The Canes are 9-6-0 and 6-4-0 in their last ten games. Improvements have been made, and no single player has completely wrecked the zamboni. There are still aspects the Canes can pick up the pace and get things in better shape, BUT right now 2nd in the Metro is looking pretty good compared to where things could be. The calendar has not even hit American Thanksgiving, and there is tons of hockey yet to be played. Here are my thoughts on a couple of highlights since my last set of grades.
Teuvo Teräväinen, Martin Necas, Jesperi Kotkaniemi: A+
Do these names need any explanations? 35 points across the three, including 3 points in 3 OT wins for Martin Necas. Kotkaniemi has just two games this season that he didn’t register points in. Teräväinen continues his scorched earth rebound season
The Goalies: B+
Raanta took a tough game in Florida where no one played well. But he saved the game against Buffalo. There is no doubt in my mind that this game was a highlight reel in and of itself. Kochetkov has the shutout in Tampa to his credit which was no small feat. The goalie situation is completely fine right now, and I am not at all worried.
Seth Jarvis: B
Jarvis learning special teams is the only thing keeping him in the B’s. And that will come with time. It would be nice for Jarvy to have more than a single goal in the last 5, but his consistent hustle and the aforementioned improvements on the PP is great. His face-off game is getting better too.
Sebastian Aho: B
13 points for the season is nothing to snuff at. Still Aho has been relatively quiet this season. At least in my book. I still contend the new Sebastian Aho is not going to be heard from as much, and his point totals may not be as high as he takes on more of a leadership role. I remind myself that often leaders are doing more behind the scenes than in front.
Brent Burns: B-
Something about Burns is off. It was noticed in the Buffalo game. He was not skating as hard as in the past. It could be the old “gripping your stick too tight,” or it could be something worse. Still it wasn’t there in the Buffalo game. His play in Tampa, with an assist and a goal, was much more of the old Brent Burns we are love to see.
Jordan Staal: C+
Those late penalties in the Buffalo game, at home,in a game that went to overtime when maybe it shouldn’t have sorta brought things down for Staal. Just one point in the last five is a little light when it comes to expectations from your captain.
Tony DeAngelo: C-
Still not completely out of the woods, BUT improvements have been made. His goal against Buffalo, 13 games into the season, was a surprise. His defensive play is still not surprisingly weak to weakish. At the risk of sounding like a broke record, the powerplay is not good! I will give him the C- and most improved since the last set of grades. That’s about all I will give him.
It is still so very early in the season for the Canes. As we saw last year, it was a revolving door of players stepping up. Improvements have been made in the offensive zone, and the consistent production from Teräväinen, and Kotkaniemi is great. Defensively the Canes are not exactly sitting at home eating plain crackers, but they are not exactly setting the woods on fire.