There is a school of thought within the education field that pairing an undermotivated, or struggling student with an excelling student will lead to the struggling student being motivated to work harder thus achieving at a higher level. Such a rationale has its merits. In a perfect world the student who is lacking, for whatever reason, sees the spotlight shown on the achieving student and wants laurels to rest on their own head as well. In reality, this typically does not work. Usually the overachiever eventually sees some benefit to slacking off or eventually loses their willingness to pull the extra dead weight. Not to mention they are essentially doing the teacher’s job. This all too common reality is why I propose Rod Brind’Amour break up the pairing of Jalen Chatfield and Shayne Gostisbehere and look for other combinations that might work better.
Education experts tend to focus on students who are struggling for whatever reason. Maybe the child is unmotivated or under-motivated. Some educators go as far as to say students who act out in class are not challenged enough and simply get bored. Or they are underwhelmed by the assigned work because they are so advanced. Others portend a student who is not achieving is intimidated by the daunting work and simply gives up.
It could be argued Shayne Gostisbehere was not challenged enough in Arizona. Or not motivated correctly. Or some other combination thereof. He came to Carolina with 10 goals and 21 assists. Barely a career year for him, but closer to the top than the bottom. He was also -6. Since coming to the Hurricanes and being paired with Jalen Chatfield, Gostisbehere has picked up 2 goals, 5 assists. That is in 12 games. Impressive, yes. He was producing a point in 51.6% of the games he played this season in Arizona. Since coming to Carolina that number has risen to 58%.
Nearly textbook! Although he has more NHL experience, Shayne Gostisbehere was the struggling student needing the right pairing to get started, or in this case restarted, on the path to success with the Carolina Hurricanes. But with the increase in offense, Gostisbehere had slipped from -6 when he came to Raleigh to -8 but is back up to a -6 as of this writing . Those two extra points in +/- are worrisome. Worrisome for the Hurricanes when defensively the Canes were zero or better 74.7% of the time before Gostisbehere, but particularly worrisome for who it was paired with.
Prior to Shayne Gostisbehere signing with the Carolina Hurricane, Jalen Chatfield had been paired mostly with Calvin de Haan on what I deemed “The Hanfield Express Line.” With the exception of the time Chatfield was moved up to play with Brent Burns, The Hanfield Express Line was known for at least two, months long streaks of neutral or better hockey in the +/- column. And Chatfield was playing hockey with his skates in the right direction. He had 5 goals and 6 helpers. As a third line, mistake free hockey with a little bit of offense thrown in is exactly what you want.
Even while playing up with Brent Burns, Jalen Chatfield pieced together a nearly perfect string of neutral or better nights. In total, Chatfield had only 12 negative nights in 60 games. If my math is right, that means that 80% of his games were statistically mistake free. Since March 4th, and being paired with Shayne Gostisbehere, Jalen Chatfield has 3 negative nights in 15 appearances. Math tells me that is 20% of the time Jalen Chatfield is paired with Shayne Gostisbehere he has a negative night.
And the Gostisbehere/Chatfield pairing has not had any positive side effect for Jalen Chatfield. Since being paired with “Ghost,” Chatfield has just one goal, and one assist. Two points in 15 games is hardly the rate of production the Carolina Hurricanes were getting used to from Jalen Chatfield. Prior to his new pairing, Chafield was scoring or assisting at exactly the same rate as he was zero or above in +/-. That rate of 20% is now 13%.
So what are the Carolina Hurricanes to do? Shayne Gostisbehere is being pulled up by being paired with Jalen Chatfield by what of more points in more games, BUT Chatfield is being pulled down in the process in the way of less mistake free hockey.
I suggest breaking the line up by moving Chatfield back up with Burns, then dropping Slavin back to the Pesce/ Skjei line, and putting Brett Pesce with Shayne Gostisbehere. This would make the 3rd line of Pesce and Gostisbehere more of a grinder line built for more defense than anything else, but it would also put Jalen Chatfield in a spot to be more offensive alongside Brent Burns. Imagine Chafield picking up all the rebounds from Burns shooting from the face-off circle. Or better yet, this
Education experts who suggest pairing top students with bottom students fail to understand, and trust me when I say education experts fail to understand A LOT, is that gifted students can just as easily pick out students who are struggling. When paired with a bad student, they know they’re being tasked with not only doing their job, but doing the job of the teacher.
In the case of Jalen Chatfield and Shayne Gostisbehere, Chatfield is being tasked, at least for the sake of the analogy, with teaching Gostisbehere how to play Carolina Hurricanes hockey. A mistake free brand that he, Chatfield, had mastered pretty quickly. As a result his months of streaking at or above zero in the +/- column are almost completely over. And although the Hurricanes need goals, like those they have gotten from Shayne Gostisbehere, I have to be concerned that the likes of Jalen Chatfield are picking up bad habits and losing their competitive advantage.