Stefan Noesen may have found a home in Carolina this season. Last year Noesen proved to the organization that he should have a shot in the NHL by leading the Chicago Wolves to a Calder Cup championship with 48 goals.
Even after the Hurricanes signed the right winger to a two-year league-minimum contract, it seemed doubtful he would make it out of training camp. The team added Ondrej Kase, Paul Stastny, and Max Pacioretty to the forward group and had very few departures. But even with little room on the roster, Noesen earned his spot on the team.
The 29-year-old is playing on his sixth NHL team in the past nine years but this year is different than those of the past.
In a Rod Brind’Amour system that fits Noesen so well, he is putting up career numbers.
In 41 games played, he has 8 goals and 13 assists, with 6 of his goals being on the power play. He is on pace to blow past his career high of 27 points from the 2017-18 season thanks to his contributions on the power-play.
Noesen has been playing on the first power-play unit for the majority of the season and currently leads the team in goals on the man advantage.
Unfortunately for Noesen, it looks like Max Pacioretty will take his spot on the first unit.
Although this is a downgrade, I think Stefan can provide a spark to a struggling second unit that hasn’t been producing.
He is a gritty and intense player with a touch around the net. The Plano, Texas native is very versatile and although he is a bottom-six forward, he can be moved up and down the lineup if needed.
The former 21st overall draft pick has cemented his place on this team and has been one of the biggest and most underrated additions for this team.
Midseason Grade: A-