Production from Dmitry Orlov and Tony DeAngelo has not been as expected. The “777 pairing” has just 2 goals for the season and a combined 13 points. Brady Skjei, for comparison, has 2 goals and 12 points as just half of his line. When will Orlov and DeAngelo start producing as promised? That is up to them. It does not appear that matching them with other Hurricanes does anything put pull the other player down. Which leads me to be fairly convinced the “lack of buy in” talk is aimed squarely at this particular pair. And dare I say it, 1/2 of it.
DeAngelo is perhaps the most improved yet still bad Carolina Hurricane hitting the ice. He is the only defensive player to post points in a game and still end the night below 0 more than once this season. He has, in fact, done it 4 times. Thrice in Carolina loses (Ducks, Rangers, and Flyers) and once in win over Buffalo, has DeAngelo managed this feat of mediocrity. He is second worst on the team at -10, and tied for third worst in the NHL. His 7 points is 11th best on the team. That mark does place him in front of the whole “J Line” of Martinhook, Staal, and Fast. However, his single goal is tied for second worst on the team with as many games. Only Jack Drury and Jordan Martinook have more games with fewer goals.
Production from Dmitry Orlov has been, if possible, worse than DeAngelo. His 6 points put him 12th on the Canes and his lone goal puts him in the same spot on the team’s depth chart as DeAngelo. Somehow, Orlov has managed just one game with points below 0. His season -11 puts him at the very bottom of the NHL in that column.
As far as defensive pairings go, the “777 Line” is the least productive of the 3 main pairs the Hurricanes have fielded, and anytime it hits the ice the opposition has a better than average chance of scoring.
If production rates continue at the current pace, DeAngelo will manage 35 points over 82 games. 20 of those 35 points will come on the powerplay, but if his first 16 games are any indication 5 of those 17 will be goals. That is if DeAngelo plays the same he has been. Orlov’s production will be similar. He will score 29 points over 82 games at the pace he is producing now. Those numbers are not bad BUT there is no way to completely say for sure where either of their +/- will end up, and their defensive follies could perhaps get worse.
As for the “buy in” issues discussed in Hurricanes media, it would be hard not to assume these claims are not leveled at Orlov, DeAngelo or both. I have the hardest time thinking the “lack of buy in” falls at the feet of Orlov based completely on his stats. At just one point in his career has Orlov finished a season below 0 and that was a -1 year with the Capitals back in 2013-14. His career best is +30 in 2016-17 and he has been in double digits 5 times. Those stats are not those of someone who is would have “a hard time learning the system” or struggle with “buy in.” Tony DeAngelo is perhaps the best suspect given his history as a locker room issue. His stats don’t necessarily support his credentials as a sound defenseman. Given the chance Carolina took with him, it would be easy to see him arriving in Raleigh with a larger than average chip on his shoulder. Savior complexes do not need much watering to grow beyond proportion.
Perhaps offensive production picks up from the “777 pairing.” It can get worse, but that would benefit no one except the other teams. To date, this combo has been the worst of Carolina’s both defensively and offensively. Their breakdown and bad coverage have lead to goals, and caused the Hurricanes to climb out of holes far too often. If in fact the “lack of buy in” issues are with this line, Tony DeAngelo, Dmitry Orlove, or both need to be in the press box sooner than later.