Dougie Hamilton and Sebastian Aho
What a difference a year makes. Dougie Hamilton got off to a bit of a slow start in his first season with the Carolina Hurricanes. Through the first 30 games of the 2018-19 season, Hamilton’s stat line was nothing to write home about: 3 goals and 7 assists for 10 points.
We learned that an injury slowed him and he did pick up the pace, adding 29 points over the remaining 52 games and carrying that into the playoffs. This season has seen Hamilton nearly triple his output compared to the same stretch last season, firmly entrenching him as a key offensive weapon for the Hurricanes.
Already boasting two separate 6 game point streaks, Hamilton has scored in all but 10 of Carolina’s games so far (I’m sensing a pattern here). Point of fact: through 30 games, Hamilton has as many power-play points as he had total points a year ago. No, that’s not a typo, I promise you.
Fresh off of a 3 goal, 5 point performance against the Minnesota Wild, it’s easy to forget that Sebastian Aho notched just 4 points in his first 10 games this season. Since then he’s picked up 23 points in 20 games, including 7 multi-point games.
It’s also easy to overlook the fact that Aho is currently just 2 points behind last season’s pace. Visibly frustrated near the end of a 2-0 loss to the Boston Bruins, Aho expects more of himself, probably more than anyone else. Thankfully, the young Finn has been able to channel that discontent and looks to be heating up as 2019 draws towards its close.
At first blush, a 9 point drop seems a little upsetting. Two things make this stand out more: Aho’s consistent year-over-year improvement and his importance to the success of the team. That said, if the Hurricanes find more consistency, I believe Aho’s numbers will continue to improve. Plus, with his spot in the offensive hierarchy and his sheer skill, assists will come.
Now, let’s take a look at the two players tied for the fifth-leading scorer spot.