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About Last Season: Joel Edmundson Performance Review and Grade

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Joel Edmundson brought much needed defensive stability to a young Carolina Hurricanes blue line

Carolina Hurricanes v New York Islanders
Carolina Hurricanes Joel Edmundson
Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images

Joel Edmundson 2019-20 By the Numbers

  • Age: 27
  • NHL Seasons: 5
  • Games Played: 68
  • Scoring: 7 goals, 13 assists, 20 points
  • Average Ice Time: 15:37 ES, 0:01 PP, 2:48 SH
  • Contract: Pending unrestricted free agent

Joel Edmundson was acquired by the Carolina Hurricanes in the deal that sent Justin Faulk to the St Louis Blues. Like Faulk, Edmundson is on the last season of his contract, but unlike Faulk, he does not have a new contract. Edmundson was a locker room favorite for the defending champs and played a large role for them.

Edmundson could not be more of a polar opposite than his trade counterpart in Faulk. Edmundson is not a puck-wielding offensive defenseman; he is a stay at home defensive defenseman, something that the Canes needed to add to the team. He hits, he blocks shots, and more importantly eats up defensive zone starts, and penalty kill minutes.

When you look at the numbers on face value, Edmundson has the second lowest Corsi of current Hurricanes that have played at least 10 games. His 50.7% is the worst of all defensemen and only better than Ryan Dzingel on the team. But when you look at how he is used it makes sense why it is so low.

He has the second lowest offensive zone start percentage on the team at just 46.8%. This means that he is being used overwhelmingly in the defensive zone. Looking even further you would expect another defenseman to be close to him since he is starting on the ice with his defensive partner. His most common partner, Brett Pesce, is still at a 51% OZ meaning they sometimes split the pairing when there is an offensive zone faceoff, leaving Edmundson to mop up in his own zone.

When you look at the most-used pairings in the defensive zone, they all include Joel Edmundson whether it’s with Pesce, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Jaccob Slavin or Haydn Fleury. So with that much use in the defensive zone, you expect to see more shot attempts against or negative Corsi events and expect a lack of positive Corsi events. With this in mind, it is extremely impressive to still have positive possession rates with this deployment.

Even with his defensive deployment he is also having the best season of his career offensively with seven goals and 13 assists for 20 points. This ties his career high goals in a season from 2017-2018 and is three more points than he has had in a season with the Blues. His 20 points are the fourth most for a defenseman on the Canes, two more than Brett Pesce and six more than Haydn Fleury.

We have also seen the benefit he brings off the score sheet. He brings valuable veteran leadership. We saw the value of this last season with Justin Williams taking control of the locker room and the stability he brought to the forward group.

However, the Canes haven’t had a player like that on the blueline really since Ron Hainsey. You could see the effects of Hainsey on the ice; he was able to get the most out of Justin Faulk on the ice and was able to help mentor the young defenseman. Without his safety net, Faulk’s numbers dropped.

You can see this with Fleury having the best season of his young career. He has been able to come out of his shell and play with more confidence than he has done in the past with a 52.7% Corsi while paired up with Edmondson, and Fleury more than doubling his career points in just 45 games this season. Edmundson’s defensive abilities allow Fleury to wheel in the offensive zone and jump into more rushes while knowing he has someone that can back him up and bail him out in these situations, much like the Faulk-Hainsey scenario.

Looking forward, the Canes don’t have much to lose in contract negotiations with the veteran defenseman. At 27 he is looking for his first big pay day from his first UFA contract. The Canes can try to talk him into a lower deal like they have been able to with defensemen in the last two off seasons. If they can’t come to a good agreement for the team, they still have five, likely six, defensemen signed for next season. The Hurricanes can walk away from the table at any point with no pressure.

Poll

How would you grade Joel Edmundson’s 2019-20 regular season?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    A - Outstanding Performance
    (5 votes)
  • 58%
    B - Above Average Performance
    (93 votes)
  • 37%
    C - Average Performance
    (59 votes)
  • 0%
    D - Below Average Performance
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    F - Significantly Below Average Performance
    (1 vote)
159 votes total Vote Now