The Carolina Hurricanes made many moves this offseason. So many, in fact, that you may have forgotten about Josh Jooris, a second component of the Canes’ new-look bottom six and penalty kill.
Jooris came to Raleigh by way of free agency, signing a one year contract that will pay him $775,000 at the NHL level. The undrafted free agent out of Union College has three seasons of NHL experience on his resume, spending two seasons with the Calgary Flames and splitting time between the New York Rangers and Arizona Coyotes last season.
Jooris has historically been a bottom-six forward that has the flexibility to switch between center and right wing. He registered 12 points in 54 games between the Rangers and Coyotes last season.
When looking at the underlying numbers, this signing is a head-scratcher on Ron Francis’ part, who typically values analytics over “grit.” Jooris had an abysmal 35.9 CF% with the Rangers, and the change of scenery to Arizona didn’t bode well for the 27-year old as he finished with a 38.3 CF%.
He does, however, generate many shots on net. The change of scenery from Broadway to the desert saw his shots through percentage jump 16 percent. He has historically been around 48 percent from the face-off circle for his career.
Don’t expect Jooris to outperform his previous performances. Even 15 points would be a successful season for Jooris and welcome production on part of the Canes. But will he solidify a spot in the bottom six by the end of training camp?
Currently, the fourth line seems the only logical place for him but he will face ample competition for a spot. Marcus Kruger has all but marked his name in pen as the fourth-line center. That leaves both wing positions available.
Joakim Nordstrom and Brock McGinn have proven themselves valuable bottom six forwards in the NHL. Phil Di Giuseppe could also be a viable candidate for a fourth-line role after his production in Charlotte as well as with the ‘Canes.
Ultimately, Jooris is the new guy and will need to prove his worth in training camp and preseason games in order to find his way on to the roster. He could soon be destined for time in the AHL or being waived early into the season.