Between potential first-round playoff opponents (calculating the Hurricanes win the Metro Division), the New York Islanders are not in the same league when it comes to defensive scoring. Matching the Pittsburg Penguins against the Canes’ defensive lines was a little like pairing a California dime with a Pittsburg 4, someone is going to be VERY uncomfortable for 60 minutes. But the Florida Panthers defensive line match-up for the Carolina Hurricanes is perhaps the closest of them all.*
1st Carolina Defensive Line
Between Brent Burns and Jaccob Slavin, there are 27 years of experience on this line, with 1,891 games in those seasons. Suffice to say Burns and Slavin are experienced enough to handle good games of play-off hockey. They have 75 points combined on the year which is more than any current configuration that would hit the ice if the Panthers and Hurricanes hit the ice for the first round today.
1st Florida Defensive Line
Points wise, this is Florida’s second most productive line, but Gustav Forsling and Aaron Ekblad have the most goals (22) so, they start up top. In fact, this might be the most competitive defensive line the Canes might see when it comes to goal scoring. It is also the most evenly match between the skaters. Where New York and Pittsburg both lopsided lines with on player carrying the other (or both just trash), Florida has this line well paired with Forsling and Ekblad.
2nd Carolina Defensive Line
Putting Brady Skjei and Brett Pesce together, and keeping them there is one of the smarter things Rod Brind’Amour has done on a long list of smart things. Skjei and Pesce compliment each other statistically, and going with the theme of Carolina’s depth, are almost as productive as the top line of Brent Burns and Jaccob Slavin.
2nd Florida Defensive Line
Though fairly lopsided, the line of Marc Staal and Brandon Montour is the best second line the Hurricanes might see in the first round. Florida seems to be working on the Hurricanes model of getting defensemen who will score, AND getting plenty of them. This second line of Florida’s is comparable to first lines on several other teams with a combined 72 points on the season to date. If you look at it, it would be enviable for some teams as a third offensive line if we’re honest.
3rd Carolina Defensive Line
If there was every a grinding defensive line, it is that of Jalen Chatfield and Shayne Gostisbehere. Jalen Chatfield has been grinding since he was called up from the AHL Chicago Wolves. Just look at how many games it took for him to score his first goal, but since then he has been contributing to the Canes. Gostisbehere has been added just for the third line so we know he will produce.
3rd Florida Defensive Line
Of the three defensive pairings, this is the weakest, but far. Josh Mahura and Radko Gudas have just six goals between then, but as far as third lines go, this again is the most competitive of any potential match-up for the Hurricanes.
Defense wins championships. Carolina has gone full weight in create not one defensive line that can score as well as some offensive lines, but three in the hopes it will carry them to a Stanley Cup. It would seem, to the outside observer, that the Florida Panthers have at least attempted to duplicate this same strategy and done so more effectively that other possible first round draws for the Hurricanes.
*According to dailyfaceoff.com