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About Last Season: Lee Stempniak Performance Review and Grade

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After being signed as a free agent last summer, Stempniak provided a consistent, veteran presence on a young roster.

Jamie Kellner

Lee Stempniak: 2016-17 By the Numbers

  • Age: 34
  • NHL Seasons: 12
  • Games Played: 82
  • Scoring: 16 goals, 24 assists, 40 points
  • Ice Time per Game: 15:50 in all situations, 13:52 ES, 1:57 PP, 0:49 PK
  • 5-on-5 Stats: 50.07% CF, 51.61% GF
  • Contract Status: Completed first year of two-year, $5,000,000 contract.

Making the Grade

Stempniak joined the Hurricanes on July 1st, 2016 as Ron Francis snapped up the veteran top-nine forward on the first day of free agency, fresh off his best statistical season since 2006-07. With such a young roster, the New York native was brought in to provide valuable guidance to a developing forward group and chip in with secondary scoring. In addition to his on-ice talent, Stempniak’s contract provided GM Ron Francis a ton of flexibility as a potential trade chip at the trade deadline, or as a forward to expose in the expansion draft that was looming in the summer of 2017.

He wasted no time endearing himself to Canes fans early in the season, putting up a two-point performance in the team’s opener in Winnipeg, and posting six points on Carolina’s six-game road trip to open their 2016-17 campaign. Throughout the year, Stempniak found himself alongside Jeff Skinner for the majority of his shifts, producing 23 of his 40 points while on the ice with the dynamic winger. The veteran forward played a large role in Skinner’s best year statistically since his Calder Trophy winning season of 2010-11.

His 40 points were a drop off from his 2015-16 form for New Jersey and Boston where he scored 19 times and added 32 assists, but Stempniak provided the kind of offensive punch that was expected of him when he was signed over the summer. He was a consistent factor in the Hurricanes lineup as one of four forwards who played in all 82 games and was at his best down the stretch with 13 points in his final 24 games while Carolina was pushing for the playoffs.

Looking forward, Stempniak has another season left on his current contract that runs through 2017-18. Whether or not he plays that final season in a Canes jersey remains to be seen. As a team needing to reach the salary floor, Stempniak’s $2.5 million contract for next season would provide good value, and by all accounts he would continue to be a good veteran presence in the locker room as the team continues to grow. However, depending on how Las Vegas decides to structure their roster, he could also be a candidate to be selected in the expansion draft next month.


Exit Interview


Poll

How do you grade Lee Stempniak’s 2016-17 season?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    A - significantly outperformed expectations
    (17 votes)
  • 31%
    B - outperformed expectations
    (70 votes)
  • 57%
    C - met expectations
    (129 votes)
  • 3%
    D - underperformed expectations
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    F - significantly underperformed expectations
    (0 votes)
223 votes total Vote Now