In years past, fourth lines were often considered to be the worst line of a team. Given few minutes per game, they were the ones to give the top three lines rest. What’s transpired within the relative past is roster depth. In essence, having the fourth line be the worst line doesn’t mean that line is bad.
Recently, fourth lines have been ones to show consistent effort and be the workhorses of the team. Some teams, for instance, have fourth lines who have the ability to play parallel to opposing teams' first line.
The line of Brad Malone, Patrick Dwyer, and Jay McClement has been paying dividends lately. In the Hurricanes last 14 games, the trio has combined for 19 points including 8 goals and 11 assists. Carolina is 5-1-1 when the fourth line scores a goal and 5-1-2 when Malone himself contributes.
Despite McClement’s 11 points on the season compared to Malone’s 5 goals and 3 assists, the latter has had the hot hand as of late. Malone has scored a goal in four of his last seven games. In his previous 87 NHL games, however, he scored just five goals.
On January 16th, Malone was a healthy scratch against the Vancouver Canucks. He returned to the lineup the following night adding a goal to the 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. Two nights later, he would add one to the goal column again in the Hurricanes win 4-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. He threw fisticuffs that game too.
"That’s better than talking to the coach. That’s showing the coach," head coach Bill Peters told the News and Observer. "That’s showing your teammates, that’s showing your organization you want to play. Show me. It’s simple."
Malone has played 40 of the team’s 51 games.
According to hockeyfights.com, Malone is three for four in his fights this season, the most he’s had in a single NHL season. He leads the team with 54 penalty minutes.
His hits are also as emphatic as Stone Cold Steve Austin driving a zamboni into Joe Louis Arena. According to SportingCharts.com, Malone is second behind Tim Gleason in hits with 107. However, his 2.68 hits per game and 16.09 hits per period excel Gleason’s.
With the little amount he puts on the board, his shot percentage shows that he makes the right decision when shooting. He has the 3rd highest shot percentage on the team with 11.90 while tallying 42 shots on goal. His first Hurricanes goal came on the January 2nd against the Philadelphia Flyers. That thing was a beauty.
The New Brunswick native inked a 2-year, $1.3 million deal July 1st as a free agent. At 6’2" 207 pounds, the 25-year-old adds an intimidating presence with the ability to throw haymakers and his weight around. His relentless style of play and consistent effort has paid off. At this rate, while surely having acquiring the respect of teammates, Malone is on his way to increasing his time on ice.
Brad Malone's first goal as a Hurricane.