The Hurricanes have had a noisy offseason thus far, and two of the highest profile newcomers are Erik Haula and Ryan Dzingel. Both are forwards who can jump into the lineup and add primary and secondary offense immediately. Let’s take a look at what we can expect from the new Hurricanes.
Haula is a 28-year-old Finn who had success in a depth forward role in Minnesota prior to his selection by Vegas in the 2017 expansion draft. Like a lot of players on the Golden Knights in their first season, he had a career year. He tallied 29 points and 55 points and looked to be thriving in a bigger role. He unfortunately went down in November of last season and sustained what George McPhee described as an “atypical injury for hockey.” Whatever it was, it required surgery and kept him out for the remainder of the season and playoffs.
TRADE— dom luszczyszyn (@domluszczyszyn) June 27, 2019
Hurricanes: Erik Haula
Golden Knights: Nicolas Roy
Haula is a strong all-around player that should fit well in Carolina's middle six, and didn't cost a 1st and 3rd from a bottom-feeder to acquire. pic.twitter.com/M8Jm4ICFlR
There was some question about Haula’s ability to repeat his career 2017-18 season again last year, but he appeared on track for another very solid showing before going down in November. Through nearly 200 minutes of time on ice, he posted a Corsi For Percentage of 61.79%, a Goals For Percentage of 57.14%, and a Scoring Chances For Percentage of 62.30%.
The biggest question mark for Haula this season is how he will respond from a gruesome knee injury. It has the potential to seriously inhibit his play, which is part of the reason why the Hurricanes were able to pick him up at a relatively good price. Assuming he bounces back in serviceable condition, Haula will fill a desperately needed role is a middle six center in Carolina. His solid possession play makes him a good fit here in Raleigh, and he will likely be relied on to center the Hurricanes “second” line.
Dzingel is a middle six winger who quietly had 26 goals last season. The Hurricanes were able to pick him up on a team friendly, two year deal at $3.25 million AAV. Justin Williams’ future in Carolina still in question, so this signing gives the Hurricanes some scoring depth should the captain choose not to return next season.
Ryan Dzingel (2x3.4m) is a defensively weak forward with a lethal shot. pic.twitter.com/TWHhKoUEuo— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) July 12, 2019
As shown above, there is some question regarding his defensive game, but he has a career shooting percentage of 15 percent — that’s significantly above league average. He’s not a particularly strong possession guy, and he’s not the type of winger who’s going to be driving offensive play. John Tortorella was aware of this — the winger’s offensive zone start percentage was above 66%. This speaks to his knack for scoring as well as his perceived defensive shortcomings.
Dzingel is the type of guy that has both speed and skill in bunches and should be good for 20 goals this season playing on the second or third line. His defensive game appears to be a bit of a liability, so we shouldn’t expect for him to be a workhorse in all situations. When used in an appropriate role, his presence in the lineup will bring necessary secondary scoring and improve matchups for the rest of the top nine.