On Monday morning, Cory Lavalette reported that Canes newcomers Michael Bunting and Brendan Lemieux had words for the second time during the Hurricanes Training Camp. While I do not think the Hurricanes are turning into the Charlestown Chiefs, even with the additions of Bunting, Lemieux and Tony DeAngelo, I have to wonder if Ned Braden was right. A physical game isn’t what the Canes have ever played, and it’s not what they suddenly need going into the season.
The Hurricanes are not a super physical team, and they have their offensive production set up to be spread out across the ice. So what is the need for the added physical element, and do the Canes already have what they need without added unnecessary penalty minutes?
Bunting has 187 games in the NHL 57 goals and 197 PIM in those. Last season alone he racked up 103 in 82 with the Maple Leafs. That is an average of 1.05 penalty minutes a game for his NHL career. For every NHL goal Michael Bunting has, he has sat out 3.45 minutes of an NHL game. He does score a goal every 3.2 games on NHL ice.
Brendan Lemieux on the same measures fares even worse. In 8 seasons, Lemieux has 275 NHL games with just 33 goals and 484 PIM minutes. For every goal he has ever netted, he has missed 14.66 minutes of NHL ice time. And he averages 1.76 penalty minutes per game. On his career, he has scores a goal every 8.33 games on NHL ice. The Hurricanes could expect Lemieux to score every 8.24 games.
Combined, Michael Bunting and Brendan Lemieux have 462 games. They have 681 combined PIM. Together they have notched 90 goals. That is an average of 1.47 PIM per game and 7.66 PIM per goal. Bunting and Lemieux score every 5.1 NHL games.
But for comparison sake, let’s run the numbers on the Hurricanes that have roughly the same amount of playing time.
Seth Jarvis has 150 career NHL games and is the closest Hurricanes Forward to Bunting’s 187 games. He has 30 career PIM and 31 NHL goals to his credit. Jarvis averages .2 PIM over his 150 game NHL career. His goal to PIM is .96 and he scores every 5 games on average.
Defensively, there is not a player that matches Lemieux’s 275 NHL games but the closest is his pal Tony DeAngelo. TDA has 360 career PIM in 340 games. He has 45 goals in those 340 games. He averages 1.05 PIM per game, and 8 PIM per goal. He scores every 7.55 games
Combining Seth Jarvis with TDA sees a game total of 490, 76 goals, and 390 PIM. That is an average of .79 PIM per game, 5.2 PIM for every goal, and a goal every 6.44 games.
Side By Side
Bunting/Lemieux- 1.47 PIM per game, 7.66 PIM per goal, 1 goal per 5.1 games
Jarvis/ DeAngelo- .79 PIM per game, 5.2 PIM per goal, 1 goal per 6.44 games
The numbers do not lie.
I am not sure why there is a sudden rush to add “grit” or “sandpaper”, or whatever it is called. Maybe it is because the Cane felt like they could not respond to losing key players like Teuvo Teräväinen, Max Pacioretty, or Andrei Svechnikov in physical games? Losing to a quasi- physical team like the Florida Panthers might have done it? But if the goal is to score more than the other team, and give them less of a chance to do so while they have the man advantage, then Michael Bunting and Brendan Lemieux are not what is needed for the Hurricanes. No matter how physical they might be.