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Goals Still At A Premium In Carolina

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Hurricanes will be looking for more goals from this new group than what was scored last season.

How much will the addition of Teuvo Teravainen help Carolina next season?
How much will the addition of Teuvo Teravainen help Carolina next season?
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Last summer, I attempted to compile a projection of how many goals I thought the present roster would score.  This was before the Hurricanes acquired Kris Versteeg and Joakim Nordstrom, who contributed about 20 goals between them.

I estimated a total of 222 "goals for" and the team actually scored 198, which left me woefully short of my lofty expectations.  Despite my shortcomings, I thought I would give this another try.

First of all, let's take a look at last year's projections and see where I went wrong.

2014-15 Career 2015-16 2015-16
Season Average projection Results difference
(82 games)
Eric Staal 23 30 28 10 -18
Jeff Skinner 18 28 25 28 3
Elias Lindholm 17 15 22 11 -11
Victor Rask 11 11 15 21 6
Chris Terry 11 14 15 8 -7
Nathan Gerbe 10 13 12 3 -9
Riley Nash 8 10 11 9 -2
Jay McClement 7 9 9 3 -6
Brad Malone 7 8 8 2 -6
Andrej Nestrasil 7 11 14 9 -5
Jordan Staal 6 20 17 20 3
Zach Boychuk 3 8 8 0 -8
128 167 184 124 -60
Justin Faulk 15 10 15 16 1
John-Michael Liles 2 9 4 6 2
Ron Hainsey 2 4 2 5 3
Michal Jordan 2 2 3 1 -2
James Wisniewski 8 8 8 0 -8
Ryan Murphy 4 6 6 0 -6
33 39 38 28 -10
Totals 161 206 222 152 -70

You can see that my main downfall was counting on Eric Staal to perform closer to his career average.  Thinking that since it was a contract year, I really felt he would step it up but I was 18 goals too high with my prediction on him alone.

Lindholm took a step back in the goal scoring department as well, from 17 his previous season to 11 last year.  Of course I put too much confidence in Gerbe, Malone, McClement, and Terry, who each regressed in production.

Skinner, Rask, and Jordan Staal were the only forwards who did better than I predicted.

On the blueline we had many new faces.  I was off primarily with Wisniewski and Murphy, neither of whom scored a goal last season.

Most of the Canes last year scored below their career averages, so that pretty much killed my chart and assumptions.

For this coming season, I'm trying to be more conservative and yet remain optimistic.  The biggest question is how much can the newcomers be expected to contribute?

Here is the chart for next year-

2015-16 career 2016-17
results average projection
(82 games)
Jeff Skinner 28 28 28
Jordan Staal 20 20 20
Victor Rask 21 18 24
Lee Stempniak 19 19 15
Elias Lindholm 11 14 15
Joakim Nordstrom 10 12 12
Andrej Nestrasil 9 11 12
Viktor Stalberg 11 14 12
Phillip Di Giuseppe 7 12 11
Teuvo Teravainen 13 13 17
Sebastian Aho 0 0 8
Bryan Bickell 0 8 4
Jay McClement 3 9 6
Justin Faulk 16 12 15
Noah Hanifin 4 6 6
Jaccob Slavin 2 3 3
Brett Pesce 4 6 5
Ron Hainsey 5 2 4
Ryan Murphy 0 4 3
7th guy 0 0 3

I am actually projecting about the same total number of goals that I projected last year, even though we have an upgraded lineup.  But hopefully, this will be more realistic.

Skinner is perfectly capable of 30 goals but I have him staying the same as last year, 28.

Jordan Staal should also stay near his career average of 20.

Rask is on an upswing and should continue on a positive trend.  I have him improving from 21 to 24.

Stempniak scored 19 last year and averages 19 per season, but let's say he drops off a bit to 15 next year as he gets accustomed to a new system.

Lindholm should be able to improve from his total of 11 last year.  I have him for 15.

Nordstrom and Nestrasil are both young and getting better.  They should both be able to increase production a bit and I have them both for slight improvements.

Stalberg has averaged 14 goals per 82 game season but he scored 11 last year so I put 12 in for him.

Di Giuseppe should improve as he plays more games.  He played in 41 last season and scored seven, I gave him 11 for next year.

The big question marks are coming up next.  Teravainen scored 13 last season.  We assume he will score more with an expanded role in Carolina.  I gave him 17.

Aho has yet to play an NHL game.  I gave him a total of eight goals.

Bickell played primarily in the AHL last season.  I gave him four goals, much lower than his career average.

McClement disappointed last season with a lowly three goals.  I am hoping he can double that, to six goals, which is still below his career average.

On the blueline, I was pretty much spot on with Faulk last year and I think he should do at least about the same.  I'm giving him one less goal at 15.

The other youngsters will probably play more games and should score more goals, I am giving each of them a slight up-tick.

Ryan Murphy had 10 assists but no goals last year.  I am projecting three for him.

Whomever the seventh man is, I am giving him three goals.

The total projection is 223, which should put the Canes in the playoffs, if their defensive stats hold steady.  Last season the Wings slipped into the playoffs with a total of 211 goals for and the Flyers had 214.

Still, this is pretty much borderline of where the Hurricanes need to be and does not leave much room for error.

Under Bill Peters, the defense has been solid and for the second year in a row, allowed an average of 27 shots on goal per game.  That is a tremendous stat, considering the number of minutes the three rookie defensemen played.

Shots League Goals League Shots League Goals League
Against Place Against Place For Place For Place
2015-16 27.6 5th 2.7 18th 29.9 14th 2.39 27th
2014-15 27.3 3rd 2.67 18th 30.8 12th 2.23 27th
2013-14 30.9 21st 2.76 19th 31.2 9th 2.5 22nd
2012-13 32.2 26th 3.31 29th 32.2 3rd 2.65 14th
2011-12 32.4 30th 2.89 25th 30.5 12th 2.58 16th
2010-11 33.2 30th 2.85 21st 30.7 13th 2.82 12th
2009-10 31.4 22nd 3.06 26th 29.3 21st 2.76 13th
2008-09 29.5 14th 2.7 8th 32.6 6th 2.88 16th
2007-08 28.9 16th 3 25th 32.5 2nd 3.05 5th
2006-07 28.5 9th 3.02 20th 31.2 8th 2.94 13th
2005-06 30.5 19th 3.15 20th 31.1 6th 3.49 3rd

One of the concerning stats here is that while under Peters, Carolina's offense scores at it's lowest point in the past decade, since before the Cup win.

Eric Staal did complain that the "system" here held back his scoring.  The stats here would seem to indicate that he had a point, even if the eye test does not.

The emphasis seems to be more on scoring this coming year, we will see how the team does.

Where do you think I went wrong with my projections this summer?


In other news, the prospects will be in town as development camp starts on Wednesday.  The youngsters will be on the ice at 5:30 Wednesday and Thursday at the PNC and the sessions are open to the public.

Camp will close out with a scrimmage and the Summerfest celebration on Saturday.

We will have reports covering camp as usual.