As we approach the holiday season, the Carolina Hurricanes have settled into the first part of the season at 10-5-4 with 24 points.
They find themselves tied with the New York Islanders for second place behind the red-hot New Jersey Devils.
The Hurricanes are lucky in the sense that they have a lot of returning faces and have extensive knowledge of the players other than newcomer Brent Burns.
Another new face to the squad was free agent forward, Paul Stastny. The veteran signed late after having a 21-goal campaign with the Winnipeg Jets last season.
The sixteen-year veteran was not brought to Carolina to play a top-line role, but he was an affordable option to sure up the bottom forward lines.
Despite a minimal role with the Hurricanes, Stastny still brought some punch offensively. For the better portion of the last nine years, Stastny has been able to produce around 40 points.
Having a strong defensive game, the former second-round pick’s offense is the icing on the cake.
Still, the way the Hurricane’s offense has had inconsistencies, Stastny needs to provide in all areas of the game.
After being a healthy scratch, it is evident that Stastny has not transitioned well to Brind’Amour’s expectations.
In 18 games played this season, Stastny has yet to score a goal and has just 4 assists. Additionally, he has a -2 and committed 12 penalty minutes.
Carrying a $1.5 million cap hit, Stastny’s cap space would be valuable as they await the return of Max Pacioretty from injury.
With the unfortunate injury to Teuvo Teravainen, Stastny has had a guaranteed spot on the fourth line every night. Will that change when Teravainen is healthy?
Once Teravainen is healthy, Stastny will need to outplay the other forwards and it appears that Jack Drury has earned a spot on the NHL roster for the remainder of the season.
If anything, Drury deserves a chance at more opportunities and has brought more to his shifts.
This could be an opportunity for a player in the AHL to step up and take hold of a depth spot. The Wolves have had solid play from the likes of Jamieson Rees and Josh Melnick.
Both players are playing close to a point-per-game pace to start the season.
Do not be surprised to see Stastny hit waivers if his production continues. A player the likes of a Derek Stepan can provide similar production with a minimally less cap hit.