When it comes to Hurricanes defenseman, you usually hear the names of Jaccob Slavin or Brent Burns, but one guy that has settled down and found a home on the third pairing is Jalen Chatfield.
The 26-year-old has 5 goals, 4 assists, and a +12 rating in 49 games played this season.
During training camp, the third-line defensive pairing was up in the air with Ethan Bear, Calvin De Haan, Dylan Coghlan, and Chatfield all fighting for two spots.
Chatfield would come out on top of the other three players and find himself never out of the mix.
The Michigan native had always been appraised for his abilities on defense and his tenacious play over the past two seasons, but abruptly has added a new side to his game.
Chatfield has seemed to find the offensive side of his game since scoring his first NHL goal on Dec. 22 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Chatfield ripped a slapshot from the blue line to beat Tristan Jarry on the glove side for his first career NHL goal.
With three goals and three assists in his last eight games, the offensive spark Chatfield has been able to provide is nice to have on the blue line. Although he won’t be able to keep up the goal-scoring at this rate, one thing about his game that has been consistent is his ability to skate.
Chatfield flies around the ice and if caught in a situation where he turns the puck over he can quickly get back and close the gap on opponents.
Chatfield has found himself playing alongside Brent Burns while Jacob Slavin is out and is taking advantage of the opportunity. Chatfield had an assist and finished +4 alongside Burns in a 5-2 win against the Islanders on Jan. 21.
Jalen Chatfield has done everything the team has asked of him and more. Whether it’s jumping up in the rush, rushing back to defend the fast break, or making a play on the puck, “Chat-mandu”, as Hurricanes analyst Tripp Tracy says, is having a breakout season at the right time.
Mid Season Grade: A-