5 assists – 8 points
Aho: 5 goals, 1 assist – 6 points
Teravainen: 2 goals, 5 assists – 7 points
They’ve combined for 10 goals scored in their 5 games together. What’s more impressive is that only 2 of those have been powerplay goals, and one was shorthanded. They’ve combined for 7 even-strength goals in 5 games, in which the Canes have, understandably, been 4-1-0.
They’ve also been outright dominant in terms of puck possession. In the 5-4 win against Buffalo, all 3 of them were above a 75% Corsi in all situations, and have been hovering around 60% or above in all 5 games, which eliminates any worries about the trio being outmatched defensively.
The question that will need to be answered for the team moving forward is if the Canes depth scorers can be effective enough to keep the team competitive if their new star line goes through a tough stretch. The early returns are good – they’ve scored 24 goals total in those 5 games, and that’s without a healthy Erik Haula.
As it currently stands, all 3 of them are on pace to set career bests in points categories and could build on that further if they remain together. Andrei Svechnikov’s 24 points currently have him Top-15 in NHL scoring. Aho is on pace to score over 40 goals – which would shatter his career best of 30, and Teuvo is on pace to set his career high in points.
Having a star line has become more of a common occurence around the NHL. The Bruins trio of Marchand–Bergeron–Pastrnak has been an unstoppable force, and same with Rantanen–MacKinnon–Landeskog in Colorado. The Hurricanes could join that trend with a superstar trio of their own, and this group fits the description.
The results for those teams has been pretty good to say the least.
A Svech-Aho-Teuvo power line also gives Brind’Amour freedom to exploit matchups. If he decides to put a shutdown center like Jordan Staal against the opponent’s top line, it opens the possibility for the Aho trio to play against inferior competition which is, obviously, very favourable for the Carolina Hurricanes.
Hilariously, the line even showed some grit and an apparent knack to get under their opponent’s skin this week. Against Chicago on Tuesday, Aho drilled Patrick Kane with a cross-check that sent Kane into the wall in a heap. When Kane retaliated, Teravainen jumped in to his countryman’s defense.
Kane was ejected from the game, while the Hurricanes sealed the win with an empty-netter. Kane was furious with Aho when talking to the media after the game. “I don’t like that play,” Kane said of the hit, and insinuated he was hit from behind unexpectedly.
I’m sure the Carolina Hurricanes aren’t dependent on Aho and that line engaging physically like that on a regular basis, but any contribution aside from their goal-scoring ability is a welcome sight for the team. When you consider that this team has Stanley Cup aspirations, they could use the extra help any way they can get it.
So with the recent results speaking for themselves, I find very little reason the Canes would have to separate their new super line. They’ve been effective in all aspects of the game, and their impact has been critical in the Hurricanes recent form (4 wins in their last 5).
Now, the only thing left is to give these guys a nickname. What’s your vote?