The expectation to start the season for the Hurricane’s defensive group was to have a strong top four with the acquisition of Brent Burns to pair with Jaccob Slavin. Brady Skjei and Brett Pesce make up the remaining top-four pairing.
The bottom defensive pairing has mixed and matched to start the season, with some viable options available.
Thus far, the constant starter has been Jalen Chatfield.
The right-handed defenseman played just 13 games for the Hurricanes last season but has improved his game. At 26 years of age, Chatfield does not shy away from physical play and has a sneaky shot.
The play of Dylan Coghlan and Calvin De Haan has caused competition.
Coghlan had a nice stint in Vegas but comes with concerns. His right-handed shot from the point is solid and could be useful on the second power-play unit at times.
The natural spot for him is being held by Chatfield right now. It is a good depth addition in case of injury, but his play has not proven to be starting caliber.
The lack of speed, combined with poor decision making has been the worry thus far.
One of these inefficiencies is tough to overcome, but to have two of them will cause a great amount of odd-man rushes for the opposition. Florida’s game last night was a perfect example.
The depth he provides will be important as the season goes along, especially with the lack of experience from Chatfield and the injury history of De Haan.
Calvin De Haan
The former New York Islanders first-round pick found his way back to Carolina after playing in Chicago last season.
Throughout his career, De Haan has been a reliable defenseman when he is healthy, but health has always been a big question.
The way this roster is constructed, De Haan is the right choice to play on the bottom pairing with Chatfield.
De Haan can still skate and provide a calming presence for Chatfield to evolve into the player everyone expects.
The amount of ice time that De Haan will see will certainly help limit the risk of injury while maximizing his production. His skill set allows some versatility in case the special teams struggle.
It is no doubt that the Hurricanes can look to improve the quality of depth on the bottom pairing at the deadline, but for now, this should be just fine.