Playoff Series Preview Part 2: Defense

Let's take a look at the defense
Carolina Hurricanes v New York Rangers
Carolina Hurricanes v New York Rangers / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
3 of 4
Brent Burns
Carolina Hurricanes v Columbus Blue Jackets / Jason Mowry/GettyImages




First Pair

Jaccob Slavin

Brent Burns

Second Pair

Dmitry Orlov

***Tony DeAngelo/Brett Pesce/Dylan Coghlan

Third Pair

Dmitry Orlov

Jalen Chatfield

Source: The Daily Faceoff Via Walt Ruff Twitter (Game 5)

**DeAngelo and Pesce both injured

Similar to the Rangers, the Hurricanes have a deep and consistent core of defensemen.  The Hurricanes have one of the best team defenses overall in the league.  The Hurricanes have no true stars in the same mold as Adam Fox, but each pairing is strong and understands how to play together within the Hurricanes' defensive system.   In our first pairing, Jaccob Slavin is in the discussion of the best defensive zone players in the league.  He is a player that will always be considered one of the best defensemen in the league by his peers, but will never get the same recognition in terms of league awards.  If Slavin had a bit more offensively, he would be in the Norris Trophy discussion every season.  Much of what the Hurricanes ask Slavin to do is cover for his more offensively inclined partners.  It is no coincidence that he Slavin is typically paired with more point-producing defensive players such as Dougie Hamilton, Tony DeAngelo, and Brent Burns. Slavin is good enough to make up for their defensive shortcomings.  Slavin’s partner Brent Burns is starting to show signs of slowing down.  He still has a big shot from the point and works the blue line well on keeping the puck in the offensive zone and finding his teammates on the power play.  However, he is starting to lose his foot speed and at times has looked like he is stuck in the mud with opposing players able to skate around him.  I still love Burns’ game and all the intangibles he brings to this Hurricanes team.  The 2nd pairing is a bit up in the air at the time of writing. The Hurricanes were dealt a huge blow in losing Brett Pesce early in the Islanders series.  Pesce is a steady, yet unspectacular player.  He is a great defensive defenseman but offers virtually nothing on the offensive side of the puck. His replacement Tony DeAngelo is the antithesis of Pesce.  DeAngelo is a fantastic offensive zone player with outstanding puck movement and vision. However, he has proven to be a liability in his zone.  I thought that Morrow should replace Pesce, but I must say, DeAngelo's play has been strong since coming in to replace Pesce.  Now, the problem.  DeAngelo suffered an injury in game 5 of the Islanders series.  DeAngelo is hopeful to play in game 1 against the Rangers.  Practice this week has Dylan Coghlan skating in this pairing, which is not ideal.  The second half of the 2nd pair is former Ranger Brady Skjei.  Skjei is a solid 2-way defenseman who has stepped up his offensive game the past two seasons. He plays a critical role on the second powerplay unit and will be counted on to step up in a big way against his former team.  The 3rd pairing is one of my favorite units on the Hurricanes.  We have the big free agent signing Dmitry Orlov and Jalen Chatfield.  This might be the largest difference in pay between any defensive pairing in the league, with Orlov a shade over 7 million a season and Chatfield on the veteran minimum of 750,000.  These two complement each other perfectly and Orlov began to play well once paired with Chatfield.  Chatfield is a great skater and has played his way into a big pay raise following the season.