Jesper exploding early
Before this season, I specifically did a piece on Jesper Fast and how the team will need more from the projected third-line winger. I did not expect to be a week into the season with the Swede on a goal per game pace. That was more than I could ever have imagined. Obviously, it’s only two games and it’s very unlikely to be sustainable, but it’s certainly a welcome source of goals the Canes didn’t have before.
Fast has goals in each of the first two games this season. We will see if this is sustainable going forward, but depth goals are going to be a big part of the Canes team going forward this season. In years past, offensive depth has been one of the major downfalls of the Carolina Hurricanes. When the blueline has been good and the goaltending is solid, the depth often fails the team.
If Fast can add between 15-20 goals from the third line at even strength, that’s a major factor for the team. We know the top 6 for Carolina won’t go unrewarded for long, but if Fast can get his line to contribute when the top six are struggling, they were in this game against the Predators, then we’re going to see a very strong team when the Stanley Cup Playoffs roll around.
Fast’s role within the depth of the Hurricanes is such a vital position. If he can get to 40 points, he gives another scoring option and the third line would become a factor. We know how vital third lines can be in when it matters since Tampa Bay relied on their 3rd line so heavily for so long. It got them through so many hurdles, and if Carolina’s can offer some offense as Tampa’s did, it makes them so much more difficult to defeat.
We know Fast and his linemates will not be beaten defensively. Fast will also be right there giving everything on the penalty kill. We know he’s a team-first player, and he’s excellent defensively. What will be his main issue is the offensive output, but the Canes right now are able to reap the rewards of a Swedish player starting the season off strongly.