clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Carolina Hurricanes First Half Report Card: Forwards

Led by the trio of Svechnikov, Aho and Teravainen, here’s how every Canes forward stands after the first half of the season.

Carolina Hurricanes v Ottawa Senators Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

We’ve reached the All-Star break period of the NHL season, with every team having played a little over half of its schedule.

For the Hurricanes, the first half resulted in a 29-18-3 record, 61 points and somehow the fifth-place spot in the Metropolitan Division. The Canes would be a top-three team in every other division in hockey right now, but thanks to the gauntlet that is the Metro sit in the Eastern Conference’s second wild card spot.

While the Canes defensive corps gets a lot of love, as it should with Dougie Hamilton, Jaccob Slavin and company, the offensive group isn’t too shabby either. The Hurricanes’ young, incredibly skilled group of forwards has made big strides, led by the dynamic trio of Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen and Andrei Svechnikov.

Here’s a breakdown of how every forward that’s played a game with the Hurricanes this season has fared, along with a grade for their performance.

Sebastian Aho

Stat Line: 50 GP, 24 G, 18 A, 42 PTS., 19:19 ATOI, 57.32 CF%, 54.69 GF%, 53.36 xGF%

Now in his fourth NHL season, Aho is proving he belongs among the league’s elite. With 24 goals through 50 games, Aho is on pace to absolutely smash his career-best mark. Aho tallied a career-high 30 goals in 2018-19, and is on pace to finish this season with just over 39.

Aho currently sits 11th in the NHL in goals, and has been in and out of the top 10 all season. He’s been a reliable scorer for the Canes throughout the season, and has had a couple of crazy hot stretches. He scored five goals and seven points in a two-game stretch in mid-December, and also had a streak of seven goals in nine games during November.

He’s scored just once in the Canes’ last 10 games, but it’s fairly safe to assume he will bounce back from that stretch. If there’s one downside to the way Aho has played this year it’s that he isn’t filling the assist column like he has in the past. He’s at 18 assists through 50 games, which puts him on pace to have his lowest output since his rookie season.

Grade: A

Ryan Dzingel

Stat Line: 50 GP, 8 G, 19 A, 27 PTS., 14:39 ATOI, 50.00 CF%, 54.35 GF%, 46.86 xGF%

The Hurricanes signed Dzingel to a two-year deal this past offseason with the four-year veteran coming off a career-best 56-point season in 2018-19. Through 50 games with the Canes, Dzingel isn’t quite producing like he did a year ago, but he’s still been decent for the Hurricanes.

Dzingel is third on the Canes with 19 assists, and has added eight goals to that to put him at 27 points. His advanced stats are pretty average, but he’s playing solid third-line minutes and moving the puck pretty well.

Dzingel hasn’t been a revelation for the Canes by any means, but he’s been fairly solid on the third line and second power-play unit.

Grade: C+

Warren Foegele

Stat Line: 50 GP, 10 G, 12 A, 22 PTS., 13:51 ATOI, 55.29 CF%, 56.00 GF%, 58.44 xGF%

Through 50 games of the 2019-20 season, Foegele is having a breakout year. In just his second full season in the NHL, Foegele has already set career highs in pretty much every stat. He had 15 points in 77 games during his rookie campaign, and he is already up to 22 this year.

His 10 goals have already matched his rookie effort, and his 12 assists are more than double his 2018-19 output in roughly 70 percent of the games played. He’s playing over 13 minutes per game, his advanced stats are very good and he’s producing at a level that really wasn’t expected after a fairly pedestrian rookie outing.

Foegele has stayed in the Canes’ top two lines, and he’s also been a solid penalty killer for Carolina. His three shorthanded goals are tied for the NHL lead, along with Aho and others.

He’s played a lot with Aho and Teuvo Teravainen, which will help anyone’s numbers, but his output has been quite great. Foegele is proving he belongs on the ice in the NHL, and is maybe proving he’s a top-six forward moving forward in his career.

Grade: B+

Erik Haula

Stat Line: 30 GP, 11 G, 8 A, 19 PTS., 16:05 ATOI, 49.19 CF%, 55.17 GF%, 46.41 xGF%

It’s been an up-and-down year for Haula, who the Canes acquired in a trade for Nicolas Roy this past offseason. He’s scored 11 goals with eight assists in 30 games, but he’s battled injuries and some incredibly tough off-ice personal things.

He started the season on an absolute tear, scoring seven goals in the Hurricanes’ first nine games of the year. However, Haula was forced to miss over a month of action in November and December with a knee injury, and the production hasn’t quite been there since. He scored three goals in his first four games back from injury, but he’s been held scoreless through his last nine.

He’s picked up just two points over those nine games, and was relegated to a healthy scratch in Carolina’s most recent contest. At times, Haula has been a hugely productive asset for the Canes. At others, he’s stalled thanks in major part to some bad injury luck and personal battles.

Despite the injuries and slumps, Haula looks like he could still put together the second-most productive season of his NHL career. He’s been a good player for Carolina and a welcome offseason addition.

Grade: B-

Jordan Martinook

Stat Line: 34 GP, 2 G, 8 A, 10 PTS., 11:26 ATOI, 53.30 CF%, 39.13 GF%, 51.50 xGF%

Martinook suffered an early injury this year, playing in the Canes’ first four games before getting hurt and missing the next 15. In his 34 games, he has two goals and eight assists, playing mostly as a center on the bottom two lines.

His goal-scoring production hasn’t been great, and he’s not likely to finish anywhere near the 15 goals he had in his first season in Carolina. His eight assists are not bad, though, and he should definitely reach double-digit assists for the fourth time in his last five seasons.

He’s hit a particularly rough dry spell as of late, as he has no points in the Canes’ last six games and just one assist in Carolina’s last 10. As a center, he’s winning more faceoffs than he’s losing, and he’s also played some on penalty kill units.

Martinook was never going to be a guy that scored a ton, but two goals through 34 games is a bit low. He’s a solid third- or fourth-line piece for the Canes, who doesn’t necessarily hurt Carolina when he’s on the ice.

Grade: C-

Brock McGinn

Stat Line: 50 GP, 4 G, 6 A, 10 PTS., 13:07 ATOI, 53.97 CF%, 42.11 GF%, 54.76 xGF%

In the 2018-19 season, McGinn provided Hurricanes fans with their greatest moment in well over a decade. He netted a double-overtime winner in Game 7 to beat the Capitals in the first round of the playoffs, sparking a playoff run that would take Carolina all the way to the Eastern Conference finals.

However, McGinn hasn’t quite done anything that exciting on the ice this season. He has just four goals and six assists through 50 games, and is well off pace to match the pretty productive seasons he’s had over the past two years. In 2017-18, McGinn had a career-best 30 points thanks to 16 goals and 14 assists. Last season, he reached 26 points with 10 goals and 16 assists.

His production is down a bit. He’s on pace for a little over six goals and almost 10 assists, a significant step back from his other two full seasons in the league. He’s registered just one point in the Canes’ last 12 games, and hasn’t scored a goal since the first half of December.

He’s playing less time than he has the past two years, and he’s been significantly less productive. His shooting percentage is way down from where it’s been throughout his career, and he just hasn’t been the threat that the Canes would have hoped for.

Grade: D+

Martin Necas

Stat Line: 46 GP, 12 G, 15 A, 27 PTS., 14:00 ATOI, 52.13 CF%, 51.16 GF%, 48.80 xGF%

Necas is putting together quite the rookie season. After playing in eight games over the past two years, Necas earned a spot on the Canes’ roster out of camp and hasn’t looked back. He’s scored 12 goals to go along with 15 assists, putting him fifth in points among the NHL’s rookies. He’s third in goals and seventh in assists.

Necas has come out of the gate and proven he’s an undeniable NHL talent. When he’s on, he’s pretty special. He’s a guy that can score the puck and set other ups, and he’s proven that throughout the season. For example, here’s quite the individual effort to get himself on the goal sheet.

He can score, but he’s also a gifted passer. His assists are oftentimes stunning, and with 15 of them, he’s given the Canes some great production on that front. From a November overtime win over Buffalo, here’s Necas doing absolutely everything to set up Dougie Hamilton.

Necas has been a real gift to the Canes this year, and his future is something Carolina fans should be ecstatic about after watching him play. He’s a special talent that’s a big part of the Canes’ outstanding young corps.

Grade: A

Nino Niederreiter

Stat Line: 50 GP, 6 G, 16 A, 22 PTS., 15:04 ATOI, 56.47 CF%, 46.81 GF%, 54.82 xGF%

Niederreiter was the surprise of 2018-19 for the Canes. Acquired in a trade from Minnesota midway through the season, Niederreiter came on the scene in Raleigh and scored 14 goals with 16 assists in just 36 games.

Niederreiter was never going to replicate that production, and he certainly hasn’t. Through 50 games with the Canes this year, he has six goals and 16 assists while playing more than 15 minutes per game.

He’s been a serviceable top-six guy for the Hurricanes, but his production hasn’t been outstanding. He had a great stretch in December where he had 10 points in 10 games, but he’s had just one goal and one assist since the calendar flipped to January.

Niederreiter hasn’t done anything super special for the Canes, but he’s by no means been bad.

Grade: C

Jordan Staal

Stat Line: 50 GP, 7 G, 11 A, 18 PTS., 18:05 ATOI, 56.35 CF%, 48.89 GF%, 59.11 xGF%

Staal was given the ‘C’ prior to the season, and he’s been a staple at center on the Canes’ top two lines. He’s stayed healthy, which isn’t something he’s had a huge amount of success at in his career, and he’s compiled 18 points through 50 games.

The 50 games he’s played for Carolina equals the number he played all of the 2018-19 season, and his production is down. He had 11 goals and 17 assists, good for 28 points, over 50 games last season, and all three of those numbers are down this year.

While that production is down, Staal is still doing a lot of things rights. He leads the Canes with 102 hits, almost 20 more than anyone else, and he has the second-base faceoff percentage at 54.9 percent. He’s captained a team to a strong first 50 games, and he does a lot more for the group than what you can take off a stat sheet.

Grade: C+

Andrei Svechnikov

Stat Line: 50 GP, 19 G, 26 A, 45 PTS., 16:39 ATOI, 57.53 CF%, 59.02 GF%, 58.64 xGF%

Svechnikov’s rookie season was something to behold, and wow has his follow-up not disappointed. In just his second year in the league, Svechnikov is showing he’s well on his way to becoming a superstar in the NHL for years to come.

He’s already at 19 goals and 26 assists through 50 games, second on the Canes in points to only Teuvo Teravainen. He already has nine more assists in 32 less games than he did a year ago, and he’s one goal away from matching his rookie output.

Svechnikov still hasn’t hit his 20th birthday, and he’s already a bona fide top-six forward for the Canes. He’s fourth among the forwards in average time on ice, and his production both scoring and assisting has been phenomenal.

The numbers speak for themselves, but they don’t do justice to the things Svechnikov has been able to do. Any fan of hockey who hasn’t been living under a rock has seen the two biggest Svechnikov highlights, but any excuse to show them again is worth taking.

On October 29, Svechnikov became the first player in NHL history to successfully score a lacrosse-style goal, beating David Rittich to tie the game in the third period (by the way, Svechnikov scored again in the third to win that game, though in much less impressive fashion).

Apparently being the only guy in NHL history to accomplish the feat wasn’t enough for Svechnikov, he needed to be the only guy to do it twice as well.

There aren’t enough good things you can say about Svechnikov, so we’ll leave it there.

Grade: A+

Teuvo Teravainen

Stat Line: 50 GP, 10 G, 38 A, 48 PTS., 19:10 ATOI, 58.50 CF%, 62.26 GF%, 54.34 xGF%

A huge piece of the Hurricanes’ young offensive corps, Teravainen just continues to get better in his seventh NHL season and fourth with Carolina. Teravainen leads the Canes in points thanks to a staggering 38 assists, which puts him on pace to break his career high set two years ago by over seven apples.

He’s top 10 in the NHL in assists so far this year, and he got some recognition for that as a member of the All-Star Game’s Last Men In vote. Teravainen is the best pure passer on the Hurricanes, and he shows that skill game after game. I mean, just look at this.

That ridiculous pass is just one of at least 40 passes Teravainen has made this year that has dropped jaws, as his ability to move the puck is completely mesmerizing. The goal scoring numbers are down a bit for Teravainen, who has eclipsed 20 goals in each of the last two seasons, but he does have three goals in the Canes’ last 10 games.

What Teravainen is lacking in finding the net himself, he has more than made up for with his ability to set up teammates. Teravainen has been incredible for Carolina all season, probably should have been an All-Star and will likely continue building on what looks to be his most productive season of his career in the second half.

Grade: A+

Lucas Wallmark

Stat Line: 50 GP, 10 G, 12 A, 22 PTS., 13:11 ATOI, 53.31 CF%, 47.50 GF%, 54.29 xGF%

Wallmark is now in his second full NHL season, and he’s been a really solid center for the Canes. With 10 goals and 12 assists through 50 games, Wallmark has already matched his 81-game goal total from last year and is nearly there in assists. As a center, he’s winning more than 50 percent of his faceoffs.

Wallmark isn’t the most mesmerizing player on the ice, but he’s very good. He had a seven-game point streak in December, and has actually scored 14 of his 22 points in the Canes’ last 25 games.

You can’t ask for much more from a bottom-six center than Wallmark has given the Canes. He also scored the first goal of the season, so that’s worth something.

Grade: B-

Justin Williams

Stat Line: 2 GP, 2 G, 0 A, 2 PTS., 12:26 ATOI, 54.55 CF%, 100.00 GF%, 55.65 xGF%

There’s really only one grade to give Justin Williams so far, right? The former Canes captain made his return to the team in Carolina’s 49th game of the year, and has now played twice heading into the All-Star break.

In those two games, Williams has two goals as well as a shootout winner. In his season debut against the Islanders, Williams played the hero late in the shootout to win it for the Canes. In game two, he scored twice for Carolina in a 4-1 win over the Jets.

Williams provides so much more than just what he does on the ice, but so far the production in game has been good as well. Obviously the sample size is super small on Williams, but so far, so good for the veteran.

Grade: A+