The past season will certainly go down as a strange one for the Carolina Hurricanes as far as trades were concerned. While the Hurricanes didn't make any blockbuster deals, they stuck to their usual script and tried to acquire bits and pieces that filled out team needs. One particular storyline seemed a little more entertaining than the rest though.
The Hurricanes signed troubled defenseman Anton Babchuk to a new deal July 1, leaving some to believe that the Canes and Babchuk could start a fresh relationship. However, about three months into the season Jim Rutherford proved otherwise by trading Babchuk, along with winger Tom Kostopolous, to the Calgary Flames for established defenseman Ian White and prospect Brett Sutter. Then just when fans were getting used to White's game - poof - he was gone. Rutherford traded White to the San Jose Sharks for a second-round draft pick. The deal seemed strange until a second, seemingly codependent deal was announced. The Hurricanes had acquired a young defenseman named Derek Joslin in exchange for future considerations.
Joslin, 24, was the Sharks' fifth-round draft pick in 2005 and seemed to be an interesting NHL prospect. He's listed at 6'1" and 210 lbs. but it almost seems like he played bigger than that. The young defenseman was in the lineup only a day after the trade went through and in only his second game he had his first two points with the club.
So what does Canes Country think of Derek Joslin? More after the jump.
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As mentioned before, Joslin is a big kid who can throw his weight around. At a very young age Joslin seems to be ahead of the learning curve as far as his offensive game is concerned. While there is still work to be done, Joslin showed promise as far as his timing of when to pinch and when to stay back was concerned. While he only ended up with one goal (a game-winner against the Red Wings), the ability could be seen in his game that will probably be helped by the likes of Joni Pitkanen and Tomas Kaberle.
While Joslin shared a similar stat line with the Sharks and Canes last season (17 games for both clubs; 4 points for the Sharks and 5 for Carolina) the major difference came with his +/-. Joslin was a -2 at the time of his trade and ended his run with the Canes as a +7 (which would have been higher if not for a -3 effort against the Lightning on the last day of the season, two being empty-net goals). Only Brandon Sutter claimed a higher +/- than Joslin's.
Hard to say anything bad about the guy really. He came in and adjusted to the Canes style quicker than expected. For an unproven guy, he sure made a statement with the Canes.
That being said, Joslin - like most young defensemen - needs to improve on the defensive half of his game for next season. Limiting bad passing and whiffed shots are going to lead to less turnovers and less odd-man chances Cam Ward has to face. Also, Joslin has the tendency to let players get behind him along the boards. The quicker he can grasp the mentality of "go for the puck or go for the player" the faster his development will be.
Lastly, fans would probably say he needs to play a little more physical. Fans love to see guys being thrown into the boards and smashing the glass. Not everyone can be Tuomo Ruutu though. Joslin does need to find his balance. He needs to find that level of physicality that best represents him and his game so he feels comfortable with it. Sometimes players go out of their way to make the big hit and it ends up burning them in the long run.
The ink might still be fresh on Derek Joslin's new contract. He signed a 2-year deal for $1.4 million this offseason. Any time a team can have an NHL defenseman under contract with a cap hit of $700,000, it's usually a good thing. The contract works both ways as this will be Joslin's biggest contract of his young career and his first one-way deal.