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Should he stay or should he go? How Seth Jarvis is proving his case to the Canes

The Carolina Hurricanes’ 19-year old rookie has been having an impressive start to his NHL career, which just may earn him a more permanent stay.

Arizona Coyotes v Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images

At every step of the way, Seth Jarvis has made a lasting impression.

The Carolina Hurricanes’ 2020 first-round pick had 166 points in 154 games in juniors with the Portland Winterhawks, was leading the AHL in scoring while the WHL’s start was delayed for the 2020-21 season, was the leading scorer for the Hurricanes at the Tampa Bay prospect tournament this year, and then he made the Canes’ 23-man roster out of training camp.

Now, after sitting out the first seven games of the season, he is playing on Carolina’s top line and contributing all over the ice.

There weren’t many who thought he’d break into Carolina’s lineup this easily — myself included — but there is no denying the fact that Jarvis looks like he now belongs in the NHL.

Jarvis’ Stats

Opponent G A Pts CF% HDCF TOI PPTOI Shots
Opponent G A Pts CF% HDCF TOI PPTOI Shots
Arizona Coyotes 0 1 1 61.11% 6 10:01 3:32 0
@Chicago Blackhawks 1 0 1 55.56% 2 9:14 0:00 1
@Florida Panthers 0 0 0 68.42% 4 15:28 3:46 4
@Tampa Bay Lightning 0 0 0 61.11% 2 12:49 3:01 1
Philadelphia Flyers 0 0 0 54.55% 3 13:41 2:04 0
St. Louis Blues 0 0 0 48.48% 2 18:43 0:47 1

Even in just his first game, he was noticeable. In fact, his line was the most noticeable one out on the ice. According to NaturalStatTrick.com, the line of Jarvis, Derek Stepan and Steven Lorentz generated more high-danger chances (5) than any other line that night.

“[Jarvis] doesn’t look much like a rookie to me,” said Rod Brind’Amour after a 2-1 win against Arizona, Jarvis’ first game. “He was great. First game with no nerves at all. I think that’s what makes him special. He’s out there at the end, on the power play and in big, huge moments making plays. It was a great game for him, especially for a first one.”

For a kid to have that sort of immediate impact, it is a very promising sign.

So What Does He Bring?

If Jarvis is known for one thing, it’s his offensive ability. Outside of a great shot and excellent vision and passing, there are a ton of subtle skills he has in his toolbox that allows him to excel.

And the numbers back up that statement as according to NaturalStatTrick.com, per 60*, Jarvis has generated the highest amount of chances and high-danger chances and the second most scoring chances and has the second highest expected goals for total.

*Stats are per 60 to account for playing less than half the amount of games as the rest of the team.

I’ve clipped most of Jarvis’ notable offensive shifts below to help give you more of an idea of the types of plays he’s making that don’t always show up on the stat sheet.

He has tremendous skating ability and the hands to match — especially in tight where he is able to make plays despite opposing pressure — but what really makes him special is his on-ice intelligence.

Hockey IQ is always one of those buzzword terms that gets thrown around a lot with prospects, but it really is just the ability to read the game and anticipate the flow around you and it is extremely noticeable in Jarvis’ game.

But when you can combine that intelligence with high-end physical talent, that’s when magic starts to happen.

Just like the play he made for his first NHL goal.

After a puck battle ensues near the corner, Jarvis sees the Chicago defenseman start to creep in and he activates from his spot in middle of the ice and heads straight towards the wall to cut off the outlet.

He intercepts the pass and from there just out paces the defender to the net. A subtle play Jarvis is making here is that he uses his stick to push the puck forward rather than handling it which further increased the distance between the defender and the puck.

“It’s a goal that says a lot about the talent he has,” said Jarvis’ linemate, Derek Stepan. “His ability to skate and his breakaway speed. That’s rare to find. He makes a great play and a good read. It started in his own end, which is a big part of this thing, and he was able to make offense out of it. High-level talent and a high-level goal.”

All high-level... except for maybe the finish.

“Well, for the sake of this, I’m going to say it was on purpose,” Jarvis said about his scoring move, “but I can’t say that very confidently.”

Jarvis is also not afraid to go to the “hard” areas of the ice: along the boards, behind the net and in front of the crease. Despite being one of the smaller guys — 5’10” and 180lbs — Jarvis attacks those areas with regularity and that’s a big reason why he is generating so many high-danger chances.

Another small, but important, plus for Jarvis is the fact that he hasn’t taken a single penalty (yet), which is good to see from someone on a team that is currently the second most penalized in the league per 60 (4.9 penalties per 60).

Even more to his credit, he’s drawn three calls against opposing teams with his skating and pressure in those tight areas of the ice.

Power Play Production

Props to the coaching staff for knowing what they have and capitalizing on it. Jarvis was given the chance to play on the power play right away and there was none of that, “give it to the guys that have been here,” stuff, thank goodness.

His initial utilization on the power play was limited as he was the high forward on the blueline and had limited opportunity to be creative, as shown here in his first ever power play shift with the Hurricanes.

However, he did luck into his first NHL point playing that assignment when he set up Brett Pesce for the late, game-winner against the Arizona Coyotes.

But Jarvis is at his best when he is able to use his skating and hockey IQ to create space and opportunities not only for himself, but his teammates as well.

We were afforded a glimpse of what he can do in the game against the Philadelphia Flyers where the absence of Martin Necas, the primary facilitator of the second power play unit, allowed Jarvis to be the primary option.

He set up two high-grade chances and his skating and hands were opening up even more chances. Jarvis should be afforded additional chances to facilitate the power play even with Necas back.

A Bit of Bad Luck

Jarvis currently has just one goal and two points in six NHL appearances and this would be a good and expected amount of production for a 19-year old, but the fact is that Jarvis could have many more at this point.

Not just chances that his teammates couldn’t finish, but multiple goals that have been waved off as well.

Again?

“It’s unfortunate,” Brind’Amour said after a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues, where Jarvis had his second straight disallowed goal. “What do you say about it? It’s tough luck right now. But again, whether you’re getting those goals or not, that’s really not what’s giving him, for me, the confidence in playing him. He’s doing other things. He’s been good.”

And that’s what’s been important to keep in mind with Jarvis. If you’re just looking at the stat sheet when it comes to how you judge his game, you’re missing the forest for the trees.

The Other Side of the Puck

When you have an offensively gifted prospect, usually the short coming for them is their defensive game. Now, this is by no means to say that Jarvis has been a lockdown defender, but you can see how he utilizes his hockey IQ to steal pucks and prevent chances against.

Again, I’ve compiled a good amount of notable defensive plays that the rookie has made.

His biggest contributions on the defensive side so far have been stick plays. He’s blocking shots, picking off passes and stealing pucks right off of opponents sticks.

Jarvis isn’t out there hustling straight to the puck every shift, but he is instead taking time to read plays and anticipate where the puck will be going and so far it is working out for him.

And actually, to be honest, he is making those dig-in defensive plays as well. Throwing the body in front of two Colton Parayko slapshots in a tied game, going into scrums along the end boards to battle for a loose puck, or taking hits to clear the zone. Jarvis is doing what is expected of anybody else on the team and that’s an important key, especially for this team’s mantra.

There are times where he will cycle out of the zone a bit too early to try and set up a rush chance or times where he will turn it over near the blueline trying to be a bit too fancy, but his skating and ability to read plays has helped mitigate those mistakes.

His game is already at the point where the coaching staff is confident in having him out on the ice in important late-game situations.

Jarvis was out there for the final minute of regulation in a tied game with the defending back-to-back champion Tampa Bay Lightning and was called upon again to preserve the lead when the St. Louis Blues had their netminder pulled for the extra attacker with under two minutes to play.

All in all, Jarvis is developing well on both ends of the ice and it’s exciting to think about what kind of player he will be even just a few years from now.

So what happens after 9 games?

Jarvis is adapting to the NHL game rapidly, and his skill set has allowed him to find success so far, but the ultimate question remains on whether or not the Hurricanes will keep him around after his ninth game.

The current rule is that players who signed an ELC at 18 or 19, can have their contract slide to starting next year so long as they don’t play 10 games.

However, once they play that 10th game, the current year counts as one of the three years on their ELC.

Here is the rule as broken down by CapFriendly.com:

If a player who is signed to an entry-level contract and is 18 or 19 years of age (as of September 15 of the signing year), does not play in a minimum of 10 NHL games (including both regular season and playoffs; AHL games do not count), their contract is considered to ‘slide’, or extend, by one year. For example, if a player signed an ELC for three seasons from 2015-16 to 2017-2018, and their contract slides, their contract is now effective from 2016-17 to 2018-19. An exception to this rule is that if the player is 19 on September 15 of the first year of their contract, and turns 20 between September 16 and December 31, their contract does not slide.

Also, if the Hurricanes elect to send him back down to juniors, they won’t be able to call him back up until the WHL season is finished.

With the current flat-cap, and the increasing pressure Carolina is finding itself in with being a cap-ceiling team, having good players on ELC deals is crucial to success and that extra year of savings can be crucial especially with a player as talented as Jarvis.

At the end of the day, Jarvis has earned a roster spot and the Hurricanes are a better team with him playing. The team likes him, the coach really likes him, and he fits well, but will the financial reality override everything else?

Only time will tell, but in my opinion, Jarvis is an NHL player and should be playing every night from here on out in a Carolina Hurricanes sweater.