Midseason Review: The Forwards

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It has been another up-and-down season for the Hurricanes so far. Through 45 games, the team is 22-18-5, which is good for 49 points in the standings and has the team sitting within reach of a playoff spot.

Since we are over halfway through the regular season, let’s give out some grades to Hurricanes’ players!

Left Wing

Micheal Ferland

Season Stats: 38 games played, 13 goals, 12 assists, 25 points, 12:29 ES TOI/game, 2:34 PP TOI/game

Ferland is a prototypical power forward, and he is the exact type of player that the Hurricanes have lacked in their lineup for years. Ferland has found great chemistry alongside Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen. Unfortunately, he has dealt with a concussion issue for parts of this season, and his current contract expires at the end of the season. Ideally he is extended at a reasonable term, but it’s starting to seem more likely that the Hurricanes deal him away. If so, expect the Canes to be in the hunt to bring him back when he hits unrestricted free agency in July.

Grade: A

Jordan Martinook

Season Stats: 45 games played, 9 goals, 3 assists, 12 points, 12:56 ES TOI/game, 1:44 PK TOI/game

MARTY MAN! Martinook has played the vast majority of his hockey as a Hurricane alongside Lucas Wallmark and 2nd overall pick Andrei Svechnikov. The trio has found some great chemistry, and Martinook has been a great addition to the team. He plays a physical game, is responsible in both ends of the ice, and he finds ways to put the puck into the net. Martinook is also due to hit free agency at the season’s end, but he seems more likely to return than not.

Grade: B+

Brock McGinn

Season Stats: 45 games played, 3 goals, 9 assists, 12 points, 11:51 ES TOI/game, 2:23 PK TOI/game

In the beginning of the season, McGinn looked overmatched. Overall, he just hasn’t played as well as he did last season when he scored 16 goals. McGinn has been playing well as of late, and his grade would probably be a bit higher if he wasn’t being relied on to play on Sebastian Aho’s wing and was rather in a more fitting bottom-six role.

Grade: C-

Warren Foegele

Season Stats: 45 games played, 5 goals, 3 assists, 8 points, 11:45 ES TOI/game, 1:41 PK TOI/game

Foegele is an interesting player. He had a red-hot start to the season, and then went on a massive cold streak. I think that Foegele has also looked better as of late, although he should ideally put up a few more points. Foegele is a solid two-way player and he was never going to keep up with his pace at the beginning of the season. As a fourth-line guy who can kill penalties and move up the lineup when needed, Foegele is a pretty nice player to have around.

Grade: C

Center

Sebastian Aho

Season Stats: 45 games played, 21 goals, 30 assists, 51 points, 15:33 ES TOI/game, 3:14 PP TOI/game, 0:56 PK TOI/game

He’s an NHL All-Star. He’s a superstar. Aho has enjoyed a monster break-out season with 21 goals and 51 points already. He is on pace for roughly 38 goals and 92 points, and he has proven to be the dangerous first-line center that the Hurricanes have been seeking for what seems like forever. To think that Aho is still just 21 years old is mind blowing. He can be relied on in any situation, and his emergence as a penalty killer has been simply amazing to watch. Aho is set to become a restricted free agent, but I’d be willing to bet that the team is prepared to give him an empty check to fill out.

Grade: A+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Jordan Staal

Season Stats: 29 games played, 5 goals, 6 assists, 11 points, 14:59 ES TOI/game, 2:32 PP TOI/game, 2:07 PK TOI/game

I really do like Jordan Staal. Unfortunately, he has dealt with some serious concussion issues this season, and when he is in the lineup, he is a huge anchor offensively. Staal also started off strong, but he quickly fell off of his pace. Staal is still a key defensive center, and if he wasn’t playing so much on the PP when he’s healthy the perception of him would be different. You may think that the team is better off without Staal, but I wonder if that will still be true when the Hurricanes have a center group of Aho-Wallmark-McKegg-Rask going up against Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, and Nikita Kucherov or Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in the playoffs.

Grade: D

Lucas Wallmark

Season Stats: 45 games played, 4 goals, 10 assists, 14 points, 12:53 ES TOI/game, 1:25 PP TOI/game, 1:07 PK TOI/game

What a story. Wallmark has really taken a step forward this year. He’s not going to blow you away on the stat sheet, but he has taken on a key two-way role with Staal’s absence in the lineup. Wallmark has been good alongside Martinook and Svechnikov this year, and he has quickly earned the trust of Head Coach Rod Brind’Amour. Wallmark is an ideal bottom six center, and his emergence has been huge for the Hurricanes.

Grade: B+

Victor Rask

Season Stats: 25 games played, 1 goal, 4 assists, 5 points, 10:05 ES TOI/game, 1:45 PP TOI/game

Rask’s season started off on the wrong foot when a kitchen accident sidelined him for the first quarter of the year. Clearly Rask is not the same player that he was a few years ago. He isn’t putting up points, he is not a threat offensively or defensively, and he has looked lost out on the ice at times. I wonder if a conditioning stint would have helped Rask get back into a rhythm before he came back, but 25 games is long enough. He needs to get better, as his contract has probably become immovable at this point.

Grade: D-

Clark Bishop

Season Stats: 20 games played, 1 goal, 2 assists, 3 points, 9:06 ES TOI/game

Who would have guessed that Clark Bishop would spend some time in the NHL this season? I certainly did not. I really like Bishop as a fourth-line center, and I think that he is capable of being a good NHL center full-time. Once Bishop is healthy, he ideally finds himself in that fourth-line role, and I don’t think that he deserves to come out of the lineup once Staal returns.

Grade: C+

Greg McKegg

Season Stats: 6 games played, 2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points, 12:28 ES TOI/game

McKegg is the real McAllstar. He isn’t going to continue to score at his current pace, but he has been a lot better than I expected him to be. He has been a good third-line center during his short stretch with the team, and he is a pretty good guy to have around an organization.

Grade: Too early to grade

Right Wing

Teuvo Teravainen

Season Stats: 45 games played, 10 goals, 28 assists, 38 points, 14:23 ES TOI/game, 2:53 PP TOI/game, 0:34 PK TOI/game

Teravainen is close to being on a 70-point pace. He has been great alongside Sebastian Aho all year, and he deserves at least some credit for Aho’s monster season. The two Finns have great chemistry, and they have both begun to see time on the PK. Teravainen is also due to hit restricted free agency, and he is likely going to be back on a somewhat long-term deal.

Grade: A-

Justin Williams

Season Stats: 45 games played, 13 goals, 14 assists, 27 points, 13:54 ES TOI/game, 2:46 PP TOI/game

I was not a fan of Williams at the beginning of this season, but I was admittedly wrong. Williams has been great as of late, and he is going to will this team into the playoffs. He isn’t going to continue to score every game, but at the very least he looks like he is capable of producing at a high level in his 37-year-old season. Williams is set to hit unrestricted free agency, but I would be willing to bet that he returns on a cheaper one-year deal.

Grade: B+

Andrei Svechnikov

Season Stats: 45 games played, 11 goals, 8 assists, 19 points, 12:27 ES TOI/game, 2:19 PP TOI/game

Svech has been eased into the NHL, and rightfully so. He has an amazing shot, plays a physical game, and can really ignite the team when he is on. But when he struggles, he tends to get lazy with his stick and take penalties. Svechnikov leads the team in penalty minutes, and if he wants to be relied on with a key role, he needs to prove that he can have more discipline. The second overall pick still has all of the potential in the world, and I think that within a couple of years he is going to be a key top-line goal scorer.

Grade: B-

Saku Maenalanen

Season Stats: 8 games played, 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 points, 8:52 ES TOI/game

Maenalanen hasn’t played a ton, but he has been solid when he gets the chance. He is a great fit on the current Hurricanes’ fourth-line, and his goal scoring touch that he has shown is nice to see. I don’t ever see Maenalanen being more than a bottom six contributor, but he is a great player to keep around.

Grade: Too early to grade

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