In the summer, Don Waddell had added pieces to an already strong Carolina Hurricanes roster. He focused on finalizing the defensive group after adding Brent Burns to the top pairing.
Closing in on the salary cap ceiling, Waddell had some internal options to compete for the bottom pairing but brought in a familiar face.
Calvin de Haan was available towards the end of the summer in large part to having a couple of down years with a bad Chicago Blackhawks team and injury concerns.
Having played in Carolina for the playoff run in 2018-19, de Haan is familiar with Rod Brind’Amour’s style of play, and the culture being built here.
A low-risk, high-reward acquisition de Haan was brought in on a 1-year deal for just $850,000.
The former New York Islanders first-round draft pick came into camp and earned a full-time role after the first handful of games.
He had briefly shared some time with a new face to Carolina in Dylan Coghlan.
Coghlan came from playing with the Las Vegas Golden Knights and had a phenomenal pre-season performance. Unfortunately for Coghlan, his play did not translate into the regular season and De Haan was steady.
Despite the constant injuries, de Haan was extremely reliable when healthy.
Nothing changed as the start of this season has been a healthy and productive one for the 31-year-old defenseman.
de Haan is not asked to play a lot of minutes, but he has been able to provide stability for his fellow defense partner, Jalen Chatfield.
Chatfield has had the opportunity to get comfortable in the NHL and grow each game.
de Haan is a strong skater that can make the first pass out of the defensive zone. His mobility has allowed him to jump into the play and create scoring chances.
With some defensive depth in the system between Coghlan and Maxime Lajoie, de Haan will have the luxury of taking a night off to maintain his health.
The continued success of de Haan and Chatfield will allow Waddell to focus on other needs at the trade deadline.