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About Last Season: Final Grades for the 2016-17 Hurricanes

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School’s out, so it’s time to hand out final grades along with a few superlatives.

Jamie Kellner

Last season we built a couple of new venues for readers to weigh in on player performance. And weigh in you did. Our Rank ‘em polls featured in our game recaps averaged almost 1,000 votes per game, and About Last Season individual player assessments averaged almost 300 votes per player. That’s a ton of feedback and it’s very much appreciated. Thanks to everyone who took time to share votes along with your comments. Here are the results of your voting.

For About Last Season, we calculated GPA on a 4.0 scale (4.0 being perfect and 2.0 being average). For Rank ‘em, results were ranked based on best overall vote differential (total upvotes minus total downvotes) per game played.

Only players with at least 10 games played were evaluated. We excluded Ron Hainsey and Viktor Stalberg from grade voting due to trades, and Bryan Bickell was excluded due to his unique medical situation. All three are included in the final Ranker summaries for comparison purposes.

For ease of reading, the full tables are located at the end of the article.


First, a Few Superlatives

Valedictorian - Could it be anyone but Jaccob Slavin? Over 80% of our readers gave the sophomore defenseman an ‘A’ for significantly outperforming expectations, and over 90% of his total Ranker votes were positive. Most impressively, from game to game his votes never wavered, reflecting his ability to perform at an exceptional level against the toughest competition on a consistent basis.

Most Likely to Succeed - At just 19 years old and in his first season in North America, rookie Sebastian Aho played in all 82 games, ranked second on the team in goals and points, and improved all aspects of his game as the season progressed. He received the most overall votes in game recap voting and was second most voted for his end of season grade, and ranked just below Slavin in GPA and vote differential.

Most Popular - 70% of readers voted Eddie Lack ’s overall performance as worthy of a ‘D’ grade or worse, yet fans showed up in droves when the affable Swede played well in net. Aside from a one-time voting anomaly in Bryan Bickell’s last game which skewed all of his stats, Lack received more votes per game played than any other player, and 77% of the votes he received during the season were positive.

Best Dressed - Jeff Skinner rose to the occasion when he was awarded an ‘A’ on his sweater. A career-best and team-leading 37 goals, Skinner took over many a game and his leadership on and off the ice led more than a few fans to petition for an upgrade to the captaincy. He was the only alternate captain to receive mostly ‘A’ grades in the season wrap-up and was a consistent top-five player in recap voting.

Most Improved - Elias Lindholm got off to a rocky start, without a goal until mid-November, and it showed in recap rankings. Once he discovered his ability to be a primary assist machine, he moved from the bottom to the top. His per game positive votes increased by over 20 percentage points between Nov. 20 and the end of the season and over 60% of voters gave him a ‘B’ or better for a final grade.

National Honor Society - In addition to Slavin, Aho, and Skinner, Brett Pesce deserves accolades as he joins the rarified air of players that far exceeded expectations. All four weighed in with a GPA greater than 3.40, and Pesce ranked just a notch below Slavin in overall percentage of positive votes received (88%).


On The Other Hand

Sophomore Slump - While Slavin and Pesce showed no signs of fading in their second season, Noah Hanifin did not fare as well, struggling for a good part of the season before finding his way after the trade deadline. While his overall grade reflects his late improvement (90% of his grade votes were ‘met expectations’ or better), Hanifin holds the dubious honor of receiving more total downvotes than any other player in game recap voting.

Truancy Office - Victor Rask showed up at the beginning of the semester but then he disappeared. He finished the season with decent scoring stats but was a non-factor for much of the latter part of the season, and boy did it show in his GPA. 55% of voters gave him a ‘D’, and his per game vote differential dropped from 67 to 19 between November and the end of the season.

Dress Code Violations - Over 50% of voters said Jordan Staal and Justin Faulk ‘met expectations’ in their end of season grades, and both ranked in the middle in game recap voting as well. Neither had what you would call a bad season, but one might like to see a bit more leadershipping given that the captaincy was vacant and waiting for someone to grab hold.


A Final Observation

The Canes lost more games than they won last season, some in epic fashion. Despite that, over 70% of the total Rank ‘em votes were upvotes, and after the trade deadline that number went up to 76%. The 10 most-voted games were eight wins and the two overtime losses that started the season. The 10 least-voted games were all losses. You all made a point to recognize good performances over bad, which spoils the narrative a bit about fan forums being all about the complaints. But beyond that, it may also be an indication that overall, most Canes fans are supportive of the overall direction in which the Canes roster is headed, and that bodes well for the future.


About Last Season - Player Grades

Honor Roll

Player GPA Total Votes
Player GPA Total Votes
Slavin, Jaccob 3.794 344
Aho, Sebastian 3.493 475
Skinner, Jeff 3.461 497
Pesce, Brett 3.403 288
Ryan, Derek 2.979 280
Lindholm, Elias 2.684 272
(60% of grade is A or B)

Congratulations, You Passed

Player GPA Total Votes
Player GPA Total Votes
Stempniak, Lee 2.435 223
Staal, Jordan 2.328 296
McGinn, Brock 2.301 193
Faulk, Justin 2.241 336
Hanifin, Noah 2.213 333
Teravainen, Teuvo 2.112 294
Tennyson, Matt 1.790 157
Dahlbeck, Klas 1.760 279
Nordstrom, Joakim 1.677 164
(60% of grade is B or C)

Summer School Recommended

Player GPA Total Votes
Player GPA Total Votes
Brown, Patrick 1.602 171
Ward, Cam 1.580 352
Di Giuseppe, Phil 1.486 282
Rask, Victor 1.441 299
McClement, Jay 1.429 163
Lack, Eddie 1.105 277
Nestrasil, Andrej 0.632 182
Murphy, Ryan 0.475 303
(60% of grade is C or lower)

Final Rank ‘em Standings

Player Games Played Upvotes Downvotes Vote Differential Votes/GP Vote Diff/GP
Player Games Played Upvotes Downvotes Vote Differential Votes/GP Vote Diff/GP
Slavin, Jaccob 82 4226 467 3759 57.23 45.84
Bickell, Bryan 11 655 173 482 75.27 43.82
Aho, Sebastian 82 4246 750 3496 60.93 42.63
Pesce, Brett 82 3823 521 3302 52.98 40.27
Lack, Eddie 20 1118 335 783 72.65 39.15
Skinner, Jeff 79 3717 913 2804 58.61 35.49
Lindholm, Elias 72 3168 899 2269 56.49 31.51
Staal, Jordan 75 3055 859 2196 52.19 29.28
Stalberg, Viktor 57 2053 592 1461 46.40 25.63
McGinn, Brock 57 1942 512 1430 43.05 25.09
Di Giuseppe, Phil 36 1285 418 867 47.31 24.08
Ward, Cam 61 2609 1283 1326 63.80 21.74
Teravainen, Teuvo 81 2838 1107 1731 48.70 21.37
Stempniak, Lee 82 2604 1021 1583 44.21 19.30
Rask, Victor 82 2780 1213 1567 48.70 19.11
Faulk, Justin 75 2449 1304 1145 50.04 15.27
Tennyson, Matt 45 1180 508 672 37.51 14.93
Ryan, Derek 67 1828 828 1000 39.64 14.93
Hanifin, Noah 81 2427 1373 1054 46.91 13.01
Nordstrom, Joakim 82 1945 1219 726 38.59 8.85
Brown, Patrick 14 288 205 83 35.21 5.93
Dahlbeck, Klas 43 1025 811 214 42.70 4.98
Nestrasil, Andrej 19 393 316 77 37.32 4.05
McClement, Jay 65 1329 1175 154 38.52 2.37
Hainsey, Ron 56 1230 1345 -115 45.98 -2.05
Murphy, Ryan 27 358 776 -418 42.00 -15.48
Ranking is based on Vote Differential per Game Played