Early Season Report Card

The Carolina Hurricanes are 10 games into the 2009-10 season and have earned seven points so far with a record of 2-5-3  They currently find themselves in fourth place in the Southeast Division, already seven points behind Washington, (6-6-2), and in 12th place in the Eastern Conference, 11 points behind Pittsburgh, (9-2-0).

Let's take a look at a few major categories and statistics and see if the team might be performing better than what their record indicates.

Quality of Wins:

The Canes last won a game on October 9 against Florida.  The club's only victories this season have come against two teams which did not make the playoffs last year, Tampa Bay and Florida.  They are the only team in the league so far to have lost to the New York Islanders.

Goals For and Against:

Carolina has scored 24 goals so far this season, ahead of just Toronto, Florida, and the Islanders in the East and each of those teams have played fewer games.  On the other side, the Canes have allowed 34 goals so far, second most in the East.  The Leafs and Panthers have each allowed 35.

Special Teams:

The Hurricanes powerplay is clicking at 15.6%, good for 25th in the league.  The penalty kill is better and is rated 81%, which is 11th best in the league.

Faceoff percentage:

As a team, Carolina is currently ranked 29th in the league at 46.1%.

  • Yelle- 53.3%
  • Brind'Amour- 52.3%
  • Cullen- 43.8%
  • Staal- 42.6%
  • Jokinen- 42.5%

Shots on goal/Shots Allowed:

The Canes average 29.4 shots on goal per game which is ranked 17th highest in the league.  They allow more shots against with an average of 32.6 which is ranked 25th in the league. Surprisingly, team scoring leader Ray Whitney, 4G 4A, is tied for 6th highest shots on goal for the team.  (team leaders total SOG).

  • Staal 40
  • Ruutu 30
  • Walker 24
  • Cullen 24
  • LaRose 22
  • Corvo 18
  • Whitney 18

Penalties:

The team averages 22.4 penalty minutes per game, 30th in the league.  Take out the majors and things do not look any better as they have taken a total of 64 minor penalties, also worst in the league.  Next highest is Pittsburgh and San Jose, each with 59 and 56 minors, but each of those teams have played more games than the Canes.

Last season, the Hurricanes had the lowest PIM average, (9.8), in the league.  In 2008-09 they had a total of 322 minors, 26 majors,  and zero game misconducts.  At the current pace, Carolina will have over 512 minors, 64 majors, and 16 game misconducts in 2009-10.

The team was also best at drawing penalties and led the NHL in that category last season as they earned 374 powerplay opportunities.  So far this year they are ranked 11th with 45 tries.  That would come out to 360 opportunties for the year if the trend continues.

Hockeymom has done a lot of previous analysis about good types of penalties and bad types, but assume for this comparison that all penalties are bad.  When it is late in the game and the contest is tied or the Canes are losing by a goal, an aggression penalty puts the team behind the eight ball just as badly as a positional one. 

Let's examine the team leaders regarding all minor penalties compared to time on ice: 

 

Player Minors Total TOI Avg Minutes
Per Penalty
Yelle 5 76.39           15.28
Pitkanen 7 118.53           16.93
Harrison 5 85.25           17.05
Staal 7 219.52           31.36
Samsonov 4 159.18           39.80
Alberts 4 166.11           41.53
Brind'Amour 4 181.08           45.27
Ward 4 188.06           47.02
 

Here you can see that Stephane Yelle got a minor penalty for every 15 minutes of time he was on the ice, which is the worst rating on the team.  While Joni Pitkanen gets a lot of aggression type penalties, his ratio is high as well, as is Jay Harrison's.

_____

Individual stats:

Plus/Minus:

High

  • Walker +6
  • Pitkanen +1

Low

  • Corvo -4
  • Samsonov -5

Time on ice per game:

  • Corvo- 27:09 (6th best in league)
  • Pitkanen- 23:46
  • Gleason- 22:26
  • Staal- 21:59

Hits:

  • Alberts- 33 (8th best in league)
  • Ruutu- 23
  • Gleason- 23
  • Wallin- 22
  • Walker- 21
  • Ward- 20

Blocked Shots:

  • Ward- 24 (16th best in league)
  • Alberts- 16
  • Corvo- 14

Giveaways:

  • Staal- 11 (10th most in league)
  • Alberts- 6

Takeaways:

  • Cullen- 11 (5th highest in league)
  • Samsonov- 7
  • Staal- 7
  • Whitney- 7

Points:

  • Whitney 4G 4A 8 points
  • Jokinen 3G 4A 7 points
  • Ruutu 2G 4A 6 points
  • Cullen 3G 2A 5 points
  • Brind'Amour 2G 3A 5 points
  • Pitkanen 1G 4A 5 points
  • Staal 3G 1A 4 points
  • Samsonov 1G 3A 4 points
  • Corvo 1G 3A 4 points

What do you think?  Do the stats match up with the record, or is the team just having bad luck? 

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