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State of the Canes: By the Numbers at the Quarter Mark of the 2016-17 Season

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A look at the stats from the first twenty-plus games and what they reveal.

Jamie Kellner

American Thanksgiving is often referenced as a milestone for determining an NHL team’s likelihood of making the post-season, given that about a quarter of the season has been completed and three quarters of the teams in the playoff mix at this point in the season stay there. With 2016-17 starting later due to the World Cup of Hockey, the end of November seems a reasonable time to take a look at the numbers to date to see what can be learned about the Carolina Hurricanes. It also dovetails nicely with last season’s turning point in early December, when the team fell to last place in the league and prompted a few key roster moves.

A Look at the Standings

Here’s where the team stands today, compared to last season:


Thru 11/30/16 Thru 11/30/15 2015-16
Record 9-9-4 8-12-4 35-31-16
Points 22 20 86
Division Rank 7 Metro 7 Metro 6 Metro
Conference Rank 14 EC 15 EC 10 EC
Last 10 Games 6-4-0 2-4-4 4-4-2
Streak Lost 1 Lost 2 Lost 2
Pt % 0.500 0.417 0.524
Pts/GP 1.000 0.833 1.049
Pts Pace 82 68 86

While not an exact comparison (24 games played by Nov. 30 last season versus 22 this season), the Canes are slightly better during the same time period. This season has started out with a tougher home/road split, and even if the Canes lose the next two games they’re still two points ahead of last season’s pace. That said, having missed the playoffs by 10 points last season, a two point improvement doesn’t feel like quite enough to move the needle.

As Zeke Lukow mentioned earlier today in his Metro division recap, the teams in the middle of the conference are tightly packed. Looking at the teams ahead of the Canes in the battle for the second wild card spot:


GP W L OT PTS ROW PT%
New Jersey Devils 22 10 7 5 25 8 0.568
Boston Bruins 23 12 10 1 25 11 0.543
Philadelphia Flyers 24 11 10 3 25 8 0.521
Toronto Maple Leafs 22 10 8 4 24 10 0.545
Florida Panthers 23 11 10 2 24 9 0.522
Detroit Red Wings 23 11 10 2 24 8 0.522
Carolina Hurricanes 22 9 9 4 22 8 0.500

Three teams are ahead of the Canes by three points, and three are ahead by two points, with all but the Flyers within one game played. So while a wild card spot is still well within reach, there are a lot of teams to jump to get there.

Team Stats


Thru 11/30/16 Thru 11/30/15 2015-16
Goals/Game 2.41 (19) 2.08 (28) 2.39 (27)
Goals Against/Game 2.64 (18) 2.88 (23) 2.70 (18)
Shots/Game 29.9 (14) 30.7 (7) 29.9 (14)
Shots Against/Game 27.3 (5) 25.3 (1) 27.6 (5)
ES Corsi For % 53.1% (4) 54.6% (2) 51.4% (11)
ES Sh% 7.0% (18) 5.5% 7.0% (24)
ES Save % 91.2% (27) 90.6% 91.5% (28)
ES PDO 98.1 (27) 96.1 (30) 98.4 (29)
Power Play % (Rank) 19.7% (11) 12.5% (30) 17.7% (24)
Penalty Kill % (Rank) 89.7% (1) 74.5% (28) 77.3% (6)
Faceoff % 52.7% (2) 54% (1) 53.7% (2)
PIM/Game 06:43 (2) 05:45 (1) 06:51 (2)

Wow, what an improvement on special teams! There is still inconsistency game-to-game on the power play, and both special team situations are likely to suffer with Jordan Staal out, but the strong performance here has to be a confidence boost.

Outside of special teams, it’s interesting to note that the team stats through Nov. 30 are eerily similar to last season’s overall stats. The Canes dug a hole they were never quite able to climb out of last year, but if they’re at least picking up where they left off last season, perhaps the trajectory will land them closer to the playoff cut line. Goals for and against are trending in the right direction, and the possession battle remains strong. Team save percentage remains low though individually it’s improving (more to come on that).

But then there’s this:


Thru 11/30/16 2015-16
Leading after One Period (Rank) 3-2-1 (28) 16-4-5 (27)
Leading after Two Periods (Rank) 6-1-3 (30) 24-2-3 (20)
One-goal games (Rank) 6-5-2 (23) 20-9-16 (21)
When scoring first (Rank) 3-4-2 (30) 26-8-8 (24)
Overtime (Pt%) 0-3 (.000) 8-11 (.421)
Shootout (Pt%) 1-1 (.500) 2-5 (.285)
Home (Pt%) 6-3-0 (.667) 19-15-7 (.549)
Away (Pt%) 3-6-4 (.384) 16-16-9 (.500)

Yeah, this will not come as a shock but the Canes aren’t doing too well when it comes to holding on to a lead. The Canes are finding the win column in slightly more than half their games when they lead after one or two periods. That's a league worst. Plus, if the game heads into overtime, they have only converted that into a win 20% of the time. Again, some of this may be attributed to the tough early start on the road with unfamiliar players and an abbreviated camp for the head coach. But unless this improves, especially on the road, the Canes will find it hard to climb up the standings.

On the bright side, how about that home record?

Player Stats

Skaters


GP Goals Assists Pts Pts/GP CF% Last Season
Jeff Skinner 21 9 10 19 0.90 53.2% 28-23-51 (.62)
Victor Rask 22 8 9 17 0.77 50.7% 21-27-48 (.60)
Sebastian Aho 22 3 8 11 0.50 56.3% -
Teuvo Teravainen 22 5 5 10 0.45 56.5% 13-22-35 (.45) CHI
Lee Stempniak 22 4 6 10 0.45 51.3% 19-32-51 (.62) NJD, BOS
Jordan Staal 21 5 4 9 0.43 59.6% 20-28-48 (.59)
Noah Hanifin 22 1 7 8 0.36 52.2% 4-18-22 (.28)
Viktor Stalberg 21 6 1 7 0.33 52.9% 9-11-20 (.27) NYR
Justin Faulk 19 3 4 7 0.37 53.2% 16-21-37 (.58)
Elias Lindholm 22 2 5 7 0.32 52.2% 11-28-39 (.48)
Ron Hainsey 22 1 5 6 0.27 52.9% 5-14-19 (.23)
Jaccob Slavin 22 1 5 6 0.27 53.7% 2-18-20 (.32)
Joakim Nordstrom 22 1 3 4 0.18 52.0% 10-14-24 (.34)
Brett Pesce 22 0 4 4 0.18 55.2% 4-12-16 (.23)
Klas Dahlbeck 9 1 2 3 0.33 49.7% 2-6-8 (.11) ARI
Andrej Nestrasil 11 1 2 3 0.27 52.5% 9-14-23 (.42)
Derek Ryan 9 1 1 2 0.22 45.0% 2-0-2 (.33)
Matt Tennyson 9 0 2 2 0.22 52.6% 1-3-4 (.14) SJS
Bryan Bickell 7 1 0 1 0.14 49.4% 0-2-2 (.08) CHI
Jay McClement 22 0 1 1 0.05 48.8% 3-8-11 (.14)
Ryan Murphy 4 0 1 1 0.25 53.5% 0-10-10 (.29)
Jakub Nakladal 3 0 0 0 0.00 41.6% 2-3-5 (.19) CGY
Brock McGinn 6 0 0 0 0.00 48.7% 3-1-4 (.19)
Phillip Di Giuseppe 12 0 0 0 0.00 59.3% 7-10-17 (.23)
Martin Frk 2 0 0 0 0.00 45.8% -

Team Leaders

Goals Skinner 9
Points Skinner 19
PPP Skinner 7
GWG Rask/Stalberg 2
Shots Skinner 258
Sh % Staal 13.2%



Total TOI Slavin 496:47
TOI/GP Faulk 23:39
PP TOI Lindholm 55:30
SH TOI Slavin 69:10



FO% Staal 60.1%
+/- Rask 2
CF% Staal 59.6%
PDO Rask 104.1



PIM Stalberg 19
Hits Staal 44
Blk Sh Slavin 42
Takeaways Skinner 25

Give Jeff Skinner and Victor Rask an ‘A’ and they’ll reward you by being on pace for 73 and 63 points, respectively. Both players are exceeding their team-leading 2015-16 output by a decent margin, which is a good thing, because for the most part, scoring from the rest of the roster is merely okay. Sebastian Aho remains strong in his rookie campaign with a very respectable 40-point pace, Noah Hanifin is tracking to improve to 30 points, and who would have predicted that Viktor Stalberg would rank third on the team with six goals?

But on the flip side, Elias Lindholm’s scoring woes have already been heavily reported, Lee Stempniak is off his 51-point pace from last season (split between the Devils and Bruins), and while Teuvo Teravainen is matching the 35-point pace from last season in Chicago, the Canes are expecting more given his increased role. Jordan Staal (even pre-injury) and Justin Faulk are off their pace from last season. Secondary scoring from Joakim Nordstrom, Andrej Nestrasil, Phil Di Giuseppe are all lower than expected, and outside of Hanifin, so is offense from the defense.

That Corsi, though.

Goaltending

Thru 11/30/16 Record Sv% (ES) GAA
Cam Ward 7-7-3 .915 (.917) 2.29
Eddie Lack 1-2-1 .856 (.827) 3.79
Michael Leighton 1-0-0 .939 (.957) 2.00




Thru 11/30/15 Record Sv% (ES) GAA
Cam Ward 7-8-3 .898 (.905) 2.53
Eddie Lack 1-4-1 .871 (.888) 3.28




2015-16 Record Sv% (ES) GAA
Cam Ward 23-17-10 .909 (.916) 2.41
Eddie Lack 12-14-6 .901 (.903) 2.81

In net, both goalies struggled at the outset but Cam Ward has returned to a respectable overall record, better than his overall record from last season and miles ahead of where he started last season. If he can maintain his current pace, the majority of the starts in net should remain stable. Eddie Lack remains a mystery, with limited starts and limited success and no word as to where he is in his concussion recovery (now a week plus since the diagnosis). Michael Leighton was stellar in his single performance but the sample size is too small to count on just yet.

Overall, it ‘feels like’ the Canes are moving in the right direction, and the numbers for the most part support that. Home ice should work in their favor when the schedule evens out. Their ability to maintain strong possession numbers and special teams play should benefit their overall game and hopefully resolve some of the early issues playing close and with a lead. They do need more offensive balance throughout the lineup, and as always, goaltending needs to remain steadfast. Despite some of the early bumps, they’ve stayed in the playoff mix and close enough that a spot is still within reach with 60 games remaining.