With all-star defenceman Dougie Hamilton out indefinitely due to injury, it’s time for the rest of the Carolina Hurricanes to pick up the slack But who in particular needs to step up their game?
The Carolina Hurricanes lost their all star top defenceman, Dougie Hamilton, back on January 16th. Following a missed call that should’ve been on Columbus for too many men on the ice, Dougie got tangled up with Kevin Stenlund and fell awkwardly on his left leg and didn’t return.
It was later revealed by the Hurricanes that he had fractured his left fibula. This is a similar injury to one that Jordan Staal suffered in 2014 that caused him to miss half the season.
Now with Dougie out, that leaves a massive hole in the Hurricanes. He wasn’t selected to represent the Carolina Hurricanes at the All Star game for no reason. Hamilton is an extremely dynamic player that is able to produce on the offensive and defensive sides of the ice. As well as on the power play and the penalty kill.
It’d be easy to say that the entire team needs to step up their game to make up for his absence. And you’d be right in saying that. Hockey is a team sport and everyone needs to pull their weight. But let’s not just leave it at that.
To be frank, one of the first things to come to mind for me is the entire offense. Almost everyone on that side is not producing the way they should. In particular Nino Niederreiter and Ryan Dzingel. These guys are in a slump and that happens to everyone from time to time I get that.
If the guy has hot hands then give him the puck, but the team may have been relying on Dougie too much to produce offensively. And you can’t rely on your defense to produce offensively all the time. And now that Dougie is out, that is coming to the forefront.
Goaltending has also been a major point of contention this season for the Hurricanes to put it lightly. As of late, the one everyone was calling to be traded, James Riemer, has been the one making more saves between the pipes so that’s good that he’s playing well.
But he along with Petr Mrazek, have been inconsistent through the first half of the season, They both may be really hot for a few games and be a couple of brick walls. See them having back to back shutouts earlier in the month for proof of that. But then they’ll cool off and give up easy goals and make stupid mistakes. They both need to lock it down so the team doesn’t have to dig themselves out of holes early and late in games.
Now the Hurricanes defense has been solid. But still, some work on the bottom needs to be done. Jake Gardiner, though he’s been good in the past few games, has made some costly mistakes and needs to find his game. Same with Trevor van Reimsdyk. He just has not been the same player since he came back from his shoulder injury. And I get that it’s hard to come back from injuries, I’ve been there, but now that Dougie is out and can’t pick up the slack they need to step up.
Any and all shortcomings that were being masked by Dougie Hamilton are going to be front and center now. The Carolina Hurricanes need to lock down their game soon. Mistakes will be made, everyone makes them. But those careless mistakes need to be minimized. I trust that they will do what they need to do to ensure their continued success.
Question for CC readers: Who do you feel needs to step up now that Dougie is out?