Defense wins championships and the Carolina Hurricanes certainly have played solid defense thus far in the season.
An unexpected contributor has played a key part in the stability of the blue line in the first half of the season, Calvin De Haan.
Familiar with Carolina, having played in Raleigh for the 2018-19 season, De Haan returned late in the off-season with a chance to compete for a bottom-pairing position.
Signing the former Cane to an $850,000 one-year deal was worth the risk for Don Waddell and the company.
De Haan had proven to the organization that he was a team player and at the very least would not rock the boat if playing time was an issue.
Playing time has not been an issue.
So far, the former first-round draft choice of the New York Islanders has played in 37 games for Rod Brind’Amour. Mostly playing bottom defensive pairing minutes, the Hurricanes have benefited from his veteran presence.
Paired with Jalen Chatfield, De Haan has provided some balance and stability to Chatfield’s game.
This defensive pairing has allowed Chatfield to flourish into a consistent NHL defenseman with much more potential to be seen.
This alone was worth the one-year contract.
The 11-year veteran has a goal and 8 points. Having a plus 3 rating has been impressive to start the year. Averaging 13:01 minutes on the ice per game, De Haan has helped the penalty kill as well.
The mobility and strong outlet passing from the defensive zone have allowed the Canes to transition from defense to offense smoothly.
With the success of the De Haan/Chatfield pairing, it has also allowed the big boys to rest and return to the ice without urgency.
Injuries have plagued the former Oshawa General in the past but this year his body has responded well to a lesser role.
The mid-season grade for De Haan is a B+